Thursday evening's crowd sang along with nearly every word and followed Varner on a journey between songs from her recently released project, 'Ellevation', and older songs that brought her to popularity.
Following her nearly 90 minute set, Varner spoke with ABC11 about performing at the iconic Howard Theatre and the journey thus far.
DeJuan: Ellevation dropped last week. How did it feel to be up there?
Varner: Incredible! Incredible! Such a rush of emotion.
DeJuan: You have a lot of big fans of 'Refill' who have been waiting for another project. Describe the feeling to have dropped that and receive all the love and support tonight.
Varner: It just lets me know this s the first time I'm performing of all the years I've been talking about it and talking. I've come here probably four times since 'Imperfectly Perfect' dropped. And now I finally have something new. So, it's just incredible!
DeJuan: Explain the meaning behind 'Ellevation'.
Varner: Ellevation is about triumph, growth, and just rising up!
DeJuan: You were getting real emotional up there on stage.
Varner: Oh, man! There was a 10-year-old girl. The fact that her name was Gabrielle just freaks me out. But to know there's a 10-year-old in the audience that came to my show - you can't tell me nothing like that! Just, I really appreciate that. And I'm excited to know that I have an impact on the youth as well.
DeJuan: Speaking of impact, you mentioned about how you're just getting started. What comes next?
Varner: Oh, man! I'm mixing and mastering the actual album. This is just the EP. So I'm going to bee expanding with my label - signing artists and just branching out to different things - acting. But musically, like I know people may not know this, but I look up to Quincy Jones a lot. And so I wanted to learn how to produce at a young age. And I've done that kind of work behind the scenes. Now I'm going to bring it up to the front.
DeJuan: Were you aware of how much work actually went into it?
Varner: Oh my God! It's like the hardest job and people don't even see you really doing much. You have to make sure everyone is fed and make sure the right parts are being played and that you have the right musicians in this whole overall vision. But it can just seem like it went by in two seconds, ya know?
DeJuan: Oh, I know! At what point will you be able to look back and say all of your dreams are coming true?
Varner: That's already here! When Ellevation dropped, I took that first step. And now I'm going to keep walking into the future.
Parts of this interview were edited for clarity.