Despite not being a household name, Korean R’n’B singer Jimmy Brown (born Ji-won Lee) packed Melbourne’s Prince Bandroom venue full of fans.
Making his independent debut as a singer and producer in 2017 with the single ‘She Lovin’ It’, Brown has since gone on to release several solo, collab EPs and albums that have garnered him a faithful underground fanbase for his smooth vocals and addictive beats.
Currently signed to independent agency The Good Days Boys, Jimmy Brown’s inaugural Australian tour promoted by Prime Entertainment and Nova Entertainment was originally a double bill with label mate Rovv to promote their 2023 EP ‘Like the First Time’. Following Rovv’s removal from the tour docket, the tour was renamed ‘Between Your Thighs’ after Jimmy Brown’s song of the same name from his 2021 solo EP ‘Bedroom Playlist’.
Eager to meet his Australian fans up close, the Between Your Thighs Tour included a VIP exclusive photo op with the artist, where each fan received a polaroid as well as a digital photo and a signed copy of ‘The Good Days Boys Playlist 2’, followed by a brief Q&A where fan-submitted questions were read and answered. Jimmy Brown, fluent in English, required no translation but kept his answers brief, divulging his dream collab (his fans), his favourite Korean food (stew), and a song he’s been inspired by (a recent release by Chris Brown). It was during this segment that he even allowed a fan to wear his sunglasses because the stage lights were so bright. Brown also announced that he had a new album in the works for release in 2024.
After a brief interlude where the remainder of Brown’s fans began to filter into the venue, the room was sufficiently full and positively buzzing. To open the show, up-and-coming artist Ineffa Lucas gave an energetic performance that blended rap and vocals seamlessly. Despite the crowd not knowing the fledgling artist, everyone in the venue was sufficiently impressed and enthusiastic by his skills as a singer and rapper, with many patrons hanging back after the show to get a picture with the future star (something this writer regrets missing her shot for).
Following Ineffa Lucas, tour DJ and fellow producer (introduced by Jimmy Brown as ‘Jin-tae’) proved his skills on the decks with a lively set that blended current hits with club classic across the spectrum of genres, including reggaeton, K-pop, and hip-hop.
Once the headliner hit the stage, however, the tempo completely changed. Jimmy Brown’s discography, while varied, leans heavily into the sultry tones made famous by western singers like Chris Brown and Usher when they were at the peaks of their career, or relative unknowns like Otis Kane. In terms of his peers in the Korean industry, his warm, golden honey tone conjures up comparisons to artists like June and G.Soul; running smoothly up to falsetto and back down again, Brown shows masterful control over his craft and an undeniable talent.
While on stage, Brown kept the crowd interactions going, leaning close to the VIPs lining the barrier, holding hands, and handing out roses and partly drunk cans of beer. At the mid-way point, Brown even took a handmade bracelet from a fan in the front row and wore it for the remainder of the show. Determined, it seems, to not stick to a set list, Brown even took song requests from the crowd, singing snippets of his hits ‘101’, ‘Irene’, ‘Your Love’, and ‘Skintight’.
The show, like the tour name would suggest, was incredibly intimate. Jimmy Brown’s music is truly very sensual; his voice is so soothing and inviting, with songs made for playing at golden hour with incense burning in the background while you nurse a glass of wine. Even in a room crowded with people, as he sang songs like ‘Wet Everywhere’, ‘Between Your Thighs’, ‘Steam’, and ‘You Got It’, his voice somehow makes you feel all alone and at peace.
If there was a single drawback to this show, it had nothing to do with the artistry present. Some overzealous fans in the venue frequently called out to Brown to take off his clothes on stage, something that made him visibly uncomfortable. Pro tip: Don’t sexualise artists while they’re performing, no matter what gender they present as.
Closing out the Melbourne show with an encore stage of ‘It’s Gotta Be You’, ‘Let Me Know’ and ‘2 Things’, Jimmy Brown cemented himself as an artist to watch. With the majority of his songs sung in English, his international appeal is already there and although he’s had a slow start to fame, his talent and future of celebrity is unquestionable. I, for one, will be keeping my eyes and ears open for that forthcoming album in 2024.
Jimmy Brown performed in Melbourne at Prince Bandroom on Thursday the 14th of December as part of his Between Your Thighs Australia and New Zealand 2023 Tour.
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