SBMF18: This night was on fire

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ORANJESTAD – The 18th annual Soul Beach Music…stop right there. It used to be just a beach music festival now it’s just the Soul Beach Experience. The concert is more like icing on a cake.  This has become a weeklong celebration of beach, beach parties, its own comedy jam and then the concerts, but not necessarily in that order. And let’s not forget, the after-party.


Comedy Night has always set the tone for SBMF by bringing some of the best talent out there. And this year was no different.  Sydney Castillo and Buddy Lewis got the night going. The headliner of the show was the multi-talented actor, writer, director and star of his own Netflix special “Woke-ish,” Marlon Wayans.


Esha, Guy, and Alicia Keys

 Alicia Keys held sway over the crowd. With everything so good, it makes it hard to have a favorite songs playlist of Keys’ songs.  She bought a Caribbean flair to the festival by singing ‘You Don’t Know My Name’ with a reggae beat and a great cover of Bob Marley’s `Could You Be Loved.’ After almost two decades in the industry, Keys, has been a vocal coach on the hit TV show, “The Voice,” since 2016. But before Keys graced the stage Aruba’s pop princess, Esha, started the evening off with strong set. She appeared to be element on the stage and surprised a lot of the early crowd with her stage presence.

Barely 16 and talent-laden many can look forward to a bright future for this talent-laden artist. King of New Jack Swing, Teddy Riley and Guy with Aaron and Damien Hall took over the music festival. In the late 80’s and early 90’s no party or radio station were without the guys. Guy was the guys to dance to. Although they are now, men of a certain age, the trio danced freely across the stage, seamlessly jumping through their hip hop-soul playbook.

“Groove Me,” “She’s Just a Fantasy” and “Teddy’s Jam,”  “Do me Right” and “Let’s Chill.” All three men had successful solo careers during the greater part of the 90’s with reunion tours that culminated with a reunion album “Guy III.” During the show all three acts were interwoven throughout the set.  The group closed with a club favorite, and cover of the Gap Band’s “Yearnin’ For Your Love” With very little space left to get hotter, needless to say this girl was on fire. Alicia Keys made a packed Harbor Arena feel like a small intimate club setting. Also present was the 2018 Voice winner Chris Blue to sing a duet. To close out a fantastic first night, Keys sang “No One,” and “New York: Empire State of Mind.”