American musician, singer and songwriter based in Los Angeles, Stephen Wrabel, better known by his stage name as Wrabel, performed at the El Rey Theatre on October 9th as an opening act to Swedish singer, Leon.
You might know him best from his hit single, â€œTen Feet Tall,â€ resulting in an international hit with Dutch DJ Afrojack, or from his 2016 single, 11 Blocks, which was supported heavily by Kesha and many other artists. He tends to write about personal experiences and uses his platform to spread music and knowledge on progressive topics such as LGBT rights. His song, â€œThe Village,â€ is dedicated to transgender people, and the music video shows the struggle of a young trans boy growing up in a very close-minded family.
When I attended the concert, I didnâ€™t know what to expect or what his audience was going to be like. I had never gone to a concert at the El Rey before, and other than a few of his hit singles, I didnâ€™t know much about his performance structure or how his voice and vibe would translate to the crowd. I also ended up attending the event by myself, so I was afraid people would stareâ€¦ wondering why I didnâ€™t come with another person. (Iâ€™m not gonna lie, I was a little nervous to go by myself! lol)
As I walked into the venue, a piano was center stage with a mic and less-than-intricate lights, but found it was most beautiful because of itâ€™s simplicity. There was a silent hum over the crowd as people talked amongst themselves, patiently awaiting Wrabelâ€™s arrival.
I found a spot in the far right corner of the venue that would have a good view of the performance.
A few minutes later, the lights dimmed and Wrabel walked out on stage and thanked his â€œfriendsâ€, not fans, for coming to his show. He spoke to the crowd as if we were his pals just there to listen to him casually play the piano and sing.
Wrabel began to play, and I can honestly tell you that from start to finish, I had never felt more at peace. Instead of the crowd singing along, the audience stood silent. Everyone was fixated on center stage, and it was beautiful to not only watch Wrabel, but to look around the room to see everyone elseâ€™s reactions.
At the end of each song, a roar of claps and cheers would fill the room as he would prepare to sing another song. I couldnâ€™t take my eyes off of him.
Before performing his song “11 Blocks,â€ he turned to the crowd and explained why he wrote the single. He went on to mention that he wrote the song after his first love ended up moving 11 blocks away from him in California. As he sang the song, you could see how much emotion had gone into every word.
Wrabelâ€™s last number was â€œThe Villageâ€ which, rightfully so, very much deserved to be his last song of the night. As he concluded, he went on to thank his â€œfriendsâ€, but got choked up in the moment and had to turn away.
He cried into his hands.
I found myself moments later doing the same. Was I crazy? Maybe… but everyone in the audience was just as emotional as I was, and thatâ€™s when I realized that I wasnâ€™t alone. I had absolutely no idea who anyone was in the room that night, but walked away feeling like I knew a little more about everyone.
Wrabel makes you feel all the feels. It is something that is truly unexplainable until you attend a show for yourself. He is beautiful. He is exquisite. He is unique. He is Wrabel.
In a world full of hate, I felt nothing more than love that nightâ€¦ and I look forward to attending another one of his shows in the future.