It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years since Shola Ama has performed live. After a whirlwind career featuring one Brit Award win for Best British Female and two MOBO Awards for Best Newcomer and Best R&B Act, she’s back to promote her new album, Surreal, released in October 2015.
Warming up for Shola was the promising Tayá. The power and confidence of her voice were undeniable, and her performance, together with her Scouse charm, places her firmly in the category of young R&B singers to watch for the future.
When Shola finally got onto the stage, the audience were not disappointed. She combined old classics with new favourites, and her band, especially the drummer, added to the sense of occasion. Shola also had a few surprises up her sleeve. She introduced an apologetically tipsy Giggs onto the stage, who performed a couple of songs with her before he gave way to a much better Wretch 32. The crowd didn’t seem that keen on the rappers’ inclusion, and it was true that they took away from the organic excitement of Shola’s solo set. Nevertheless, it was an important night for her, and it was nice to see her supported by her friends and fellow artists.
Shola certainly showed that she still possesses the qualities of a great singer and performer, and her new songs were better than one might expect from a comeback album. She enthralled the audience to great effect when she returned onto stage to play her biggest hit, ‘You Might Need Somebody’, which set everyone clamouring for more from this legend of the UK R&B scene.