Tuesday, October 11, 2016

10/12/16 Airis Smallwood's Singer's Lounge is BORN AGAIN

Airis Smallwood's Singer's Lounge is


Written by Dexter Kendrick

            On a wet and rainy autumn evening in later September, Airis Smallwood enters an already buzzing hive of comrades, colleagues, and friends who are anxiously awaiting her arrival (and her signature seafood salad).  Fresh off the road from working in New Jersey, and fashionable in knee high boots and trench coat, this Queen Bee is, despite all circumstances to the contrary, unbothered. Tonight's wind and rain is a fitting metaphor to the storms Ms. Smallwood has had to weather while reviving the indie soul music circuit of the Harrisburg area, and much like her outfit, she is more than prepared.

            October 16th will mark the nine month anniversary of Airis' creation, The Singer's Lounge open mic showcase.  What began as an idea to branch out from the typical karaoke opportunities for singers in the central PA area, has blossomed into a star studded, standing room only, live band and background singing event, that those who are in the know flock to every third Sunday. This month's event is entitled “Bad Boy Edition”, and will feature songs from the catalogue executive produced by P.Diddy, and sung by local talent from central PA. 

            Inevitably with growth comes change. “I didn't want to leave River City Blues Club” says Airis of the event's new home, the Harrisburg Area Music Arts Center (HMAC). “I had become very comfortable [at River City], and yet I realized through conversations with their new management that we had to leave our comfort zone in order to grow personally and professionally.” HMAC, housed at 3rd and Herr St., in Harrisburg is also home to such events as Monday night karaoke, various art showings, the tantalizing Kitchen restaurant, and the uber sophisticated upstairs ballroom for concert performances. “When it came time to decide whether to stay or leave River City, all of a sudden I needed a new venue for the show, our followers were packing the house to capacity every month faithfully, and I was under a lot of pressure handling changes in my personal life”, she says. “Thankfully, because [The Singer's Lounge] performed at Harrisburg's Cultural Arts Fest in August and was well received, it caught the attention of HMAC co-owner John Traynor, who invited me to chat about making a move. I saw that as a sign to bridge the gap in the community, join forces with a groundbreaking urban venue, and to make indie R&B more accessible to Harrisburg city at large.” When asked about her inability to retain all the members of her former Singer's Lounge house band, a micro-expression of sadness flashes across her face. “I don't want to go too deep into it, but I thank God that (Dvon Cruse) stepped up as our new musical director, and he is perfect for the job.”

Moving forward with lively host Gina Johnson, a new full service entertainment/dining venue, a revitalized Singer's Lounge Band, and their noteworthy background vocalists, Airis says this next move is only the beginning.

For reserved seats to this month's event, tickets can be purchased at eventbrite.com/badboysedition

Like What You See??? Well Follow The Singer's Lounge Here


Dexter Kendrick is a correspondent for LevelsReadyent.com and is a lover of all things indie.  He can be reached at saturnsfirst@yahoo.com