She’s performed with Jessie J and Paloma Faith, taken to the stage at Glastonbury, and now London singer Louise Golbey has released her hotly anticipated debut album, Novel
Louise Golbey is mesmerising to watch. The petite, raven-haired London Soul singer and songwriter has a beautifully unique sound. Her debut album, Novel, released in March, marks a culmination of years of writing and performing in the UK and abroad.
In the chilled setting that is famous jazz club Ronnie Scott’s, Louise’s smooth tones entrance the crowd with a light freshness and nod to pop tendencies. Her relaxed approach and quiet confidence in this live setting have you closing your eyes to appreciate her natural talent in all its glory. She’s singing a selection of songs from her debut album, Novel, a collection of re-mastered singles and brand new tracks by the English artist.
Featured in the compilation is a track with UK Soul icon Omar, and a song inspired by Louise’s own 96-year-old grandma, Family Tree. She explains the agonising process of narrowing down the best selection of songs to represent who she is as an artist. ‘I wanted it to be my best works because the whole point is that I wanted people who had never heard of me to hear my music,’ she asserts.
Having once started on the path to a career in theatre, today, Louise has instead pursued her knack for writing melodies and love for soul music to become a highly praised figure on the soul and jazz scene in London. She’s a regular at Jazz Café in Camden and Ronnie Scott’s, and perched on a stool at the coffee shop where we meet, she’s warm and chatty, busily planning the next set of appearances in June as part of her album’s launch. Asking her to describe her music to me, she’s quick to reply: ‘Neo-soul,’ she says. ‘Basically soul music but production-wise it’s got quite hip-hoppy grooves and bass lines’.
Recent achievements for the singer include opening for George Benson at Kenwood House Picnic Concert to a crowd of over 6,000 people. ‘I love performing and I love when it’s a good gig and you know that everyone’s with you – especially when it’s lyrics that you’ve written and it’s personal – that’s an amazing feeling,’ she grins.
Her talents have also seen her play at Glastonbury, as well as The Isle of Wight Festival, where she beat thousands of entrants in the unsigned competition. She’s also supported and shared the stage with acclaimed artists including Jessie J and Paloma Faith, and long-time friend Ed Sheeran (the two have previously performed together regularly, and he recently made a guest appearance in one of Louise’s music videos).
Louise is currently unsigned and manages her label herself, which she says can be tough but rewarding. ‘I quite like being in control of the aspects of my career. I am looking for management but it has to be the right manager, one who has experience taking a similar artist to the next stage. So when I do have a big achievement it feels like even more of an achievement because I’ve done it off my own back,’ she explains.
Her album has been described as extraordinary, with praise declaring her the next big thing, but she’s quick to brush off these comments. ‘I don’t feel like I’m where I want to be yet, but people often say to me, what is it that you want? I’ve had loads of big things happen but I just haven’t been signed. Is that even the dream? I don’t know, because I’ve got friends who’ve been signed by major labels and then been dropped by those major labels, so there’s just no guarantee,’ she ponders.
With the album finally out, I ask Louise what’s next on her bucket list. ‘Sometimes I discover I’ve got fans in other countries and I have no idea how they’ve heard of me,’ she says, a bit astonished. So while London is home, Louise hopes to spend more time overseas. ‘London’s always been a creative hub. But I feel because I live in London I’m quite London-centric. I went to Hamburg and got treated like the Queen. I think London’s a bit too saturated and it feels like in other countries they embrace other genres a bit more.’
She’s also got her sights set on the Jools Holland show. ‘He’s kind of renowned for breaking new artists, and he only gets people on who are really good at playing live. It’s a great platform and it’s been a bit of a personal goal of mine.’ And perhaps somewhere down the track, she hopes to support her idol, Beyonce. ‘I adore Beyonce. That might be a bit of an unrealistic dream, but actually no, because I know someone who works with her choreographer, so you never know!’ Judging by what Louise Golbey is like live, she would certainly look at home.
Words: Phillipa Rust