The Rock Ballerina
This lady and I go way back...
Our paths have crossed many times since 2009 when I first saw her perform at an old Harlem church-turned-performace space called Temple M, (I think it's gone now). It was a tribute show featuring local indie artists performing Lauryn Hill's masterpiece "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" in it's entirety. I was there with my first DSLR, (yes, I was still shooting film up until 2008) and was a newbie at covering live shows, so I can't say the photos were the greatest, but the show was phenomenal. Kim performed a duet of "Nothing Even Matters" with MD & pianist Steve Wallace & then closed out the show with what turned into a joyful sing-a-long of "Killing Me Softly".
In 2010, the manager of Ashford & Simpson's upper west side restaurant, Sugar Bar brought me on as their house photographer for their legendary Open Mic night every Thursday to document the event & some of the famous faces that were known to appear on a whim. Kim stopped by regularly to take the stage & became one of the family as Valerie Simpson took her under her wing. They even held a private listening party for industry friends to watch a short film on Kimberly & hear her perform songs from her debut album, "The Yellow Brick Journey".
Since then, I've seen her perform at the Apollo, AfroPunk & other venues - sometimes with a camera in my hand, sometimes just as a fan in the audience. The more I saw her perform, the more I had wild, elaborate ideas for a photo shoot that I needed to make happen... somehow.
In 2015, I was in talks with VIBE Vixen about a potential cover story on Kimberly. They were looking for up & coming artists to feature and Kim was fresh off her successful run to the Top 6 on NBC's "The Voice". Since we were already connected, we began planning while we waited for the green light on the story. We decided to produce it ourselves in the meantime & shot a full editorial spread to present. Unfortunately, the story never ran. But we did create some gorgeous press photos for Kim & some nice additions to my portfolio instead.
In fact, Moscot recently featured several of my photos in their video piece on Kimberly as part of their "All Eyes On" series, (check it out below).
Look forward to the next collaboration Kim!
MOSCOT Music Presents...All Eyes on Kimberly Nichole
The next night at Open Mic...Maya Angelou graced us with her presence.
Dr. Angelou stood & cheered during Kim's performance & bowed while shaking her hand. I cried behind the camera too!
Another Open Mic Night...
Rockwood Music Hall
Lauryn Hill Tribute Show
Not my video, but I'm in there somewhere ;)