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The producers of this year’s Hot Couture decided not to grant me access to the event. My good luck, by all accounts. I’d already promised Rosie Joinville of Tapas on the Bay that I would “drop by” the event she was co-promoting with Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson. “I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do anything special for Jazz,” the restaurateur told me, “but when Boo talked about providing a platform for some of the younger local performers I immediately agreed to get on board.” I did in fact drop by as promised, an hour ahead of the advertised 8.30 show time. I planned to enjoy a bite, take in a couple of acts and head home. Things didn’t quite go as intended, for me, that is. While I casually sipped a drink and waited for my order, I noted Rosie and her husband Mark preparing the joint in advance of the music.

I spotted singers Werner Semi Francis and Gene Lawrence at the bar with some friends from overseas. Turns out they came to hear Boo singing to his guitar. Wrong night, wrong place; they would have to return the following evening when Boo would be doing his special thing at Tapas’ sister restaurant Big Chef. Not that they planned to go anywhere in the meantime. Nor did they regret staying.

Time to eat. My daughter’s mom and I dug into our seafood platter. Absolutely wonderful. My daughter also enjoyed immensely a special created just for her by Chef Odeen. Before we knew it, it was 8.30: show-time.

The first performer to take the stage was Aiyah. I had heard about the talented young artiste but this was the first time I’d seen her in action. If my eyes had been closed I’d have imagined I was listening to Alessia Cara, a new pop sensation on Billboard, or even a young Sia.

She was followed by Jessy Leonce (yes, the Choice-TV presenter) who is an amazing vocalist. In my ear she sounded better than Lady Bey doing the classic Etta James ‘At Last’. Already enjoyable, my night was then made complete with a Prince tribute of ‘Purple Rain.’

It need be said that not only did the young artistes sound wonderful, they were also a treat for the eyes. I found every excuse to move closer to the stage.

Two male vocalists brought up the rear of Wednesday’s Voices on the Bay: Shayne Ross and Dupes who I strongly believe is destined for stardom. Alas, that would mean he’d have to get out of Dodge. He is among our hardest working young musical talents; some of his originals, among them ‘Guilty’, sounded destined for Billboard. As for Ross, he is undeniably a real pro. He certainly had some of the attendant cougars purring.

I must mention it was all “live” music and the backing band was superb.

All in all, it was a wonderful night. The packed house probably guaranteed a repeat next year. Then again, maybe Rosie, Mark and Boo will realize there’s a local audience for what they presented this week. Add the wonderful food and cocktails available at both venues and well . . . just think about it, will you guys?

The next stop for Voices on the Bay is Wednesday May 11 and this time I guarantee that I will be there to see and hear Kiz, Michael Robinson and Chocolate.