Words By Iqbal Savage
The vivacious Surrey songstress’ first headline show was a sight to behold as her music’s marriage of sultry jazz and laidback soul created a breathtakingly spellbinding ambience.
The 22-year-old certainly showcased her abilities at Stoke Newington’s ‘The Waiting Room’, as her exceptionally complex vocals coupled with her classic but contemporary sound captivated the audience. In an intimate basement styled venue, there was a warm atmosphere before May had even graced the stage with the crowd tantalisingly waiting to see her effervescent personality and grandiose voice blow us away on stage.
May’s band begins to play and the velvety sounds of the saxophone, soulful buzz of the trumpet as well as the hypnotic rhythm created by the bass guitar, fashioned a walkway to the stage for her as the crowd celebrate her entrance. “I just want to say thank you to every person that has purchased a ticket and the fact that all of you are here is just insane,” she expresses to a sardine packed audience as her animated nature saw her transmit that level of excitement around the room for the entire show in an infectious manner.
The inaugural song of the evening was the horn-led ‘Tears in the Rain’ which set the vibe, showcasing her eclectic sound in which you also hear influences of hip hop and house. Whilst caught in the midst of this mesmerising performance, I took a look around the room to find every individual singing the words to ‘Peanut Butter’ to which May proceeded to stop and watch the audience serenading her, creating one of the standout moments of the night.
May sites the late Amy Winehouse as an inspiration and while watching her live you clearly notice Winehouse manifests within a part of her own soul, especially when she sang ‘Monsters in your Bedroom’ as we saw those mind-blowing riffs showcased to a point in which she still in control of her powerful voice. Afterwards she talks about how going out to Berlin to film for ‘Colors’ being one of the most incredible experiences which typifies her undeniable rise amongst music tastemakers with a fan flying from Milan to see this live show.
A gift that May possesses is an innate ability to infuse a variety of ideas and sounds to bring to fruition and this was exemplified with her on-stage collaboration with the Cold Callers. The recently written ‘In My Head’ had a chilled hip hop feel creating a coolness personified facet to the evening which had been oozing musical class and aptitude.
Following palatable performances of ‘Heavenly Thing’ and ‘22’, an incredibly authentic rendition of Sunshine Anderson’s ‘Heard it All Before’ was an exquisite way to round off a flawless night which saw the crowd treated to an encore after chants of ‘one more song’ reverberated around the room.
This may have been her first headline show, but this was just a taster of what is to come as those fans will certainly be here for years to come. With her EP ‘Kind of Purple’ being released back in June, it doesn’t seem like Tertia May will be losing any momentum any time soon.