Rebecca Ferguson came into the public eye as the runner-up of 2010’s X Factor, where she won the hearts of the public as a down-to-earth young woman with soft jazzy vocals and a sweet but dignified demeanour.
Since her X Factor days, Ferguson has achieved what many of her fellow X Factor alumni would do well to aspire to. She has discovered her niche in jazz and blues, made some great records and stuck to her morals.
Her latest venture is an album-long tribute to the late jazz legend Billie Holiday.
And it is a good one.
Lady Sings the Blues
Ferguson soars, swings and occasionally growls her way through a variety of Billie’s greatest hits, showcasing her impressive range, stamina and adaptability. Before we all get too excited though, it has to be said that whilst Ferguson is undoubtedly talented, this album’s success is riding on some well-established classic songs, which have been in public radio’s repertoire for decades.
Some particularly memorable tracks on Lady Sings the Blues are:
- Get Happy. Released as a single before the album’s release, it’s a sassy, upbeat GOOD MORNING to the world with some hair-raising high notes at the end!
- Embraceable You. It’s the sweetest song on the album, and Ferguson competes successfully with covers by Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland!
- Summertime. It’s one of the most covered songs in the history of music. Should it have been skipped over on this album? Hell no.
- Blue Moon. A personal favourite (which has nothing at all to do with the ‘mooning’ scene in Grease), Blue Moon is fanciful, light and romantic, and Ferguson makes it sound like a brand new song.
The whole album is packaged very pleasantly, with some gorgeous acoustic production. These classic songs really do benefit from modern microphones and production equipment, although I had forgotten how nice it was to listen to music that doesn’t use any computer-generated sounds, just some lovely voices and instruments.
Ferguson is an honest-to-god talent making some honestly great music.
Unlike the original Lady Sings the Blues, which featured Holiday struggling with various addictions, leading to health complications which impacted her vocals, Ferguson is seen here blossoming after the birth of her third child, performing her own show in residence at St James’ Theatre throughout February.
Lady Sings the Blues is out on March 9th. (And it’s really very good!)