REVIEW: Tiny Habits @ Union Stage, 4/5

By Mya Petryshyn

Photos by Brianna Kimmel

Beneath the kaleidoscopic glow of green, purple, and blue lights at Union Stage, is this music industry’s hidden gem: Tiny Habits. The minute they stepped onto the small stage, promptly at 9:00pm, the crowd erupted in cheers. The humble trio smiled and bashfully hid their faces in their hands.

A warm buzz of excitement came over the crowd, aware that Tiny Habits was about to share their carefully crafted setlist and harmonious voices with residents of D.C. This trio band consists of Cinya Khan, Maya Rae, and Judah Mayowa. They stepped onto the stage in coordinated black and white outfits, each unique yet complimentary.

Tiny Habits engages with the audience between songs.

There was a sort of familiarity about them, almost a comforting presence that made the audience feel peaceful and protected. Maybe it was because they treated the crowd like it was a group of their friends. Maya would point at the audience, giggling like a schoolgirl and mouthing lyrics even when it wasn’t her part to sing. Judah would dance, providing a sort of infectious energy that reflected onto people’s faces. The trio stood in a triangle formation with Judah front and center and Cinya and Maya anchoring the sides.

Cinya closing her eyes and taking a second while her bandmates sing.

They wasted no time and quickly sprang into the very first song of the setlist, an unreleased song called “circling.” Each song—including “circling”—unfolded like a tidal wave of emotion onto the crowd, engulfing us in a shared catharsis. In that intimate space, barriers dissolved, we became one entity – swayed and sculpted by the trio’s artistry. Their harmonies wove together like threads in a tapestry, creating a rich, vibrant melody that captured all of us in the audience. While the band only had a small collection of songs to call their own, they made sure the crowd wasn’t leaving hungry. They treated us to three covers – “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac (a fan favorite), and “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane. While each cover earned a recognizable gasp from the crowd, Tiny Habits infused them with their distinctive style and unique flair, making each rendition truly their own.

Judah waving and smiling to friends and family in the audience.

Tiny Habits’ chemistry was undeniable. It was quickly clear that each member of the band could not function without the other, like the essential elements of fire—fuel, oxygen, and heat. Cinya’s voice was a breath of fresh air, igniting the fire as Judah brought the heat with his fun dance moves and chaotic energy, and Maya fueled the crowd with her addictive riffs and playful facial expressions. It culminated in an inferno of euphoria that swept through the crowd, leaving tingling sensations in its wake.

The band took a break from singing their originals and generously provided a platform for each member to shine with a solo performance. Cinya sang her song, “malleable,” which was accompanied by a whiny, slide guitar that added texture and dimension to the track. Judah sang his song, “planting flowers” which was intricately sweet, delicate, and a gift to the ears with soulful riffs and echoing harmonies. Maya sang, “broken” which highlighted the velvety timbre and warmer tones of her voice. She moved and sang like the song was dancing inside of her, begging to be let out. The lighting highlighted each member for their solo, a simple white spotlight amongst a backdrop of darkness.

Maya smiling and talking to the audience.

Toward the end of the show, tears filled Maya’s eyes as she emphasized how “crazy” this all was to her. She looked more awe-struck than the audience looking back at her. She even took a minute to show her appreciation for Cinya and Judah, her bandmates, but also her two best friends.

Tiny Habits then paid homage to their supporting cast—a pianist, drummer, guitarist, and bassist—introducing them with genuine appreciation and reverence. It was clear to each audience member that this was a tight-knit group; they were band members, but friends first. Watching this well-coordinated band play together was like placing the last piece into the puzzle: effortlessly satisfying. Each instrument, like a tributary, contributed to the band’s unique sound, blending effortlessly with the other to form a harmonious melody.

Judah and Maya dancing on the stage to their song “I Don’t Have The Heart.”

Concluding their set with “pennies,” Tiny Habits hinted at an encore, and true to their word, returned with, “tiny things,” their most well-known song. Maya urged us to sing along because she “felt it in [her] gut” that we would know the lyrics, and we did. By the end of the set, we all knew that this was a special group, one we wanted to keep a secret, pressed against our chest as a keepsake.

Nevertheless, we knew their brilliance couldn’t be concealed, and we felt lucky to have seen them shine for their first headlining tour at Union Stage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *