By Akshay Bhansali
NEW YORK — Jesse McCartney's tour came through Times Square yesterday, so it wasn't surprising to walk into the Nokia Theater and see a room packed tighter than a "tin" of sardines (that's Brit Tim Kash wearing off on me). As the steamy sea of folks, growing impatient, began to push and pull, a tiny angelic voice soothed the crowd with her first few words, "Hey there, folks, I'm Anjulie."
Unlike many in the crowd, I had come there to see her. I first met Anjulie outside New York's S.O.B's club about two years ago. At the time, I was the news producer for MTV Desi, an MTV South Asian American experiment. She was a young acoustic singer/songwriter who had just moved from Toronto to New York to pursue a career in music, and was just handing out flyers for her MySpace page.
My, how things have changed since! Talib Kweli's manager, Corey Smyth, has taken her on as a client. She's signed a label deal, shot her first music video for first single "Boom" and is halfway through her first major tour opening for Jesse McCartney. Not bad at all!
Although her getup had her looking a lot like M.I.A., her opener, "Love Songs," set the tone for what to expect: Think Nelly Furtado meets Duffy. And for an unknown act, she sure had a responsive audience. Working Kanye West's "Love Lockdown" into her album jam "Addicted2Me" (which appeared on MTV's "The City") and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" into her "Crazy That Way” helped guarantee that a solid majority of the folks there were going to remember the name Anjulie. Her self-titled LP will be out May 26 on Hear Music.