Jade Helliwell has long been a favourite on the UK Country scene. The Batley-born singer-songwriter rose to fame after posting a video of herself singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah with a busker during a night out in Leeds. Since then she’s gone on to win awards and she’s one of the leading female Country artists in the UK. Last night Helliwell performed her first-ever headline London show at Zigfrid Von Underbelly.
If there were any nerves, Helliwell didn’t let them show. She opened her set with the catchy Boom Tick and she kept the energy up for the duration. Performing like a seasoned pro, Helliwell knew how to engage the audience and how to let her own energy shine on stage. During Boom Tick she performed with confidence and lost herself to the music in a way that endeared her to the crowd who were watching her every move on stage.
What immediately grabbed me were the vocals. Helliwell is an artist who has a fantastic range and she displayed it over the course of the evening. She’s capable of the powerful belts that Country often demands but she’s also capable of the quieter more emotional moments too. The fantastic Numb really showed what she was capable of as did her choice of covers, which included Cassadee Pope’s Take You Home and Danielle Bradbery’s Hello Summer. You don’t tackle those songs unless you know you can pull them off, and Helliwell made it look far too easy.
Of her own material, Helliwell really shined on the acoustic number Ask Me To Stay. It was one of the night’s moments where she really let her voice radiate, and the audience reacted warmly. She knows how to deliver a song with passion but she also knows the right times to pull back, and prove that less really is more. The double whammy of singles Drive and Stormchaser were a treat and new track Put It On You, showed just how much Helliwell is evolving as an artist.
For the final number, Helliwell performed her hit single Repeat and she ended her set on a very high note with some audience members were singing along. Despite performing 12 songs, I wanted the show to continue and I’d enjoyed witnessing just what a force Helliwell really is.
British Country may still be finding its feet but Helliwell is without a doubt one of the movement’s leaders. Her songs are polished and on par with what regularly comes out of Nashville, and as a performer there was nothing really to fault. Her vocals were on point, as was her energy, and she transformed an intimate venue into a party. That’s no easy thing to do but judging from last night, the sky really is the limit for Helliwell.
Set list: 1. Boom Tick 2. By My Side 3. Numb 4. Take You Home (Cassadee Pope cover) 5. When I’m Sleeping 6. Ask Me To Stay 7. Hello Summer (Danielle Bradbery cover) 8. Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover) 9. Drive 10. Stormchaser 11. Put It On You 12. Repeat Performance date: 23rd May 2019