Preview: April + Vista at Union Stage

My roommate snuck me into Goldlink’s 9:30 Club concert two years ago. I wanted to peep the buzz, at the height of the At What Cost hype, when phrases like “DMV-next-up” were flung across the Twitter-sphere like soothsayer’s portent.

I don't remember much about the concert, save for an overall impression that the artist was well worth his regard, but one thing I recall vividly was being unable to take my eyes off the background vocalist.

Violin in hand, deftly covering Jazmine Sullivan’s verse on “Meditation,” stood April George, one half of April+Vista, smiling brightly through closed eyes.

She's hard to miss. Though short in stature, the voice fills a room with notes to spare. There is an eerily entrancing quality to April George’s unique timbre, a gravelly soprano like fine sand, each note excavated from either bone-deep weariness or hard-earned sublime.

No matter the source, the fine-tuned elements of vocal expertise, in concert with the heartfelt density of her lyrics and partner/producer/engineer, Matt Vista’s, stalwart commitment to music as a portal to the often wordless emotional plane, are what single April+Vista out as one of the most refreshing acts I've come across, both locally and abroad.

You Are Here, the duo’s most recent and widely celebrated EP, is quite the departure from the ambient, almost listless, soundscapes set forth in their Note to Self, days. More so the crystallization of ideas developed in their 2015 effort, Lanterns, Matt’s dream-inducing synth work has become considerably more complex. The 8-track extended play possesses this standout aspect that I can only express as “gully.” April+Vista sound tired of taking the backseat, a confident assertion evident in their single “Own2.”

The two musicians have been around the block, laying low while building a steady fanbase with a series of strategic performing opportunities. With that in mind, the duo’s project title can easily be interpreted as a Horton Hears A Who-esque admonishment. You Are Here reads as “We are here! And we're not going anywhere.” Which makes it even more imperative that you visit Union Stage this Friday, September 21st, as the event will be a rare opportunity to see a group of emerging artists at the top of their game.

It's worth noting that Ciscero and Sugg Savage, DMV staples and long-term friends of April+Vista, will be performing alongside the homies. Both artists have been relatively lowkey, no doubt taking some time off to enjoy the new addition to their family while getting the hang of parenthood. Pull up with some baby wipes (perhaps some tissues, for yourself). It’s finna be a family affair.

Purchase tickets here.

PreviewsKosi Dunn