“Let’s keep it about the music,” answered A, one-half of rising duo Emotional Oranges after manager Rory asked why he and V have kept such a secretive brand through their career thus far. A sported shades and hoodie, while V had on a black lace mask that completely covered her face. Being so new and having the quality music they do, it is completely okay for now to remain somewhat in the dark. Intentional, strategic moves coupled with a good product are surefire.
It’s what drove some fans to line up as early as 12 noon for a show billed to begin at 5:00 PM. Then again, when it’s a free show in New York City and they’re only letting in 375 people, allegedly, camping out overnight would have been understandable. Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday evening played host to industry folk, enthusiastic fans, and friends of the show, the affectionate reference given to Joe Budden Podcast subscribers. Many attendees found out about our beloved citrus tandem due to the Spotify Boyz.
Emotional Oranges made sure to pay homage to the platform that really helped launch their career, reflecting on how they only had a few thousand followers before co-host Rory first played them as a sleeper. Their brand of alternative, instrument-heavy R&B quickly sparked the curiosity of listeners.
The podcast is seen as a huge tastemaker within the culture, so EO’s refreshing sound along with Rory often mentioning the group on the show generated some questions among Joe Budden, Mal, and Parks as to whether the D’Usse Palooza exec is part of the group himself. One project later, that being eight-song tape The Juice, Vol. 1, we learned of the artist-manager relationship. Quite obviously, Rory’s doing a hell of a job thus far.
“Motion” and “Personal” were electric with a live band and crowd to match Emotional Oranges’ energy. Our ears were captured last night the same way our AirPods or car speakers were upon first hearing them. We got the entirety of the first project, from the upbeat, assertive anthem “Unless You’re Drowning” to the moving ballad “Good To Me.”
V brings the sex appeal to the stage, dancing around sporting a mask similar to that of X-Men’s Cyclops. A was composed but still had swag to him. He wasn’t afraid to step back and give V the stage either, as fans clearly took a huge liking to her.
Even in removing the mask and revealing her face, they kept the lights dark enough where the two often appeared as shadows. For being a new group and not having a horde of shows under their belt, it was a great performance and signs of even more elevation to come.
They debuted new The Juice, Vol. 2 lead single “Don’t Be Lazy”, available today on all streaming platforms. It’s right in their lane of hybrid electric-moody pop. You can expect to hear this and unreleased tracks “Just Like You” and “Someone I Knew” which Rory debuted during the interview portion of the night.
The former a soulful yet upbeat jam with a nice dance break that they wanted Majid Jordan to use. The latter another strong, woozy ballad. I can’t get the lines “Love the way you calm my nerves when you’re talking to me/Hate the way you make me feel when you get up and leave” out of my head.
After dropping Vol. 1, they released remixes to the forever bop Cassie’s “Me and You” and classic New York anthem “Always On Time” by Ashanti and J. Rule. The synergy between V’s angelic voice and A’s soothing baritone put a special spin on these well-known records, and the ability for the crowd to shout all the lyrics made it all the more special.
Rory spun a special DJ set at the beginning of the night. He had fun for nearly 45 minutes of testing fans’ music knowledge. Instead of the usual stuff you would hear, he played older songs sampled in more recent popular records. Namely “You’re Gonna Need Me” by Dionne Warwick.
He appealed to the independent women with Beyoncé’s “Me, Myself and I.“ Then Rory led a venue-wide reexamination of Bobby Valentino’s “Slow Down” and how it could be street harassment. Alas, you gotta do what you gotta do when you see a fine thing on Melrose.
Emotional Oranges spoke on their origins, as both A and V had individual careers before deciding to work together. They were friends long before, and A marveled at how amazing of a singer and person V is. They’d work in the studio together, writing songs they felt would align well with other artists sound. Many they finished in under a half-hour. V’s breakup inspired a lot of their work. Despite being so emotionally evocative and relatable in their art, they endured rejection after rejection from popular artists.
Enough was enough. They decided this music needed to be heard. We thank them for that epiphany. Singles “Motion” and “Personal” were put out with no backing. Solely Rory and the podcast’s co-sign. Now they and the rest of their catalog have turned the duo to a bubbling sensation.
Rory and A humorously reflected on how A is a hater. He often responds “Nah, fuck that” to anyone Rory suggests working with. V says despite his tough demeanor, he can be very emotional and has changed her life.
Good music, talented singers, true chemistry, and a popular visionary as a manager. Let’s not forget Rory announced he may have a project of his own that he may be stealing some of their records for. It was an enjoyable environment being among a duo that very clearly and genuinely appreciates their fans. It was even better to get a closer look at who they are.
Fans love that connection. They love to learn. We gained plenty of insight and bore witness to true charismatic personalities. A sign that all parties involved are very thorough. They likely won’t be running out of juice for quite some time. Thanks, EO and Emotional Rory. We are riding with you.