It was the perfect setting for an event of this type. It was low lit, intimate and as soon as we saw the instruments, we knew exactly what kind of night we were in for.
South London singer-songwriter Shantéh Fuller graced the stage at Proud Camden for the launch of her EP Conversations with God. Warming up the audience with some of the material from her debut Life in Sound, she then dived into the new tracks. Everything she did sounded like it was written for live performance.
The same could be said for the two support acts Elizabeth Vincent and Ruth Ellen. When you can sound that good live, it leaves the audience wishing they could hear THAT version on their phones every day. It’s the sign of good live arrangements, we suppose.
For Shantéh, it didn’t feel like the songs she was singing were unfamiliar to those she was singing it to. Many knew the singles from this and the previous project. They were invested, vocal and supportive. Definitely a friendly crowd.
In a fabulous African dress, Shantéh gave a tour of her new tracks. She even threw in a version of Lauryn Hill’s Ex-Factor and got the crowd doing harmonies. The general rule of thumb is this: if you see Shantéh start to flick her afro around, she’s getting into it. There was lots of that on the night.
Shantéh was brave in a number of ways. She was brave enough to share her testimony. She was brave enough to show her full vocal range (which was wider than we realised). She was adventurous while remaining in full control.
We also have to give a shout out to the band. Incredible.
In fact, there was hardly a backing track to be heard all night. Elizabeth Vincent took her place where she feels most at home – in front of her piano. Meanwhile, Ruth Ellen gave a brilliant performance, flanked only by an acoustic guitar.
It was a night where gospel met soul. And when that marriage is officiated by such gifted musicians, we’re fully on board.