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BØRNS at Santa Monica Pier's Twilight Concert 7/14/16. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13)

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Social media platforms. You either love them, or you hate them, but it goes without saying that hopeful recording artists use them with the hopes of going viral and getting noticed. In today’s marketplace, a simple Tweet can make or break an artists. I won’t lie … if someone of some prominence co-signs an artist that I’m not familiar with, I’ll look that artist up to see what all the hubbub is about. For me, I can thank Taylor Swift for the heads up on BØRNS.

Like wildfire, “Swifties” shared the above tweet, then major publications took notice of that tweet and soon that tweet ended up on my Twitter feed … even though I don’t follow Taylor Swift myself. By March of 2015, without a debut album released, BØRNS was making television appearances on a number of talk shows and touring nationally with appearances at Lollapalooza and Life As Beautiful.

When I saw BØRNS on the schedule for the Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Concerts, I knew that it would be a heavily attended concert. I anticipated that the audience would consist of mostly of women, and as far as I could tell (counting 1 man/boy to every 4 women/girls), that was the case. As a wiry yet handsome young man, with long flowing hair and an androgynous fashion style, there is an inherent sensuality about him the befits the music he sings which is steeped in romantic themes.

BØRNS at Santa Monica Pier's Twilight Concert 7/14/16. Setlist (Borns)“Dopamine” is the name of his debut album, and like the pleasure inducing chemical of the same name, his music, which is very well produced, seems to consistently hit all the right notes even though it touches on a plethora of seemingly disparate music genres. What ties all of the various styles together is his effortlessly, seductive falsetto, which seamlessly transitions from his chest voice. Women, both intoxicated and sober, danced around me, reaching towards the stage with the hopes that BØRNS would reach back out. One woman (one of the intoxicated ones) even jumped on the restricted platforms reserved for the videographers to get closer to her muse. BØRNS has that kind of draw.

Though he never really belts any of his music, I kept thinking to myself that BØRNS’ falsetto reminded me of the late Jeff Buckley. I mean, have you heard Jeff Buckley’s cover of “Calling You”? If I had the resources, I would pay BØRNS to cover that song just to hear what it would sound like. Watching BØRNS perform that night, I could see the passion in his eyes as he sang his own lyrics. I am certain that BØRNS would be able to evoke the kind of fragile vulnerability required  for “Calling You”.

With only one studio album under his belt, his performance on the pier as a headliner as basically a performance of that album, though I don’t recall him performing “Fool”. His set included several covers including The Smiths’ “Shoplifters of the World Unite”, Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets”, Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion (Lies)” and David Bowie’s “Heroes”.

At one point during the middle of the performance, BØRNS took a moment to pay respect to the lives lost in the recent shooting tragedies. In his soft, understated voice, he stated that, “There are lots of spirits watching us tonight.” With a strong performance in front of over twenty thousand concert goes, they were certainly watching over him that evening.

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