"I never wanted to fit in, I wanted to fit out"... Von Vargas left this lasting quote on my mind as I drove away feeling so inspired by the creativity, and originality of the showcase that was "In My Own Lane." an event, engineered by Von & Audacious Publicity and Management Group. When I initially entered The Motor House, I was immediately impressed by the reception. I knew I was in for a treat. Literally there were treats of the culinary variety. My favorite way to be received. Beyond that, there was an quasi-subdued anticipation for what was about to happen. Once the doors opened and everyone was seated, it was evident. It was going to be an evening of trans-formative performance. The hostess enters with warm enthusiasm and brings forth the first artist, Japhia Life.
The Philly native, had presence. From the moment he stepped to the mic, until the end
of his set there was a consistent vibe of unfiltered moxie. He shared his journey of finding a common ground between creating and becoming a hip hop artist and adhering to the life of Christianity and creating christian music. It was an inspiring feature. The complexities of both entities merged together birthed the finishing performance track "Water" which was soulful, heartfelt, and true. Japhia Life surely moved the audience with his performance. The evening also brought the honoring of some of the DMV's brightest stars. "IN MY OWN LANE" honored PR maverick Candice Nicole, and Big Brass musical legend Rufus Roundtree for their contributions to the culture, and staying true to the bettering of artistry in their crafts. For lack of better terms, "driving in their own lane." Next up on the microphone, was the infallible, and captivating Carolyn Malachi.
She is the definition of enchanting. The songstress crooned her way through her journey of moving from a life of paycheck dependency, to now living her dream of creating music for a living .
She intertwined her original selections such as her single "Blowing Smoke" from her forth coming album "Rise: Story 1" with such crowd pleasing classics such as "Sweet Love" by Anita Baker, only accompanied by a very talented Bass Player. Her captivating story was only paralleled by her statuesque presence. She was an unforgettable performer, leaving the audience wavering with applause, especially after her seamless switch from vocals to spoken word, deliver bar after bar of poetry both sensual and intellectual. She warmed the mic for the heat that was to follow.
Up next was none other then the man of the hour, Von Vargas. Admittedly, I had not had the pleasure of meeting him before, or hearing his music, so I wasn't prepared for the fire that ensued. Von Vargas' performance was gritty, real, and a true showcase of what truly developed talent can create. His body of work speaks to his experience within music, and the life of an artist. He showed so much variety, with a live band, and cast of young, and talented features. He made sure to leave a more then lasting impression on the audience. During one point in performance, in a song where he talked about being able to change things about himself, he holds a mirror to himself. Such a simple gesture made for a striking moment in the set. It was moving to hear the lyrics of a man becoming comfortable with his gifts and uncertainties while looking at himself, which is a moment that I remember having with myself. Showing the truth in his gift as performer, by making the audience relate in a very real way. Von ended his set by engaging the audience in a "Golden Age of Hip Hop" dance party. It was the perfect conclusion to the evening. Every performer left their mark on the members of the audience, leaving us with lasting tales of artistry, struggles and triumphs, and constant reminder that even when traffic may be out of our control, and other drivers may not be aware of us, to stay "IN MY OWN LANE".