Washington Square News

NYU’s West 4th Music Group: Singer-Songwriters Start Here

By Sabeena N Singhani, Staff Writer

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NYU record label West 4th Music Group held its second showcase Sunday, April 9, spotlighting three new artists: Tisch sophomore Jackie Paladino, Tisch freshman Julian Lamadrid and Steinhardt junior Nick Jaeckel. The room on the fourth floor of the Kimmel Center for Student Life was filled with blankets and string lights, creating a more relaxed, open-mic coffeehouse vibe instead of the excitement one would expect from the announcement of newly signed artists.

To start the show, Jaeckel hopped out of the audience and thrust himself behind the piano. His energy burst through the quiet room, and soon everyone was moving their heads to the music. Self-described as a singer-songwriter, Jaeckel spoke about his writing process before he performed each of his own songs. He also covered John Mayer’s “Gravity,” a classic singer-songwriter hit, which heightened his warm, rich voice. His bluegrass background brought an ebb and flow to his sound along with a strong rhythm to back his lyrics.

Jaeckel’s set continued with a melancholic love song inspired by his time studying abroad in Prague. He finished strong, and it was clear he had left the kitchy room in Kimmel with something meaningful.

Next up was fellow singer-songwriter Paladino. She came on barefoot with a guitar player, and immediately the room mellowed out. Her arrangement started out unbalanced — the guitar was slightly too loud, drowning out her voice. But the audience was nothing but supportive and went along with her performance. Her songs were honest, and although the performance was not a standout, both her lyrics and vocals were strong.

The show ended with Lamadrid, who was by far the strongest performer. Unlike the other two artists, who were not as engaging given the mellow nature of their styles, Lamadrid brought a steadfast confidence to his performance. His rap/pop fusion and all-too-relatable lyrics made him a fast crowd favorite. His backing tracks weren’t of the highest quality, but he seemed unfazed that the music didn’t perfectly match with his performance.

Lamadrid, of the three artists, has the largest fanbase — he has almost 700,000 Spotify plays on his single “Understand.” His poignant lyrics definitely made him the standout of the night. His lyric “Cause girl I’m hotter than Tabasco” won over the crowd during “Krule Love.” But his closing song, “Understand,” perfectly concluded the showcase.

Each of these artists showed a complete understanding of what the purpose of music is — to capture and relate to human experience — and displayed the beginnings of successful storytellers. As Lamadrid sang, “That I will never let up / my time to glow / and I just wanna be happy / girl, I just wanna be happy,” the audience was reminded that music bonds us together by experience.

Email Sabeena N. Singhani at [email protected].

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