Us the Duo Encapsulates Compassion and Love

By Veronica Liow, Deputy Multimedia Editor

With just two glasses of wine on the table by the bold red couch and a cozy rug in the center on the stage, a unique type of intimacy blossomed at Us the Duo’s show last Thursday. Especially at a venue like Highline Ballroom, which lacks a physical barrier in front of the stage, there seemed to be no separation between the crowd and the band.

Us the Duo, the smooth pop pair husband and wife Michael and Carissa Alvarado, began their concert the same way they began their career through Vine: a harmonious rendition of John Legend’s “All of Me.” With a feeling of nostalgia already in the air, Us the Duo continued their set with a medley of famous songs from 2014, and in doing so, they evoked a sense of community —  a bond that all audience members could hold onto due to the familiarity of the songs.

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Photos by Veronica Liow.  

Perhaps what most differentiates Us the Duo from other artists is their effort to really connect with their fans on a personal level through listening to their individual stories. The pair found inspiration for their EP, “Public Record,” which released last summer, through stories directly submitted to the duo — a difficult feat to achieve as they had to put themselves into the shoes of strangers.

Throughout the show, each backstory was explained before the pair played the correlating songs. “Follow Me” detailed the strength of a girl who struggled with bullying within her community as a result of her stutter. “One Last Dance” encapsulated the love story of a hopeless romantic’s grandparents who fell in love after their first dance together and were married for 59 years before both passing away. With these stories and their accompanying songs, Us the Duo helped to convey the emotions of each narrative, allowing compassion to surge through the crowd.

In the middle of the show, Us the Duo hosted an interview session. They chose a fan from the audience, who was designated with the task of pulling out slips of paper and then reading the questions on them out loud. In this unconventional component of the concert, the pair explained their songwriting process: Carissa described herself as someone who thinks of melodies in her head, which Michael transcribes them into existence with his musical expertise before focusing on the lyrical aspects. Together, the Alvarados compliment each other in their ability to create a work of art that both are proud of, though they admit that their favorite song is one they have yet to write, as they are always trying to improve upon themselves as musicians.

The majority of the concert consisted of songs revolving around love and relationships, including a cover of “Better Together” and a unique rendition of Meghan Trainor’s “Like I’m Gonna Lose You.” The theme of love centering the show mimicked the relationship of Michael and Carissa, both of whom began as friends before falling in love. The hearts of many were warmed by the remarkably distinct chemistry between the pair in terms of their voices and their presence on the stage, and through this, Us the Duo was able to create and convey music for its intended purpose: making people feel.

Email Veronica Liow at music@nyunews.com

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