Corrine Bailey Rae – Wardrobe, Leeds, 12/12/05

Corinne Bailey Rae

There was an air of anticipation at The Wardrobe in Leeds tonight as local talent Corrine Bailey Rae was about to perform tracks from her forthcoming album available in March next year. Having just released 'Like A Star' to critical acclaim and recognition of the music industry it's clear that big things are set to happen for this soul queen. Friends, family and music biz types were everywhere and in for a treat.

Before Corrine even started when she came on stage there was a presence that oozed style and sophistication plus the fact that she's beautiful makes any onlooker gaze with a fondness. The band start to play and the attitude is soulful, funky and honest. Corrine starts to sing and we see where her real talent lies. She has a sound that is raw, highly emotional and sassy. Like the old jazz singers yet she has the modern nu-soul edge that keeps her contemporary. The first two tunes are mellow, deep and emotive and then she plays 'Enchantment' and if you've heard the single as a comparison she sings this track with perfect pace, grace and pitch precision.

The tempo picks up with 'Till This Happens To You' and then she plays her latest single 'Like A Star' that goes down well with the crowd who even sing along to prove the popularity of the track. We're then lucky to get a new song and even one for her mum before she leaves the stage. She returns with 'Shoe, Pastry, Heart' and an acoustic version of 'Just Like A Star' which she played on Jools Holland, this is so moving and packed with heart filled serenity we are left feeling that we've witnessed something special.

Fortunately for me I've seen Corrine Bailey Rae perform before and seeing this gig tonight showed that she gets better every time. The songs are great and the delivery is amazing. She's found her place and everyone can be touched by her giving her every chance of commercial appeal.
The sound is a classic soul, funk, jazz sound yet rather than being Americanised she keeps that British edge and even injects a degree of folk to keep it unique to the north of England. The influences are definitely from the best of nu-soul like Lucy Pearl, Jill Scott, Eryka Badu and the conscience soul of India Arie.
The groove is stylish, honest and infectious and works well with the vocals. So it seems that we've found a new princess of soul in Britain and if you get the chance go see her, use it.

Tareck Ghoneim

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