Words by: Jay Fingers
Images by: Ron Worthy
On Tuesday, January 3, singer/songwriter/musician Amina Schmahl performed to an intimate crowd at New York City’s The Bitter End. The storied music venue has a history of hosting legendary and iconic performers, including Curtis Mayfield, Billy Joel, Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, and even Lady Gaga, just to name a few. Take a look behind the bar and you’ll notice a mural that pays homage to these performers. So given The Bitter End’s pedigree and penchant for showcasing truly captivating talent, we were excited to be in the house for Amina’s performance.
Accompanied by the guitar player Vin Stanton, Amina took to the stage and thanked everyone in the crowd for coming out. Dressed in a tribal print dress, leggings, and mid-calf boots, Amina sat upon a stool and began singing “Could It Be I’m Falling,” a track originally recorded with her twin sister Jazz as the pop/R&B duo Black Buddafly. It was the first time Amina had sung the song without her twin, who was watching the performance online.
Amina followed up with selections from her solo repertoire, most of which were in the vein of acoustic soul. Songs like “Seasons in Time,” “Colorblind,” and “How Can I Be With You,” which found Amina on piano, expressed heartache and longing with a depth and intensity rarely found in contemporary music. Credit Amina’s gift for songwriting that, when paired with her breathy, smoky vocals, elevated the emotional temperature of her music to smoldering levels.
Though the show was relatively short, Amina’s performance certainly made quite an impression. She employed the necessary trifecta of talent, beauty, and personality to near perfection, and we look forward to the 2012 release of her debut album, I AM.
SETLIST: “Could It Be I’m Falling” / “Seasons in Time” / “Tell Me” / “Red Wine” / “Turn Blue” / “Colorblind” / “How Can I Be With You”