Centerfold Tour hits Grand Rapids

Niykee Heaton visits for the third time, while on second tour, at The Intersection

Over the weekend, there were several concerts in West Michigan, including Judah and the Lion and The 1975, but the only one on my mind was Niykee Heaton at The Intersection. In the shadow of a 131 overpass, a line of men and women snaked around the building. All of them were waiting for the singer/songwriter from Chicago.

Heaton first appeared on Soundcloud, then moved to YouTube. It was in these early stages that she would play acoustic covers of rap songs such as “I’m Different” by 2 Chainz. In fact, it was her cover of Chief Keef’s “Love Sosa” that had record labels wanting to meet with her. After graduating high school, Heaton signed to All Def Digital in 2014. That same year, she released her debut EP Bad Intentions.

Heaton has had to fight to create music she wants to create instead of just doing what her record label tells her to do. In 2015, she was able to do just that. She headlined her first concert tour, The Bedroom Tour, and is currently on her second tour, The Centerfold Tour.

In the intimate setting of The Intersection, Heaton came out singing “Centerfold.” The crowd was beside themselves with screams, while they took pictures and video of her performance. After that, Heaton went into singing “Woosah,” along with other songs, such as “Dream Team,” “NBK,” “Lullaby,” “Stoned In Miami” and “I’m Ready.” Heaton also performed an array of new songs that have yet to be released—expect to see “Evangeline,” “Gimme,” “Red Light” and “Check On Me” released in 2017.

For half of the concert, Heaton sat center stage and played acoustic guitar. Among the many criticisms I have heard of her, speculations about lip syncing is one of them, but in a nod to her roots she destroyed those rumors. Her vocals were crisp and clear. She moved across stage with a grace and swagger all her own. The stage was hers and the audience were happy to cheer her on, while they sang every single word with her.

Heaton finished up her set and walked off stage amid chants of “Niykee!” but came back out for an encore performance of “Bad Intentions.”

With singles waiting to be released and new material being produced, I speculate that more of her music will be picked up, and she will soon be performing for sold out crowds at larger venues.

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