Before singer Tommi Williams made her debut at the cool cabaret room Upstairs at Vitello’s in Studio City, her music producer/co-writer Tom Rizzo whet the appetite of the crowd. The veteran composer (with The Tonight Show and In Living Color to his credits) knows great talent and Rizzo said, “Tommi Williams is elegant, beautiful, and has an incredible range of talent along with guts and soul. After tonight you will believe she is the next great star.”
With an introduction like that the bar was set almost unattainably high, but at the end of Tommi’s powerful first number “Change Is Gonna Come,” the Vitello’s audience discovered the lofty praise was true.
There were lots of great original songs Tommi co-wrote with Tom Rizzo, such as “Let Go,” “The Reason,” “Forever,” and “For You,” the later on which she displays a voice that is reminiscent of a Mariah Carey type pure sound simplicity. She went from gentle cooing to strong emotional vocals. A couple of wonderful standards were also part of her hour-long set. The familiar melodies of Sam Cooke’s “Let Me Know” and Stevie Wonder’s “Until You Come Back to Me” were given a fresh spin without destroying what we love about the classics.
Another highlight was a song from another impressive singer and tunesmith who performs at Vitello’s, Angela Parrish, who wrote “So Sorry” and was on hand to cheer how Tommi made it her own.
Songs such as “You Won’t,” “Closer,” and the powerful finale with “Lucky” served as the perfect canvas to show off her sense of artistry, with poignant lyrics coming from the sweet 18-year-old with such a strong voice.
Tommi Williams is America’s next great music star, no doubt. She didn’t win one of the many TV singing competitions, but she could, and she did win the hearts of the crowd that gathered at Vitello’s, and all on hand can say, “I saw her when.”
To check for future dates at Vitello’s, at 4349 Tujunga Ave., Studio City, call (818) 769-0905. And to hear more from Tommi Williams go to TommiWilliamsTV on YouTube.