Gabrielle: London Air Studios

This Gabrielle is relaxed, she's having fun and she ought to be calling in a few more Brit Awards...

Gabrielle is the queen of smoky soul, the woman who wears sunglasses not because she’s rock’n’roll but because she’s shy, the singer we don’t have to take seriously because she takes herself seriously enough. Then she goes and scuttles her reputation by making the best pop single of the year in ‘When A Woman’. Gabrielle gets the audience to sing the intro for tonight’s special show for Heart FM. Of course, they know it – and Gabrielle launches into the cracking uptown soul number herself.

At the end of 2000 we have a stronger, more confident Gabrielle, and she makes for a far better live act than before. With ‘Rise’ she scored a number one and filled an aching gap in pop by covering the subject matter of the father of your child leaving you on the day he’s born and then decapitating his stepfather. No doubt about it, she’s been hurt and injured and then she goes and makes optimistic, darkly engaging soul songs. With a sly smile tonight, she segues ‘Rise’, based on the music of Bob Dylan’s ‘Knocking On Heaven’s Door’, with Dylan’s own lyrics.

This Gabrielle is relaxed, she’s having fun and she ought to be calling in a few more Brit Awards to add to her collection soon. She’s still the queen of smoky soul, she still wears sunglasses when the lights are down, but she has a good time being a diva. She certainly doesn’t need to collaborate with East 17 ever again to show she can party.

Ben Clancy