“I wanted to write songs for this new album that would break me open,” Ruby Amanfu told the crowd at Rockwood Music Hall this past week. The songstress, hailing originally from Ghana, laid her soul bare backed by a stage full of musicians and a spotlight glinting off her glistening eyes.
With Ertha Kitt-like growls and sinewy dance moves, Amanfu mesmerized the audience with her vocal prowess and charmed the New York audience with her soft spoken stories of inspiration. A sweet tale about a song written while she baked a pie at her home in Nashville sublimely eased into another story about loss and heartache. It was a flawlessly executed set that showed moments of levity intermingled with heart-stopping soaring notes. Relaxed and approachable, Amanfu invited us in to her world for the next hour as if she were performing in her living room for a group of friends.
Her voice is a multi-layered delight with notes of grit finely balanced against the smoothness of honeyed silk. It is a natural talent that Amanfu shares with us and one that does not have to hide behind digital effects or complicated song arrangements. She has mastered the art of conveying strength as a woman without having to scream her way through the crowd hoping to be noticed. She performs with a simple elegance that belies the impactful message her songs carry and one understands that this is an artist who has studied her craft in order to develop her own platform so as not to ride on the coattails of those who have come before her.
Amanfu’s new album, “Standing Still” was released last month and has already garnered her the moniker of “One to Watch.” She thrilled the audiences at Neil Fest and her single, “Shadow on the Wall,” an achingly haunting tune, was produced by heavy-hitter producers Mark Howard and Austin Scaggs clearly setting her on a path for stardom. But at no time during her Rockwood performance did the singer give off the impression that she is already growing big for her britches. She was humble, thankful and it warmed the crowd to the point of a standing ovation by the end of her set.
Ruby Amanfu is class. Ruby Amanfu is gracious. Ruby Amanfu reminds us that there are still performers out there who can really sing and worth the price of a ticket.
Article: Hannah Soule