[Paloma Faith & Ty Taylor performs ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’]
Paloma Faith and jazz conductor, Guy Barker took to the Royal Albert Hall’s (RAH) stage at Prom 65 [Friday 5th September].
Faith has an eclectic background that makes her more than just a songwriter and pop-music diva. Her past has much to play in her successful musical career of signing record deals with Epic and collaborating with international music producers such as Madonna, Pharrell Williams and Raphael Saadiq. Born in Hackney and raised in Stoke Newington, Faith grew up with a learning disability, which acted as a catalyst to her route to stardom.
The half Spanish and half English solo artist started off as a burlesque cabaret performer singing soul and jazz in the dive bars of Soho. She dabbled with acting and managed to study at Central Saint Martins which formed her unique fashion style. She also turned down the opportunity to be in Amy Winehouse’s band to succeed as a solo artist.
Tonight she strutted in with huge high heels in a tight, white, figure hugging and sequined couture that winked back at camera flashes that bombarded the RAH’s grand auditorium. Etiquette and customary measures enforced in a classic music prom were put aside as audiences were clapping and dancing on their feet.
Guy Barker is musical arranger for the Jazz Voice and performed with his orchestra, a 45-piece Jazz orchestra. Faith also invited a special guest, American soul artist Ty Taylor who received a standing ovation for wooing Faith’s vocal chords which gained him a new band of groupies from the audience.
Faith performed a selection of her songs: ‘Stone Cold Sober’, ‘Upside Down’ and ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This’ with the added bonus of tracks that inspired her to sing as a young amateur including Etta James where she sang with sass and panache ‘I want to love you, all night long’. She parading her voice with sheer naturalism with the awakening crash cymbals and jazz beats as she made her way to the conductor’s podium wiggling her bum.
Faith embraces all musical genres and artistic pleasures, which she displayed by her vogue-like dancing by shaking her chest as well as her booty; and to the plucking of strings, she mimicked robotic dance movements by inflecting her palms. Her backing vocalists (Baby N’Sola, Jannelle Martin, Naomi Miller) and the Urban Voices Collective made the RAH louder and soulful as ever to Faith’s energy-fusing concert.
This was an electrifying modern prom, yet a few things seem to have spoiled it – this being the manner in which Faith spoke of the RAH. She admitted it was the first time performing there and stating some bizarre things such as ‘Please dance. It may be the RAH, but we are only human’ and managed to compare it to London’s ‘gutter.’ She also said the c-word at the very end, which – thankfully – wasn’t broadcasted live on the BBC 3 radio. Was this a ploy to promote her brand new album? Because this kind of behaviour embodies ‘A Perfect Contradiction’.