In celebration of women in the entertainment business, The Edge writers handpick their favourite live female performers and reflect the reasons why, beyond listening to their music through headphones on repeat, they must be experienced live.
With her recent Grammy nomination for best new artist, Jorja Smith has well and truly cemented herself as one of the most exciting artists currently in the music industry. After seeing her perform last year at O2 Academy Brixton, it is clear how well-deserving her success is, and how extensive her talent is – Smith’s debut album, Lost and Found, was a perfect reflection of her unique tone and vocal range. The concert was filled with other artists eager to support her growing career – Maverick Sabre, Loyal Carner and lastly, Stormzy (which brought the house down). Her performance was intimate given the size of the venue, but she kept complete control of the room. Her standards for vocal perfection were high, and she had no problem in cutting off the band and restarting a song when she felt that it hadn’t started well. Most of Smith’s songs are personal and emotional, but at the gig she included an upbeat remix of one of her best known songs, ‘On My Mind’, demonstrating her versatility and ability to hold a crowd. There is no doubt Jorja Smith will continue to grow and evolve after the success of her debut studio album.
The lead singer of Sunflower Bean may only be twenty-something, but Julia Cumming’s stage presence and raw vocal prowess go beyond her humble years. Her voice is timeless, simultaneously recalling memories in the listener of the classic rock of the likes of Fleetwood Mack and redefining the genre. Whether she’s reciting ‘Only A Moment’ in all it’s slowly-building glory or attacking the no holds barred numbers like ‘Come For Me’ or ‘King of the Dudes’, her vocals are effortlessly dynamic. On stage, it’s not just her voice and natural stage presence that captures a crowd. Her visually appealing and distinctive costumes mesmerise the audience whether she’s up on stage or moshing amongst them. In Julia Cumming, Sunflower Bean have a formidable front woman.
Pale Waves‘ lead singer and guitarist Heather Baron-Gracie is unabashedly herself on stage and the confidence that she emanates is infectious. Together with her band she can get a whole crowd screaming their hearts out within one song and make even a supporting-act slot feel like a headlining performance. If you get to see Pale Waves live you’ll notice the sheer amount of energy that they give off and hear some awesome tracks that will have you feeling like a moody teenager all over again (or you know, the moody teenager you still are). What makes Pale Waves really stand out though is that you can tell they enjoy their own music. This might sound silly (surely every artist likes their own music?) but there’s a passion that goes into their artistry that makes them undoubtedly worthy of being on this list. As for Heather Baron-Gracie: she is an exceptional leading lady who has more charisma than she does black lipstick – and that is saying something!