With a calming stage presence in the sea of SXSW madness, Cuban songstress Danay Suárez enchanted a crowd of hip-hop heads and fans with her soulful grooves Wednesday night at a showcase of mostly Latin rap at the Half Step.
She’s often compared to female artists like Erykah Badu and Lauren Hill, and although there were times during her set where I felt that, Suárez holds her own with a unique spiritual style that encompasses songs with influences of reggae, hip-hop, soul, and r&b.
A little too much echo and reverb muffled her sultry voice a bit at the beginning of her set, but seemed to improve as the set went on. It didn’t seem to matter to audience members, especially a group of super fans near the front of the stage who were overcome with emotion by seeing Suárez perform. At one point, Suárez brought up a fan to sing along with her. It was beautiful to witness Suárez naturally exude a maternal nature when she held the head of her fan on her shoulders, the woman overwhelmed by singing with her idol.
Suárez’s set included songs like “Individual” and “Wake Up.” Before singing her song “Yo Aprendi,” she talked about going through a mini personal crisis upon recently turning 30, thinking about what she had accomplished in her life and what she still wants to do. The introspective artist’s poetic lyrics that touch on everything from immigrants to personal lessons, make Suárez an artist to watch.