Three months ahead of releasing her fourth studio album ‘My Oh My’, Natalie Williams, the independent artist that she is, decided to throw a launch to coincide with the release of the album’s debut single ‘Keep Me Holding On’. For an artist of her musical maturity, where better than the well-kept quarters of Shoreditch House’s Biscuit Tin? Glasses clanged and tinkered over subtle conversation from a close circle of supporters, music lovers and industry professionals awaiting her appearance.
Accompanied by her full band and backing vocalists (introduced as the ‘Charlenes’), the soul/rnb singer casually made her way to the front with a head of red hair flowing over the shoulders of a bright white dress. After a brief introduction the songstress leapt straight into her set, bringing any lingering conversation to an abrupt end. Performing a long list of songs from the forthcoming album, she gave excited attendees a live demonstration of what to expect upon its release this September.
Loud, soulful, sexy and engaging, Natalie Williams bled passion throughout, however some of her band members in the brass section appeared rather stiff and miserable. In direct contrast, The Charlenes were playful, showing great on-stage interaction from start to finish.
While the full power of Williams’ voice was a rare treat, her range was on full display, and made clearer by the acoustic ballad cover of Bjork’s ‘Hyperballad’. With impressive compositions on songs like ‘Keep Me Holding On’ and ‘My Oh My’, her band played tightly, pushing the strategically placed speakers of Shoreditch House to their limit. Fixated from the word go, all biscuits filling the Tin were completely oblivious to the lack of seating. High energy resonated from the band as they finished the set on ‘Not Another Maybe’.
More drinks were poured and banter plenty as Ms Williams and band joined her loving supporters for the rest of the evening in celebration of a successful launch.
“When I first started out over 10 years ago I thought, ‘I want to be the big time like Janet Jackson’ and slowly as you go on you realise that your path might change because musically you might fall into a different category. I think if I wanted to be a pop artist I would have gone a different route and worked with different people, but I had love for the niche music I suppose. I’m really happy where I am because I get to do my music and I’m in creative control which is the most important thing for me because I don’t like to be told what to do. [Laughs]”
Words by Lawrence Gichigi