Review: VanJess Gives Fans ‘Love & Hope’ During ‘Homegrown’ Concert

It was a night filled with “Love & Hope.”

Complete with matching red outfits and some spontaneous dancing from Jessica Nwokike, VanJess performed their first headlining concert at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom — just months after the release of their 2021 EP, Homegrown.

Jessica Nwokike and Ivana Nwokike of VanJess perform on stage during the 2021 AfroPunk Atlanta
Jessica Nwokike and Ivana Nwokike of VanJess perform on stage during the 2021 AfroPunk Atlanta | Paras Griffin/Getty Images

VanJess released their EP, ‘Homegrown,’ featuring songs ‘Slow Down’ and ‘Come Over’

As the “current queens of R&B,” VanJess burst onto the music scene with their 2018 album, Silk Canvas. Since then, they’ve earned millions of Spotify plays on their original music and collaborated with award-winning producers. 

In 2021, VanJess released their highly anticipated EP, titled Homegrown. The “deluxe” version of this collection included 14 tracks performed by Ivana and Jessica, in addition to a music video for “Come Over.”

“For this video, we really wanted to capture vintage glamour but still feel like the future and represent who we are,” VanJess said, according to V Magazine. “Early in quarantine we were really inspired looking at old photos of our parents in Nigeria and thought about what being at home living the lyrics of this record would look like in their world.”

The live rendition of “Slow Down” included production from Snakehips & Jonah Christian. Now, months after the release of Homegrown, these sisters embark on their United States tour, stopping at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom for their headlining performance. 

VanJess performed at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom

The unofficial theme of VanJess’ concert was red. Jessica’s glove was red, as she reached to hold a fan’s hand in the front row. On the back of someone’s shirt, the word “Brooklyn” in “I’m not Hollywood, I’m Brooklyn” glowed red. Red was the love radiating from these fans, some of whom traveled from other states to support the sister duo at the Bowery Ballroom.

“Make some noise if you love New York City,” Ivana Nwokike said. This was VanJess’ first time headlining a show in Manhattan. Although they were “freezing,” Ivana and Jessica took to the stage performing “Slow Down,” and “Roses,” among other tracks. 

In between showcasing their killer choreography, the siblings turned and talked to the crowd, encouraging them to “feel right,” with Jessica saying, “anything you’re going through, no matter if it’s bad, leave it behind and just have a good time with us tonight.”

More than anything, their passion for music, and specifically their music, shined. (Jessica was even bopping to a song a few seconds after it was over, turning to her sister after realizing the band played the “shorter version.”

VanJess collaborated with other R&B artists for original music

Some know VanJess for their collaborations with other musicians. They appeared on KAYTRANADA’s “Dysfunctional,” as well as “Recap” by Kito, also featuring Channel Tres. Additionally, VanJess has a few exciting projects on deck. 

As seen on Twitter, the duo recently caught up with Alicia Keys in the studio. As a result, some fans hope the collaboration will lead to new original music. 

Fans can keep up with these artists on social media. Music by VanJess is available on most major streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. 

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