Bringing the Heat and the Sweet to Brooklyn College

Akilah Etienne and Erica Umhoefer are Spicy Honey / Dawn Eligio

The sun served as a spotlight as its rays peeked between the green leaves of the low-hanging trees showcasing two musicians from the Conservatory of Music. Akilah Etienne and Erica Umhoefer took the stage at the Lily Pond last Tuesday in front of at least 30 Brooklyn College students and bystanders.


Akilah Etienne and Erica Umhoefer make up the duo known as Spicy Honey. The ladies describe themselves as half sweet and half spicy, blending their talents together to create the perfect flavor combination. Applause and cheers from the audience was proof that when two worlds of flavor extremes combine, they work to create a masterpiece.


“We’ve been Spicy Honey for like a week?” half-joked Umhoefer. “But we’re both into the same kind of music, like the same artists musically, so this happened.” Aside from being classmates and partnered artists, they are also really good friends, which was evident as they balanced professionalism and fun in their performance.


They performed a total of eight songs, ranging from oldies classics such as “Blue Moon” to more contemporary songs, such as a soulful rendition of R.Kelly’s “Ignition Remix.” Umhoefer played the keyboard and provided harmonizing vocals as Etienne sang lead vocals.


Etienne’s vocals are strong and also sultry yet show her wide vocal range, gathering vibes from influences such as Lauryn Hill while Umhoefer’s skill on the keyboard showed her obvious knowledge of chord progression, particularly in blues style as she played specific progressions. Their execution of the music was passionate — they love what they do, they enjoy doing it together and it showed as bright as both ladies’ personalities are.


In addition to being what Etienne calls, “a super swell team” that performs together, both ladies also teach music. Umhoefer hosts private piano lessons, while her counterpart offers voice lessons.


For more information about future Spicy Honey performances, visit the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music.


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