Paloma Faith is an artist of incredible vocal ability who is all too often ignored by mainstream music press.
Paloma Faith is an artist of incredible vocal ability who is all too often ignored by mainstream music press. This is a woman who would laugh in the face of auto-tune, were it not for the fact she’s so nice she’d worry about hurting its feelings.
Many of you will only have come across Faith through her weird interactions with Noel Fielding on Buzzcocks, but there’s a reason this underrated lady is famous. She is an incredibly versatile artist with an acute understanding of music composition and exposes this technically gift in a way that you won’t find on a Cheryl Cole track.
Citing her influences as Billie Holiday, Etta James, and David Lynch amongst others – she has a large sound that never fails impress and hands down has one of the best attitudes in the business – commanding respect in everything that she does.
So much so, that in the programme is an anecdote about her run-in with an Epic label executive – he refused to turn his phone off and she walked out. This is the kind of fire that Paloma Faith brings to her music, and performing with the Guy Barker Orchestra and Urban Voices Collective she works hard to bring a performance that reinvents what the Royal Albert Hall is meant for.
Bigger than the venue
Gone is the polite applause I witnessed in the earlier proms, this time there is singing along, waving… using mobile phones as lighters… Paloma Faith brought an atmosphere that convinced an audience it was okay to stomp their feet in the Royal Albert Hall – essentially – she is bigger than the venue.
Paloma Faith is the only singer who doesn’t need a venue or lighting tricks to be brilliant. Her first headline show was such a departure from traditional “Proms” behaviour that who knows if she’ll be back? The Comedy prom a few years ago has not been repeated since, and Paloma performs with the fire of someone who knows this might be it.
She made it a night to remember. Highlight of the show is most definitely “I’d Rather Go Blind,” a duet between Paloma and guest vocalist Ty Taylor. An explosion of soul and virtuosic vocals from Ty Taylor, even those who are not fans of her unique sound will appreciate this.
Performing opposite a talented unknown like Ty, what Faith lacks in virtuosic ability she more than makes up for in stage presence.
Intimate and special event
The night was filled with small stories and tales that made you feel part of the very intimate and special event that is any night with Paloma Faith.
If you look at the set list, you might not recognise the songs. You probably will have heard one or two and not made the connection to Paloma Faith, but once you tune in and watch her perform you’ll understand why this is a woman who can work with people like Pharrell Williams, Adam Deacon, Bashy, Cee-Lo Green and still be an artist in residence at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
This is a woman who knows music, and it shows during every minute of Prom 65.
After spending the night glittering like some form of singing mermaid angel, when the cameras were off, she thanked every single one of the performers handing flowers to the section heads, and told us the magic words on her lucky bracelet.
Everything about Paloma Faith screams that she isn’t just another singer, and the mark she made on the BBC Proms 2014 just confirms it.
Late Night with Paloma Faith was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC 4. It is available on BBC iPlayer and iPlayer Radio.
What do you think of Paloma's performance? Let us know in the comments below!