By Alina Shanin
Photos By Michael Profitt
Vicci Martinez is a testament to the power of perseverance, soul, and hard work. Most people across the country know Martinez as a fierce competitor on NBC’s “The Voice,” which landed her a contract with Universal Republic and propelled her career in 2011. While some perceive her fame as an overnight success, Martinez knows how much dedication and drive it took to get her to where she is today.
Starting out at a young age and letting nothing stop her paid off. Now a touring musician, she came back home to star on the Showbox stage, Friday, June 15. Seeing the packed house moments before the show excited the Tacoma native, who’s never forgotten her origins and the fans who believed and inspired her all these years.
“Hard work pays off,” she said, adding that every connection a musician makes in the long journey of reaching the ultimate goal is valuable. As far as her future is concerned, Martinez hopes to excite as many people as possible with her music and ultimately land a spot on The Gorge stage.
Knowing her audience is “having an experience,” while she’s performing on stage is important to Martinez. “I’m playing for them, not for me,” she said.
Opening bands Perry Acker and Jamar Rogers were asked by Martinez to join the tour because of their talent and boundless energy on stage. Perry Acker, a five-piece group from Gig Harbor, are long-time friends of the rising star, and owned the Showbox in their first appearance on that stage. Bassist Brandon Meade said they were very blessed and grateful to open for Martinez and come along on this musical adventure.
Their upbeat, creative songs and a wide range of melodies excited the crowd who danced, clapped, and cheered to every groovy tune and jazzy riff the band had to offer. The chemistry within the band was enticing, all performing with incredible accuracy and never losing the contagious smiles throughout the entire set.
Jamar Rogers took the stage after Perry Acker, further warming up the crowd for Martinez. He kicked off his set with a couple of upbeat remixes including a few verses of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” which won over the audience and set a high standard for the rest of his performance. Rogers’ incredible vocal talent became obvious very early in the set and continued to impress with every song to follow.
His personalized renditions of Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” and Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” absolutely blew everyone away and showed why he, like Martinez, deserved his spot on the second season of The Voice. Rogers’ emotional expressions spread from his face to his entire body in every song, and the wide range of his vocals sent many spines shivering. His flawless performance was backed by a synth, samples, and electronic drum beats, which he triggered during a few songs.
As talented as the opening performers were, Vicci Martinez’s soulful and incredibly strong set could not be matched. Her excited expression and genuine gratefulness ignited a sensation in the audience that didn’t fade until she left the stage.
One of the most energized, organic rock ‘n’ roll songs she performed was “I Want Your Kiss,” which not only showed another side to Martinez’s vocals but featured three impressive solos from her band – one from each of the guitarists and one from the keyboard player.
After shaking the venue with a few great rock songs, the band cleared the stage, leaving Martinez alone with her guitar. The intimate setup was perfect for the emotional “Jolene” which flaunted Martinez’s powerful voice and her ability to convey a range of feelings in just a couple minutes. Her flawless transition into Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” caused the crowd to erupt in excited shrieks and sing along. Martinez had tons of fun with her supportive fans, including them in a few choruses and sharing personal anecdotes throughout the night.
For the fan favorite “Come Along,” Rogers came back to the stage and joined Martinez in beautiful harmonies and catchy lyrics, all backed by great bass riffs.
The love shared between Martinez and her fans was undeniable, and her amazing performance was proof of it. Vicci Martinez is one of the most talented vocalists of our time and deserves to be seen live; it’s an unforgettable experience.