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Jillia’s dazzling debut

Published: 
Saturday, June 24, 2017
Jillia Cato

Singer and dancer Jillia Cato’s debut concert, Jillia in Concert, was a mix of original songs and covers chosen to show off the songbird’s range of musical ability. The concert, the second event in the recently concluded Pride Arts Festival 2017, was presented by I Am One T&T on June 3 at the Big Black Box, Woodbrook.

Cato has been singing since age 12, beginning in church and moving on to local open mic forums. She did her first small acoustic set at Kaiso Blues Café in 2015, as part of the Unplugged and Chill series hosted by Yung Rudd and Mark Hardy. Cato dances with soca bands Machel Montano HD and Kes the Band and has a BFA in performing arts as well as a BSc in engineering.

Cato said she chose the songs in the concert to tell a story of love, loss and strength. Her opening song, Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic, provided a smooth, upbeat start to the concert, with Cato channelling Tina Turner as she danced across the stage.

Cato’s first original song in the set, Excited, was written when inspiration struck after a dance performance. It talks about the thrill of being on stage. Kes the Band keyboardist Mario “Im4rio” Callender produced the track; Im4rio sang along with Cato during the song’s performance. Im4rio then sang Something So Real, a song he wrote and produced along with Cato.

Her cover of Lost Boy by Ruth B, which opened the second half of the concert, gave Cato an opportunity to introduce herself and chat with the audience. She said the song told the story of someone who feels lost and has to find a happy place within themselves.

Her original song Ceramic Heart, a mixture of R&B and soft rock, spoke about finding sweet love, while Stay the Night, reminiscent of TLC’s Creep, was the story of a couple spending the night together for the first time. As the relationship story continued, So Hot spoke of the pain of a breakup and the final song, Mystery of Love, was about taking revenge and finding the strength to move on with life.

Cato was backed by vocalists Anton Berryman and Nnukeisha “Nix” Pierre, lead guitarist Miguel Charles, guitarists Kemi Ible and Hadassah Esther Bovell, SASS bassist Candice Marcus and drummer Kyle Samlalsingh. Dancers Jonatha Sutherland and Lucette Regis of 6th Position Dance Co also performed in the show.

Jazz singer Tevin R Gall and vocalist Kevin Humphrey were the show’s opening acts.

Cato is planning another full band concert at MovieTowne Fiesta Plaza and to finish an album of songs.

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