On a cold Friday night in February, singer-songwriter Shyvonne goes over her routine in the backroom of the House of Yes in Bushwick, Brooklyn with backup dancer Karina Fernandez. This would be her first performance at the House of Yes, on a night the venue chose to throw a disco themed party full of aerialist and go-go dancers called Discotechnique. I had the opportunity to photograph Shyvonne throughout the night where she sang a mashup of Christina Aguilera's "Telepathy" and Donna Summer's "On the Radio" along with an original song called "Looking for Love" produced by Sammy Bananas. Shyvonne, who also splits her time as an activist and teaching artist to the New York City youth, spoke to me about her decision to use her real name for her onstage persona.
"When I initially started singing I thought of having a stage name but it was more so because people would ask as though you couldn't also just literally be yourself. I'm very consistent with who I am and what message I represent. I wanted to be sure to always bring my true self to my artistry. I'm always learning and growing of course but that's me as a person not just as a singer, so I felt strength in keeping that identity singular. Shyvonne on and off the stage."
The stage began to call as she placed her sequined jacket on. I rushed to take her portrait moments before she made her way out to preform. The aerialists followed behind her and so did I. Brushing my way to a proper vantage point, the performers readied themselves amongst the lights and glitter. I took in the venues ambiance, its multi-colored lights shinning onto the many faces in the crowd, and as I turned to the stage Shyvonne's soulful voice flowed from the speakers. Through a powerful three song set she embraced the voices of the disco era and present, adding to the nights event. When asked about her first performance at the unique venue House of Yes, she replied,
"Somehow... everything always works itself out. I was booked only a week before the performance and was scrambling to get my set and wardrobe together. All I was told was that it was a big Disco themed party & there would be aerialists and go-go dancers. I wanted the short set to have as much energy & soul as possible. In the end everything from our outfits, the song selections, and my hair all coordinated with the looks of the venue and dancers! The Universe has a way of coordinating all those details as long as you're also doing your part."