An Evening with Rising Star Bazzi in Brooklyn

My friend and I, two twenty-somethings, were feeling 16 again on a (finally) warm Spring night, Thursday, May 3, in New York City when we came to see Bazzi. Apple Music tapped Bazzi as the latest “Up Next” artist and invited his most loyal fans to spend an evening with him at the Brooklyn nightclub Schimanski. We were the first to see the short film about the artist, which was released to the public the following day on Apple Music.

The event was supposed to start at 7 p.m., but the fans had camped out by the venue an hour or two early. At 7 p.m., the line was already extending around the block. People waited for a while to get in and even got rained on during a short storm. It was all part of the the thrill before the anticipated event. My friend joked that Bazzi would descend from a cloud with lightning.

Finally inside, a young female DJ warmed up the crowd with some recent hits before Bazzi came on. My friend and I were one of the few who were old enough to order alcoholic drinks. I sipped on a Cosmo and she on a vodka cranberry. It felt like we had just turned 21 and could finally rub it into everyone’s face.

Apple music screened the short film, which introduced Bazzi as this sweet, humble, down-to-earth dreamer who wants to makes people feel good with his music. 20-year-old Bazzi comes from Detroit, Michigan and is not one of those kids who’s had everything served to him on a silver platter. “The hardships in life were usually financial, “ he said in the film. “Getting evicted from place to place when you’re young–it can make you feel like you’re valueless. I never really let that beat me down,which is something I’m really grateful for.”

Bazzi has played instruments since he was 6-years-old. “Every time a girl has broken my heart or someone has made me incredibly mad, I always just turn to music,” he said. At the age of 17, he moved to Los Angeles and went straight to the management group to introduce his music.

Jared Cotter, manager at The Heavy group, said: “For us, immediately after that first session, we were like, ‘wait a second, this is even bigger than what we thought.’”

Bazzi is extremely dedicated to creating music and speaks wiser than his age. “The studio feels more like home to me than my actual home does. I feel like I can take these thoughts and this pain and this anxiety or this love or whatever it is and I can disconnect it from myself and from inside of me and I can put it into an Ableton session or a Logic session,” he explained, gesturing with his hands.

A lot of his comments during the screening were followed by “awws” in the crowd and the fans sang along to the background songs, such as the hit “Mine” and “Why.”

When Bazzi finally came on stage, fans started screaming from excitement and immediately took their phone’s out to record every second of the performance. He was wearing a red shirt that had a sign on the back “blind for love.” The artist brought in incredible energy to the room and was a natural at talking to the crowd and moving on stage. He sang most of the songs from his new album Cosmic, including “Beautiful,” “Dreams,” “Gone,” “Star,” “Honest” and obviously closing with “Mine.” Bazzi got the crowd going wildtheir hands up in the air and moving to the music. They sang along to every song and at some points he even let the crowd sing alone. He was great live and overall exceeded all of my expectations.

I’ve listened to Cosmic on repeat every day since it dropped on April 12. There’s something about Bazzi’s dream-like songs, the lyrics and the melodies that are so simple and yet so packed with raw emotion, that is so relatable to everyone. I’m not going to lie, I’ve shed quite a few tears while listening to the album. Even my friend, who’s never listened to Bazzi prior the performance, loved his music and said she would download his album onto her playlist.

After the concert, I chatted with a few young fans: Shareece Leveque, 16, and Arshina Balkaran, 15, who drove an hour from Rockland County, NY to come see Bazzi.

“I love Bazzi. I love all his music. I think he’s pretty inspirational. He could turn anything that happens in life and make it into a song,” Leveque said. She discovered Bazzi through a pop-duo Jack & Jack and listens to him every day.

The girls found out about the event from Bazzi’s Instagram story. They also have already bought tickets during pre-sale to see him during his tour in NYC in July. They arrived an hour and a half early to stand in line. It was all worth it. Leveque said seeing him live was “amazing” and Balkaran said “it was really fun.”

Bazzi has joined Camila Cabello on her tour as the opening act and he starts his own tour this summer, which has already sold out in most cities during the pre-sale. The tickets sold out so fast, he even had to add a second show in NYC. He will be back here on July 30, so buy your tickets before it’s too late!

Demi Vitkute

Co-Founder & Editor

Demi Vitkute is a New York-based journalist and editor who’s passionate about reporting on the fashion industry, its problems, and its changemakers. She’s a founder of The Urban Watch Magazine and has written for The Washington Post, Inside Hook, and Promo Magazine, among others. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Emerson College.

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