Dutch pop and jazz singer Caro Emerald will join the likes of Paloma Faith, Ub40 and Jools Holland on stage at Kew The Music’s series of outdoor concerts in London this week. Words: Vicky Smith
The last time Dutch singer/songwriter Caro Emerald played a festival at the UK, she was opening the revered Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. Fast forward 12 months, and she’s gearing up to take the UK festival scene by storm once more, albeit a little closer to home — at Kew The Music later this month. Those who weren’t fortunate enough to witness her storming set in Somerset last year (more of which later), should head to the slightly more civilised surrounds of Kew Gardens on 8 July to hear what promises to be a no-holds-barred evening of musical prowess.
With a sound she describes as ‘sample-based pop music’, Brit-Award nominated Caro’s musical career began back in her native Holland in 2009. After training as a jazz singer at the Amsterdam-based Conservatorium van Amsterdam academy of music, Caro’s entry into the limelight came after a demo she’d provided vocals for, which had failed to gain interest from record labels, became a You Tube hit. The producers then took note and realised her potential as a solo artist. It seems they weren’t wrong, and her debut album, Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor, spent a record-breaking 27 weeks at number one in the Dutch album charts.
Four years later, and that Glastonbury performance was the confirmation (if any were needed) that Caro’s star is shining bright as far as the UK. It must have been a dream-come-true to get such a prestigious slot? ‘It felt a little surreal to me,’ says Caro, as we talk on the eve of her jetting off to Asia before a non-stop summer of performances. ‘When I saw the start time (12.15pm) I thought “nobody’s going to come, they’ll all still be in bed”, but when I got on stage I realised I’d totally got it wrong, and there were so many people there shouting my name. It was only one 45-minute set but I never wanted it to end.’
It must be an exciting prospect, then, to be returning to the British festival scene for Kew The Music this month? ‘It’ll be good to be back in the UK, and London specifically. I’m really looking forward to it,’ she confirms. With a set that includes songs from her debut album, as well as her latest single Quicksand, it promises to be a fantastic show, and the perfect start to a summer tour that will see Caro visiting two countries a week.
Due to this hectic schedule, Caro won’t be able to catch any of the other acts on the stellar line-up at Kew, but she mentions Paloma Faith as one of the other performers she would have made a beeline for. Other acts taking to the stage at Kew The Music include Jools Holland, UB40 and The Specials, with every night of the concert series offering a slightly different feel. There will be plenty of stalls on site, however festival goers have the option to bring their own food and drink along – a bonus for anyone who’s spent too long missing their favourite songs whilst standing in a bar queue.
Caro Emerald performs at Kew Gardens on Wednesday 8 July. To book tickets go to kewthemusic.org