REVIEW Corinne Bailey Rae, O2 Institute

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Two-time Grammy winner, Corrine Bailey Rae is back and on tour with her third album “The Heart Speaks in Whispers.”

After releasing her eponymous album in 2006, Leeds born singer-song writer, Corrine Bailey Rae achieved international success with her LP reaching No. 1 in the UK and No. 4 in the U.S charts. Her unique raspy voice brought a soulful edge to the noughties; combining classic pop with a smooth retro tone.

Unfortunately when the time came to create a follow-up album, Rae was struck with the devastating news of her husband’s death, which greatly impacted her career. Taking a hiatus from music she later released her sequel EP “The sky”, exploring this dark time and homing in on the grief and pain of losing a spouse.

Now after a six year wait, the artist is back with her latest work titled “The Heart Speaks in Whispers” for an international tour that spreads from the UK to the US and Australia. Focusing on the idea of hope and inner peace, this album takes a different turn to the previous one with its upbeat and positive vibe.

Opening the show with lead single, Been to the Moon, this catchy song set the tone for the whole night as she bounced around the stage, waving her arms in a carefree hippy fashion. Her sweet but powerful voice echoed around the room as doting fans watched in awe, singing along word for word.

“Some of you in here have been with me since the very beginning, while others have come in later and I just want to say thank you for always sticking by me” she announced. With only three albums in the space of ten years, Rae’s steady fan base has remained consistently loyal to the pop star throughout her change of tone – which was made clear from the several “we love you Corinne” shout-outs and enthusiastic dancing.

Her eclectic mix of songs was divided into two sections with the artist saying that “sometimes I find when I sing love songs it can go either way; me pushing forward, or me pushing away.” From her unique cover of Bob Marley’s Is this love, to her beautifully sung Green Aphrodisiac and The Skies Will Break, her poetic lyrics both challenge and accept the idea of love, showing her own personal struggle throughout the years.

Overall the show was a celebration of contentment and peaceful satisfaction in life. When introducing Stop where you are, she revealed her own inner conflict with always waiting for the right moment, the right partner and the right career move in order to be happy; when in hindsight she already had everything she needed.

A completion of the negative chapter, Rae’s performance finished on a high with her most popular song, Put your records on receiving an incredible round of applause. Flashing back to 2006, she dug out her old tambourine as the audience clapped along in unison, dancing and swaying to the buoyant beat.

Corinne Bailey Rae’s “The Heart Speaks in Whispers” tour hits Manchester, Cambridge and London from the 5th-8th November

Words: Emma Walsh

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