Going to see Benedict Benjamin last night was just as I’d expected, delightful! The small stage snugly housed a completely new addition for Benedict, a band! It was to be the first time that he had performed with a full band and it was great, vocal harmonies were pouring smoothly, there was a good connection and I would never have know this band were embarking on their first performance together.
Furthermore, the two support acts were also very good, one in particular really stood out for me and this was a young London-based singer-songwriter called Joy Crookes. At the very tender age of just 17, she totally dazzled me, her songs were not only diversely constructed but both written performed with a maturity beyond her years. Vocally there are hints of Amy Winehouse charging through her strong, soulful tone, whilst lyrically she writes emotively about personal woes, the digital age and it influences today’s society; her songwriting is refreshingly individual.
Her voice has an impressive strength too and can go from soaring highs into cascading sultry croons all in the blink of an eye. There is a multitude of styles compacted into each song which flawlessly blends elements of soul and jazz with trip hop beats and a sound that could be likened to Massive Attack. Switching between ballad and rhythmic spoken word, I love the vocal range that Joy Crookes displays in some of her songs too; a beautiful voice is one thing but the ability to use it as a rhythmical instrument is something I greatly admire and appreciate.
Joy Crookes is definitely one to watch our for and if this is what she is capable of at just 17, I can’t wait to watch her grow and evolve…I just hope that she maintains the genre-merging experimental style she displayed so wonderfully last night..(and keeps working with the fantastic band she was performing with too!)
Today’s song is her latest single, ‘New Manhattan’ and is named after an area in Brussels that both she and her boyfriend visited. When describing the song Crookes explained that this was inspired by her first visit to a red light district and how a street that ‘leads to lost souls uncovered ‘two sillhouettes drenched in red light.’ Ultimately, however, this is a love song based around Joys boyfriend (as she explained before the song), and the fact that no matter where she find herself, she feels safe and secure by his side. Listen above.
‘New Manhattan’ is available to buy now and can be found on Joy Crookes website here