Sabrina Claudio Phoenix Concert Hall, Toronto ON, October 29

Sabrina Claudio Phoenix Concert Hall, Toronto ON, October 29
Photo: Wendy Wei
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Without getting too much into it — you might already know what's up, or you can see the "old tweets that come back to haunt" drama online — Sabrina Claudio readily admitted to the Toronto crowd last night (October 29) that it's been a trying year.
 
These days, the Miami-born, R&B-rooted singer and songwriter has her ego in check and an irrepressible charisma and stagecraft that glows onstage. Claudio has a mature voice for someone in her early 20s; she's a sultry mix of torch singer, pop star and R&B aficionado. Recent collaborations with fellow emerging stars 6lack and Khalid have only furthered her appeal.
 
Indeed, Claudio has managed to establish a large and devoted following: low-key, silky-sensual tracks like "Unravel Me," "Stand Still" and newer tracks like "Messages from Her" speak to an evolving maturity and potential longevity in this game.
 
"This year was one of my most difficult. For my career and mostly in my personal life, but I couldn't let myself or you guys down by never making music again," she told the packed house in a brief interlude before dropping the sublime midtempo track "Cycle" to expand on that positive thinking. Its lyrics go: "I didn't make it this far / Just to make it this far..."
 
Dropping her early SoundCloud singles along with tracks from 2017's Confidently Lost, the "About Time" mixtape and new project No Rain, No Flowers, she and her backing band showcased her versatility, studio-ready vocals and artistic poise. She hit us with underground gems like the poppy "Too Much Too Late" and "Orion's Belt," along with new tracks like "Frozen" and "Creation," the latter of which speaks to making a former lover better: "She must wanna thank me / For leaving her with your best version."
 
Claudio has weathered her personal and professional storms; rock-solid performances like the one on this night show that she is more than ready to shine.