When we rock with you, we rock with you, especially when it’s family. Their journey is ours. May 2 and May 3 BB Kings played host to a family reunion as two of our favorite kin, Marsha Ambrosius and Eric Benét, held court on the New York leg of their national M.E. Tour. These two linking for a trek isn’t much of surprise. In fact, it may beg the question of why it hadn’t happened sooner. Both share a pedigree of being platinum-selling recording artists and songwriters rooted in the history and spirit of classic soul, R&B and elements of hip-hop, and for holding that down, capacity crowds turned out both nights (sacrificing playoff basketball and “Shots Fired”) to show them appreciation.
Since we last saw Ambrosius in the tristate area, probably during a stop of the production of “Love Jones: The Musical,” she was poised to bring a life into the world. Happy to say that the newest addition to the family, baby girl Nyla, is here healthy and happy and we now see Ambrosius in her new role as mother. “How’s she feeling? How’s she doing?,” were questions many seemed to share going in. Shortly into her set she addressed the question. Having a catalogue that surely aided and abetted population growth, Ambrosius acknowledged what it’s like to be on that side of the fence.
“I know I make the music that makes the baby,” she said. “I own that. Being a mother is the most beautiful, gratifying and terrifying feeling you can have. You have a new life that came into this world out of love, me and her father wanting this to be a reality. And now that she’s here, it’s like, wow we’re parents! I’m a mother.”
She switched gears in typical Ambrosius fashion, asking why no one shared the continued amorous feelings she would feel soon after, segueing into her new single, “Don’t Wake the Baby.”
In another telling moment said tongue in cheek as a precursor to a classic hit, “I Hope She Cheats on You With A Basketball Player,” she stated, “In these 17 years that I’ve been around, I’ve written quite a few songs. Some of them my little girl will listen to and say, ‘Wow, my mom did that!’ Then there are some songs I hope she never hears.” With a new album completed and soon to be released, imagine what the writing from a BMI Songwriter of the Year winner would sound like.
As for Eric Benét, his show was what we’ve come to expect. He’s as comfortable in his skin as a performer as he is in the confines of the recording booth, a transition that few can meet, let alone surpass. Hearing live versions of “Chocolate Thighs” and “Sometimes I Cry” is proof positive of that assessment.
Gotta inject some honesty, though. Although the ultimate goal of being entertained was met, it felt as if we were watching a scrimmage. Both acts have star vocals and a full band that makes the performance of both acts out worldly, but I can’t help but think something bigger from this pair is coming down the pike.
Over and out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.