There are only 48 days until the end of the decade, but it seems that we’ve already been gifted with an artist who could define the next 10 years. Celeste, you see, is a once-in-a-generation talent. With a voice that balances the fragility of Billie Holiday against the sheer power of Aretha Franklin, she’s the finest British soul singer to emerge in years.
The proof of this doesn’t get much clearer than on the second night of a three-show residency in the intimate surroundings of London’s Omeara – an achievement in itself which suggests much bigger things are on the horizon. It begins from the moment when she immediately states her case on the powerful ‘Both Sides Of The Moon’, with her powerhouse vocals effortlessly portraying the pain of being subjected to a cheating lover.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom. Things take a funkier turn on ‘Love Is Back’, which has Celeste proving that she’s a fine jazz singer too, accompanied by one seriously talented saxophonist. Close your eyes for a minute and you’d be excused for thinking that you’ve landed in New Orleans.
Elsewhere, ‘Coco Blood’ proves to be a brilliant diversion into neo-soul, with the singer channeling the spirit of Erykah Badu as she explores themes of belonging and national identity on the track. And, as things draw to a conclusion after a triumphant 45 minutes, her real moment of stardom comes in ‘Strange’, which is rightfully beginning to light up airwaves across the globe. Accompanied only by a sole keyboardist and a blacked out background, it proves to be utterly haunting and immediately stuns 300 people into rightful silence.
It won’t be the last time she commands this kind of reaction, but certainly the last time that it’s on a level as small as this. Bigger shows will follow (she’s already set to play Shepherds Bush Empire next year), but few will capture the intimate magic of this early showing. If there’s any justice, super-stardom is just around the corner.