Review by Alicia Carpenter
19th July 2021. “Freedom Day”.
Every young gig-goer in the country has been absolutely itching for this date to come around. No more table service, no more head bopping in seats – it’s finally time to stand in a crowd and enjoy live music in its purest form.
Tonight, I’m here to see Emilia Tarrant, the Winchester-born singer songwriter. After having her song “Honeymoon Phase” played on a huge scene in Love Island and a subsequent 6.5k Shazam searches, Emilia is beginning to get her voice heard.
And that’s exactly what the crowd here tonight at Old Blue are here to do: listen.
Emilia hypes everyone up before she begins her set. It’s the first gig back for her – and for a lot of us as well. The audience respond immediately to her positive energy. The room feels, well, rapturous. She kicks off her set with “Honeymoon Phase”.
The first thing I notice is the power a woman, a voice and some black and white keys can create – it’s some real Carole King energy. Mesmerizing. This isn’t so much a “sad song” as a lament. Emilia’s anguish is poured into each line, it’s almost haunting how she so effortlessly turns something so painful into beauty. Then the song is over. As the audience applaud, the joy on Emilia’s face is infectious.
The second song is the antithesis to its predecessor. “This is one of my happier songs,” Emilia explains. “I literally write depressed songs – this is a rarity! It’s called “Stuck On You””. Emilia is a songwriter who is able to express an extremely wide range of emotion. The melodious vocal intertwinesharmoniously with the keyboard phrases and the refrain makes for a definitive ear worm of a chorus. It’s a hook straight out of the Brill Building.
After a tempest of a ballad in third song “When It Was Chaotic”, Emilia invites a special guest to join her on stage. She introduces him as Archie Faulks, and describes how they wrote the forthcoming tune, “September”, together. Emilia’s vocals teeter atop Archie’s delicate guitar-picking, and this folky fusion transports me to Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash’s house in Laurel Canyon, California.
A cover of Angie Stone’s anthem, “I Wish I Didn’t Miss You” follows. It’s difficult song to make your own, but Emilia manages it by combining her soaring voice with a whole lotta soul. Check it out for yourself here.
Emilia leaves us with one final offering in the form of “Another Life”. An intro reminiscent of John Lennon’s masterpiece “Imagine” paves the way for vocals that stop you dead in your tracks.
The Old Blue hangs onto Emilia’s every word. The bottom line: this girl has – in her own words – “something to say”.
Emilia’s latest single “Here You Are Again” is out now and it’s beautifully written about mental health during lockdown.
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Featured image by Indy Brewer.