Review by Clare Knight
12/08/13 Soho House, London
Last night I made my way to Soho House in London to watch Gabriella Cilmi’s very intimate gig showcasing new music from her upcoming third album. As I am not the trendy London type, it did take a little while to find the venue. We felt less embarrassed when talking to others at the event who had the exact same problem! But we made it in time and got a couple of prime spots in the very packed room. The added bonus for the night was the specially created free cocktails that awaited people at the bar.
Gabriella Cilmi is back in the limelight supporting the release of her third album, The Sting which is out on October 28th 2013. I feel I should mention that she is still only 21 and has made a real departure from her hit single Sweet About Me with her new music. Her story leading up to now is no surprise. She was pressurised into making music that was not truly what she wanted to do, however the happy ending is that Cilmi has clearly found her voice and her style of music now.
Something you will notice straight away is that Cilmi has cut her hair and changed her image and then you realise that she looks incredibly comfortable performing the new songs from The Sting. Performing with a guitarist and a keys player, it was as if we were watching in on a rehearsal between the band rather than a gig at a venue. They were lost in the music and interacted with each other more than the audience, but I found that interesting to watch. It was quite obvious that Cilmi invests her soul into these songs and that it really means something to her.
A couple of the tracks that really stood out to me were Vicious Love and Left With Someone Else. They were foot stomping tempos with dirty guitar tones and husky vocals and those were the ones that got the crowd moving (whilst clutching their cocktails). The more ballad style songs such as Highway often had Cilmi singing on her knees with her eyes tightly shut. You could not fault the intensity in her performance. For the first part of the gig I was racking my brain to think of the singer that her voice reminded me of and it finally clicked… Aretha Franklin. I’m not talking about the wailing gospel type Aretha, I mean the deep sultry husky Aretha.
Sweeter in history
Don’t look back
Love me cause you want to
Left with someone else
Yes she has cut her hair, she has a new style of music, she is a few years older, more mature and by the sounds of it – has gained a lot of experience. But she is clearly being herself. It is a great combination and although I hesitate to call it a comeback (as it has not really been that long) I think it’s a bloody good way to start off a reinvention!