The BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! summer festival continued on Friday, August 27th with a hometown show headlined by Brooklyn native and deep house producer & rapper Yaeji. Support for the night was curated by Yaeji herself, and featured sets by writer, rapper, and producer Nappy Nina followed by singer-songwriter KeiyaA. Celebrate Brooklyn! came back strong in 2021 with a stacked lineup of free concerts. Friday night was another celebration of the return to live music by many in attendance as well as Yaeji.
Thunderstorms threatened the show, even delaying the opening of doors by about 30 minutes while a quick shower passed by. After that, we lucked out the rest of the night without any rain but the delay unfortunately shortened the opening sets a bit. Nappy Nina was on first, delivering a high energy rap performance to an already large crowd at the bandshell. KeiyaA followed; backed by a full band she performed a set of soulful R&B. Walking around the crowd you can hear KeiyaA’s powerful voice echoing through the park.
When Yaeji took the stage, she was visibly humbled by the enormous reception she received from the crowd. She was born in Flushing, Queens to a Korean family and spent much of her young life living in Korea. She moved back to the United States to attend Carnegie Mellon University where she learned to DJ as a hobby at after-hours parties. This culminating in Yaeji combining her love for music and collaboration with electronica to forge her distinct deep house (hip-house?) sound. Now a Brooklyn resident, her debut came in 2017 with a self-titled EP, but notoriety came flowing in 2020 after the release of the mixtape What We Drew. This mixtape includes the track “Waking Up Down” which features Yaeji’s subtle rap style over light and airy house beats.
Yaeji packed in the bandshell, even without having any ‘full length’ albums to her name. In the true nature of being an artist in today’s internet age, Yaeji has been steadily releasing music since her debut in 2020. This has been in the form of singles and collaborations, two EPs titled Yaeij and EP2, remixes, and most recently a single featuring DiAN called “PAC-TIVE.” You can see the music video for this single below, featuring an immersion into a modern day PAC-MAN universe. Other songs included in the set at Celebrate Brooklyn! were “Raingurl” from EP2 as well as “Guap” from the self-titled EP.
Yaeji has been prolific over the last few years, and this will most likely continue. After breaking the ice with a hometown show on Friday night, there is no doubt that more creative energy and live shows will be in the near future. A last minute, early Sunday morning DJ set has just been added at Nowadays in Ridgewood – more info for that show is HERE. There is no official tour on the books as of now, but you can see Yaeji on the festival stages in September with appearances at Bonnaroo, Pitchfork, and Life is Beautiful.