Wednesday night, Jhene Aiko rocked the stage at the Best Buy Theatre in the New York City's Times Square with her Enter The Void concert. The star's powerhouse performance was followed up by teen sensation Willow Smith, The Internet, and New York's own SZA.
With the success of the 26-year-old's second album, "Souled Out," it appeared as if the petite singer sold out a crowd of fans who were dressed in West Coast-inspired attire for the main event. Even though fans knew what the act line-up was, they were still shocked to see 14-year-old Willow serenade the crowd with such a mature voice. One concert goer yelled out, "Is that really Willow Smith? WOW!"
Dressed in a shiny, oversized black baseball jacket, black tights, and a pink and green scarf on her head, the teenager opened up the evening as a reformed artist -- far from her "Whip My Hair" days. The daughter of actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith confidentially interacted with the crowd while she serenaded them with her mellow music, showing absolute star potential and vocal sophistication on stage.
Following the teen sensation, host of the evening and "The Read" personality Kid Fury, introduced Odd Future band, The Internet, led by vocalist Syd the Kyd. The fairly new group made their mark in 2011 and may have gained some new fans after last night's performance. By the time the band hit the stage, some SZA fans had grown irritable and impatient, knowing she would go on next, while other fans got lost in their music and cheered in amusement as they watched the keyboardist jump off his platform and land to do a moonwalk across the stage.
Once The Internet wrapped up, the stage director cut the lights to transition for singer SZA's band. As the lights turned back on, the stage appeared as a calm summer morning with pink and orange lights as fogged filled the stage like morning dew. Someone off stage started a contagious chant on the microphone: "SZA, SZA, SZA!" Suddenly, fans started picking their momentum as music played and SZA's signature big hair bounced towards the microphone. Rocking a black oversized jacket, a blue button down, and tight shorts that you could hardly see, the 24-year-old began her set. Mesmerizing old and new fans, the star gushed about being "home" and shouted out some New Jersey high schools to catch any fans that may have gone to her alma mater.
While playing her soul music, the singer switched up with O.T. Genasis's "CoCo," giving fans a quick clip to turn up to before going into her routine. Towards the end, the singer jokingly picked on one fan for not "turning up" before she headed into her next song. As a saxophone softly played, some fans that were sitting behind the standing room stood up and rushed closer to the stage as she started teasing "Babylon."
When she finished, SZA thanked the crowd, saying, "I'm going to Shake Shack," she said before skipping off stage.
For the fourth time, the lights dimmed and fans rushed from their quick bathroom and/or bar breaks for the main attraction. One by one, lights flickered on stage as pillows were gracefully placed center stage. As band members took their places, Jhene arrived on stage and was escorted to the center stage and sat comfortably on the pillows. Pandemonium erupted as fans tried to make their way closer to take a decent photo. Cellphone lights were the only things seen through the crowd.
As the lights came one, fans applauded and the Los Angeles native stood up wearing a floral two-piece showing off her toned abs and a new long-and-wavy hairstyle then gracefully launched into her first song, "Spotless Mind."
Sounding similar to her recordings, the singer joked with her fans about dealing with heartbreaks and told them to call their exes and hold up their phones as she went into her next song "Lyin King."
Yes, the 26-year-old is open about her heartbreak, however, with a recently found love, the singer sent fiery looks over to her family and friends section, where fans suspected her new love was watching. In a recent interview with New York radio station, The Breakfast Club, the singer revealed that she was in love with a mystery man, but has yet to go public with him.
As many people go through type normal up and downs of relationship, Jhene made sure to bring fans along with her on the emotional roller-coaster, as she went through heartbreaks, new love and now "f**k boys" (as she would like to call them) before going into her very popular song "Comfort Inn."
In the lyrics, Jhene talks about a whirlwind affair she had during hard times. The singer explained that her lover consoled her after her brother, Miyagi Chilombo, died from brain cancer, which led her to write another song off her album, "W.A.Y.S." telling the crowd, "No matter how hard things be you gotta keep going," she said the inspiration of the song comes from his last tweets before his death in 2012. "One of the last tweets my brother sent out before he died from brain cancer."
As the show came to a close, the grateful songstress admitted that performing was her therapy, "I'm really happy that you guys are here, and I don't want to stop telling these stories because I need help. I'll do one more but I hate that I have more to say and want to share with you guys. That's weak. That's real weak. Weak sauce. It's the worst," She said before singing her smash hit, "The Worst."
When the music stopped, Jhene thanked the fans, walked off stage, and the crowd began to spill out the theater before she stepped back out for an encore to perform "Space Jam" off of her Sailing Souls mixtape. Fans sparked their lighters and flashed their cellphones, collectively swaying together before "Sailing Out" onto the streets of New York.
What a night!