As the gleam of the fading sun danced across the windshield of the Uber en route to the nights’ festivities, my mind flashed back to a few months ago when I had gone on a solo camping trip to Lake Cachuma. It was on this trip that I finally accepted the fact that underneath my toasty brown/Swiss Coffee of skin color exterior lives a country loving, bonfire burning and whiteclaw drinking red blooded American male. That’s how I heard about Julia Rizik, the fiery country singer who decided to branch out into the tumultuous pop landscape.
I jolted back into reality thanks to one of the many potholes signaling that my arrival was imminent. After checking in, I found myself on the second floor of Cleo Mediterráneo on W. Third Street overlooking the bar and bustling Hollywood just outside. As I cautiously walked the floor with one of the many tropical inspired cocktails I imbibed that night, I noticed a very obvious buzz in the air that could only be possible when people realize they were witnessing the rise of a new and promising version of an already successful singer. Of course, nothing accompanies these things more than delicious food, and Cleo’s certainly didn’t disappoint. The menu was designed by award-winning chef Danny Elmaleh who infused his Moroccan and Japanese background to curate the menu which we sampled as we mingled before showtime. Trays of steak and chicken skewers engulfed the space with their sweet smell as they were picked off by the hungry revelers slowly shuffling towards the intimate room in the back as Kerry Marshall Jr. and Destiny Petrel tuned up.
Rizik thanked everyone for coming out on a school night and thanked the venue. When asked why she chose Cleo’s, Rizik said, “My PR girls told me about this place and when I saw this place and what they were about I knew I had to be a part of it so I feel blessed to be here.”
She launched into some of her new material including her latest single, Love Myself, which showcased her maturity from country darling into budding pop star. “I started in country and I learned a lot about songwriting and I definitely want to add some R&B elements to my new songs, so stay tuned as I’ll be playing more shows and writing new songs!”
To try the delicious food and cocktails mentioned, visit Cleo on 8384 W 3rd St. Be sure to stop by their new To-Go Window option and check out their Wings mural painted by local artist Colette Miller unveiled at the event.
Check out Julia Rizik’s latest happenings on her social media channels: