Rebecca Ferguson – Live at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

English soul siren Rebecca Ferguson perched herself in front of a makeshift bar on stage at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire last night with a cup of tea. Ladies and gentlequeens, that is how you open a show with class.

Rebecca Ferguson Live London 2014

(Photo via Rebecca Ferguson‘s Facebook page, taken by a fellow concert-goer.)

There was no denying that every single person in the room came for the pleasure of hearing Rebecca’s timeless voice in action as she takes us through gems from her second album Freedom.

But having said that, the one question I’ve been asked by those who have followed Rebecca’s journey on the X Factor is, “Did she look nervous?” (It also didn’t help that she tweeted that she was feeling both “nervous and excited” minutes before hitting the stage.)

It has been over three years since she auditioned for the talent show with her eyes closed and since then, Rebecca has written and delivered a debut album that sold over a million copies worldwide.

There is a lot of good will around this woman and people are keen to know if she has developed more confidence performing on stage – particularly now that she’s singing her own material.

While Rebecca’s vocals were tremendously powerful, it took a few songs before she got into the swing of things and really turned the party.

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Rebecca Ferguson ‘Backtrack’ Single Review

Last Christmas, I wondered out loud if Rebecca Ferguson‘s much-deserved international breakthrough will happen hot off the heels of her debut album or will we have to wait a couple of years.

REBECCA FERGUSON BACKTRACK

I mean, it’s a fair enough concern given the amount of madly talented artists out there who spend years and decades trying to break the international market only to clock near-misses with “revised” album tracklistings and music videos.

However, thankfully, our beloved soul siren from Liverpool managed to make an early mark for herself in the US, Australia and beyond – just like her fellow X Factor series mates One Direction and Cher Lloyd. [Side bar: read my review of her Melbourne show case in March.]

‘Backtrack’ is the newest offering from Rebecca’s soon-to-be repackaged hit album Heaven, which has already sold half a million copies and peaked at #3 in the UK, as well as hitting #14 in Australia and #23 on the US Billboard 200.

Stylistically, ‘Backtrack’ is a modern uptempo soul number that will pleasantly surprise any casual observer of Rebecca’s music – particularly those who were enthralled by her more down-lit ballads.

The new track’s eager-to-please, piano-driven melodies and sing-a-long “ooo-oooh-wee-oooh! Ooo-oooh!“s makes it the most radio-friendly single Rebecca has served since ‘Glitter & Gold’.

“You backtrack, change your act at a hundred lies per minute!” It’s hard to take these brazen lyrics with a straight face when you’ve got such a sumptuous beat driving it, but such is its beauty, I suppose.

I would actually really love to hear ‘Backtrack’ remixed by Foster The People or a similarly-styled indie/pop band. I think it could go a long way rocking crisp kicks, guitars and some synths.

Heck, even a headline-grabbing duet with Adam Levine would work nicely with the current version.

Watch the video for ‘Backtrack’ in which Rebecca flaunts a new look with latte-coloured blonde hair:



Rebecca is definitely sassier than what most of us would expect from her soft-spoken manner. Y’all remember the time she threatened to sue her former management in a Twitter rant for overworking her to the point where she collapsed?

Yes, Modest Management – who also handles One Direction – was probably not taking the most sympathetic approach in minding an artist with two young children.

Footnotes:

REBECCA FERGUSON HEAVEN DELUXE

Rebecca Ferguson‘s ‘Backtrack’ will precede the repackaged version of her hit album Heaven (pictured above), which arrives in the UK on 15 October.

The refreshed album tracklisting will also feature another new song ‘I’ll Count The Days’, which is taken from the forthcoming series of Downton Abbey, and covers of Drake and Rihanna‘s ‘Take Care’ and Aqualung‘s ‘Strange and Beautiful’.

Fingers crossed for an Aussie release date.

Chart Feed – 27.08.12

Success comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, on local levels and global fronts. Some just seem to want a piece of it in every market.

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It has been a very good week for overachievers Bloc Party and Taylor Swift, as well as Birdy, Ricki-Lee, and Brandy. Also, find out where new releases from Owl City, Aiden Grimshaw and David Guetta land.

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Rebecca Ferguson Live in Melbourne

‘Spellbinding’, ‘sweet’ and ‘seemingly effortless’ are just some words that might fall off your lips if you were lucky enough to witness Rebecca Ferguson‘s showcase tonight.

The British soul siren is currently in Australia for a week to promote her freshly launched debut album Heaven, playing two intimate industry showcases hosted by Sony Music Australia.

I was lucky enough to be invited to her first show here in Melbourne tonight by the lovely Damian of auspOp and frankly, I don’t know about y’all but, we both absolutely leapt at the opportunity to see this gorgeous Liverpool singer live.

Rebecca has been a firm favourite of mine ever since I watched her audition for the X Factor some two years ago. Her soulful vocal tones is perhaps one of the most striking and beautiful voices to grace pop music in the last decade.

Rebecca breathes depth into a song in ways most artists could only dream of doing and tonight – despite her own admission of feeling quite ill – the girl had every single person in the room hung up on her graceful performance.

The succinct five-song set opened with her future single ‘Glitter and Gold’ – a confident song choice that showcased Rebecca‘s ability to turn it out as a live performer with a band.

‘Too Good To Lose’ followed suit and it is only after this song that we see the gorgeous chanteuse break into a bit of chatter. The small crowd of us in the room seemed genuinely interested to hear more from Rebecca, especially when she started opening up about the inspiration behind some songs on Heaven.

She introduced the heartfelt ballad ‘Teach Me How to Be Loved’ as a song she wrote about falling in love but being afraid to trust. Something a lot of us can probably relate to.

The track became the centre piece of Rebecca‘s set as she took a seat and kept her eyes closed for most of the performance. It was an intimate moment where everyone had kinda settled down from taking in her stunning visual presentation, and was ready to focus on the song.

Speaking of visuals, Rebecca Ferguson might be turning out an album you’ll comfortably hear in a café or trendy op shop somewhere in Brunswick, but tonight she was serving Cup Day realness.

The glamazon stepped out in a traffic-stopping short red dress that accentuated her curves and a pair of vicious black six-inch Louboutins – and topped it off with a black wide-brimmed hat.

As stunning as she was to see in the flesh, the girl was unfortunately too unwell to mingle after. The set wrapped up with her current single ‘Nothing’s Real But Love’ – which is already garnering airplay in Australia – and ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’, a track she described as being the most lyrically challenging song on the album.

It seemed that with songs like ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ and ‘Teach Me How To Be Loved’, Heaven really is a thoughtful and emotionally explorative body of work that grows with repeated listens.

I’ve become familiar with both tracks after months of listening to the album but neither of them really took hold until I saw Rebecca perform them tonight.

Fingers crossed for a proper Rebecca Ferguson Aussie tour next time she’s back in the country because it would be fantastic for more people to hear her songs come to live and take a new dimension like it did for me tonight.

Watch a live acoustic performance of ‘Nothing’s Real But Love’:



Footnotes:

Rebecca Ferguson‘s Heaven is now out in Australia.

You can read my review of the album on the Feed Limmy Top 20 Albums of 2011 countdown [Editor’s note: it’s obviously the only album of the year countdown that matters around here.]

Chart Feed – 26.03.12

It’s just past midnight and I’ve been compiling this post for the past four hours non-stop. It’s somewhat understandable that I want to just drop dead now to the sound of Madonna‘s ‘Gang Bang’ on repeat and never wake up again.

This week’s Chart Feed is one for the history books – especially if you’re the world’s biggest boyband of the moment: One Direction. Their legendary storming of the US Billboard charts makes them the first ever British band to have their first album go #1 in the States.

Elsewhere, Katy Perry blasts to #1 on the UK charts and we also look ahead to new releases by The Saturdays, Scissor Sisters and Calvin Harris.

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Chart Feed – 19.03.12

There is cause for much celebration in our Chart Feed this week.

Nicki Minaj is cockblocked from the #1 spot again, Jason Donovan is back in the Top 40 and there’s a new girl storming the charts and she goes by the name of Carly Rae Jepsen. Who?

Find out more in this week’s Chart Feed.

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Leak Report: Rebecca Ferguson ‘On and On’

Rebecca Ferguson‘s dulcet tones are a gift that keeps giving. In an era where so many pop artists have abandoned the concept of singles b-sides, I’m thoroughly thrilled to see mama deliver on a few fronts with ‘On and On’.

This brand new country-inflected track will be launched as a b-side on Becca‘s forthcoming single ‘Too Good To Lose’.

There’s a distinctly American, slightly Louisiana taste to ‘On and On’ and given that, at the time of my writing, it is currently 5:40am in Melbourne – I wanna say that it’s perfect for sitting on the porch and watching the sun rise over the corn fields.

I can totally see why this was tucked in as a b-side, though. It doesn’t quite fit the flow of her Heaven-ly album tracks but it does present country as a very viable option for Godbecca, should she ever want to sashay in that direction.

There is literally so many opportunities for this woman to crack the American music market and country didn’t even cross my mind.

Listen to ‘On and On’:


 
Footnotes:

Rebecca Ferguson will release ‘Too Good To Lose’ the single on 4 March in the UK. While there’s no Aussie drop date set yet for ‘TGTL’, fans can now grab her first single ‘Nothing’s Real But Love’ on our iTunes.

Godbecca‘s stunning album Heaven arrives in Australia on 10 February. Valentine’s Day pressie for real, for real.