The launch of DORCAS SEB’s album Vice Versa is more than a run-through of songs; an evening which allows Seb to reveal quite what a talent she clearly is. Her skills in music, poetry, dance, and acting all come into play to make the launch come together as an insightful piece of inter-disciplinary theatre.
Vice Versa is almost a concept album, a story of finding a path through the anxieties of the modern world. Much art has looked at the dystopia that underlines modernity, but it’s rare to find resolution so optimistic as Seb’s. Beginning with that familiar feeling of conflict between the demands of the real world and the peace of our dreams, the story ends with her finding the liberation that comes with self-acceptance. Rather than feeling conventional or well-worn, the story works because of the conviction of her performance. You sense this isn’t just a good story, but a true one.
It’s her abilities as a performer that really convince. Already given a glimpse of her vision through the ever-changing graphics projected onto three walls of the theatre, Seb also makes full use of the space to use dance as another entry point into her message. Seeing the colours and shapes gives her story a physical presence; they accompany a set of songs that take inspiration from myriad genres, from the disco-inspired drive of Feel The Music to the RnB vibes of Ice Cream. You sense that Seb has let the narrative lead the way, making decisions based on what the lyrics require to best convey the story. Her gorgeous voice, sweet and emphatic, brings it together.
If the lyrics occasionally feel obvious, it’s worth bearing in mind that Vice Versa is actually still a work in progress, emerging out of a commission from Slate: Black.Arts.World. What distinctly emerges from tonight is that this process has given Seb the space to explore, to work out how she can best express her vision with confidence and clarity. This is a culmination of one creative phase, a step into the next one, and certainly proof that Dorcas Seb is a talent to keep an eye out for.