Vocalist Terence Trent D'Arby made his Washington debut at the Bayou last week, and long before he walked offstage one thing was obvious: He won't be playing clubs for long. Already a British pop star, the 25-year-old New York native is clearly headed for bigger things here.

The key to D'Arby's appeal isn't that he looks like Michael Jackson or that he moves onstage like Prince. Those similarities, of course, aren't likely to stunt his career but they become irrelevant in concert. Truth is, not only can D'Arby outsing Jackson and Prince, he's a fine songwriter to boot. He has a twin-edged voice that moves from crooning balladry to gruff, soul shouts with extraordinary ease, and while he and his band were not averse to carving out a simple-minded funk groove, several of his own songs, especially "Seven More Days," revealed a keen intellect as well.

A former flyweight boxer, D'Arby is pencil thin and lightning fast. He's a natural on stage. But in the end it was a ballad -- a stirring, impassioned rendition of Smokey Robinson's "Who's Lovin' You" -- that overshadowed everything else.