Genie Santiago exhibits a depth of reach in an intimate setting

Live Review: The Boston singer-songwriter brought her riveting 'Sunflowers & LavaLamps' performance to Medford on Saturday

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The smooth sensuality that singer/songwriter Genie Santiago possesses is equally intoxicating as it is empowering.

Her June EP Know Your Worth highlights the struggle a young woman experiences at the crux of a life-changing transformation. Santiago’s lyricism is poignant and heart-wrenching; through cautionary storytelling she ruefully illustrates that the journey to self-love typically tends to be a painstaking one. From the title track to “2:22am” to “Herstory,” Know Your Worth is ripe with lessons on love, life and rumination. It’s a must listen for anyone fighting to find themselves.

Santiago’s “Sunflowers & LavaLamps” performance this past Saturday (December 2) at Medford’s Hustle Killer was a playful manifestation of her messages of empathy and tenderness. In front of an audience of just 20 people, Santiago’s musical stylings proved satiating and inspirational. Opener Sway Casey brought his spoken word musings to life through lucid recitations, call and response, and an elusive cover of “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman.

When Santiago took the mic, onlookers were eager to absorb her energy. She opened her set with a breathtaking cover of her own, Jhene Aiko’s “The Worst.” Santiago glided through the song effortlessly with her voice being her most perplexing and powerful asset. Her stage presence is also astounding; she is magnetic and soothing and honest and vulnerable.

Santiago used moments between songs to explain why the making of Know Your Worth was necessary for her to complete her own path to self-discovery, the value in being untamable, and how healthy relationships with other people start from within ourselves. She held nothing back and capitalized on her authenticity.

“Sunflowers & LavaLamps” was everything Santiago promised and more; it was intimate and full of insightful gems. The biggest take away was slightly cliché but nonetheless rang true: Accepting who you are is pivotal in living your purpose. It’s refreshing to see Santiago relishing in hers.

Photos by Alex Cole; published with permission.