Elijah Bland turned 33 years old yesterday, a special day that the singer/songwriter/producer/actor spent with family, friends and fans at Lucille’s Bar & Grill in the heart of NYC’s Times Square. Par the course for any birthday celebration gifts were offered, but it was Bland doing the giving as he shared his musical talents with those intimately gathered for his show, called the Elijah Bland Experience. During the hour that Bland graced the stage, the self-taught musician stepped gracefully and graciously into his intention — to deliver a message of passion, purpose, faith, and love.
Bland dished a healthy dose of love-inspired songs, opening his set with his single “Hello Again,” a song he wrote before Adele’s mega-hit “Hello” was even a thing for folks to adore. Bland’s second song of the evening, “Talk To Me,” solidified my suspicions about the Hackensack, New Jersey native — Bland is a romantic to his core, who gets just as much enjoyment from celebrating other people in love as he does being in love himself. Bland showcased his playful side with covers of Jill Scott’s “It’s Love,” Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” and Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say,” for which he donned a pair of sunglasses borrowed from an enthusiastic audience member. The sultrier side of Bland was unleashed as he got comfortable onstage, untucking his shirt and stripping away his jacket to perform covers of Prince’s “Adore” and Luther Vandross’ “Love Won’t Let Me Wait.”
Bland owned the stage and the night with his signature blend of soulfulness, playfulness, sexiness and sheer moments of star power as he went for the high notes and allowed his vocal prowess to shine. “If it feels good, if it feels right, you gotta go for it,” he said, giving us all permission to embrace and experience those moments right along with him. Speaking of moments, my favorites of the evening were Bland’s performance of his not-yet-recorded song “The One” — easily a wedding song favorite for lovers across the land, and “Wash The Mirror (Love Yourself),” which every woman should have a listen to and consider making her theme song. As of last night, it’s certainly mine.
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