The Island Stage SXSW showcase presented magical experience

Morgan-Taylor Thomas

Performed near the warm shores of Kingston, Jamaica, The Island Stage showcase at South by Southwest Online presented by Therapy created an experience so magical it was as if the rhythms floated through the air along the water’s edge. 

Hosted by Kadiya McDonald and rising music star Kalpee, Friday night’s showcase was filled with cool, calm and collected musicians who brought everything from traditional Jamacian sound to worldly influences. 

First to perform was Jamacian recording artist Mortimer. With a slight raspiness and emotional vocals, the artist’s three-song set gave the showcase a powerful opening. Only using the strums of a guitar in the background, Mortimer combined reggae and contemporary Jamaican music to create a powerful dynamic that sent a chill of relaxation through everyone listening. 

Next was reggae artist Khalia. Full of spunk and energy, Khalia seamlessly transitioned from one song into the next without a beat missed. With a hint of R&B, the artist effortlessly gave the audience an exhilarating and dynamic performance. 

Sevana came next. Dressed in a vibrant oversized yellow sequin blazer paired with sharp, white, winged eyeliner, Sevana presented powerful vocals that seamlessly blended with the rawness of the lyrics. Having only a guitar as harmony was perfect, as anything else would’ve taken away from the artist’s authenticity. 

Tessellated, whose song “I Learnt Some Jazz Today” was used in Apple’s black and white Airpod commercial, performed fourth. As one would expect, Tessellated sweetly meshed jazz, rap, rock, R&B, and traditional Jamaican sounds to leave the audience in awe. The artist even incorporated some Spanish-style elements while performing “Sweeter,” the third song of the set. With one head-banging song after the other, when it was all said and done, the audience couldn’t help but fill the comment section with accolades. 

In an unexpected and exciting turn of events, Kalpee closed the showcase. The artist’s mix of calypso, reggae and R&B allowed nothing but good vibes and pure delight. The perfect ending to an adventurous set of musicians, Kalpee was able to wrap up the essence of the soul repairing showcase with pure bliss. 

Like Kalpee said, “music is medicine.”