LIVE REVIEW: Ella Henderson


WHERE: 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

WHEN: 9/11, tour runs to 10/11

SETLIST: Glow; Pieces; Mirror Man; Empire; 1996; Hard Work; Giants; Missed; Here For You; Give Your Heart Away; Yours; The First Time; Rockets (Jackson 5 mash-up including I Want You Back & ABC); Billie Holiday; Glitterball; Five Tattoos; Believe; Ghost.

Ella Henderson (pictured above) is just 19. She was 18 when her debut album Chapter One topped the UK charts and just 16 when she finished 6th in The X Factor.

She’s even enjoyed US success with Chapter One just missing the top 10 and her only UK chart topper Ghost going top 30. All of these amazing feats for one so young are worth remembering when seeing her live.

Ella toured arenas supporting Take That earlier this year and it’s clear from the start of this gig that she’s not intimidated by headlining her second sold-out night at this 2,000-capacity venue. She’s urging us to clap along from the off and regaling us with tales of her ascent to fame during this 90-minute show.

The first thing you notice about Ella is just what a strong voice she has. Secondly, she’s clearly writing about herself and her experiences and it is in this respect that you expect that her next album will be even more successful because she will have much more life experience to draw on.

Her debut album forms the bulk of the setlist and it is with very personal songs like 1996 and Billie Holiday, relegated to the deluxe edition of Chapter One, she seems at her most comfortable and charming. Her most recent singles are dance collaborations with Sigma and Kygo and this is welcome as much of Chapter One is mid paced fare. The Jackson 5 mash-up involving her own song Rockets is also a highlight.

Tackling a slowed-down version of Cher’s Believe at the piano towards the end of the set, it is clear what an underrated song that is and what a great musician Ella is – and also what songwriting potential she has yet to unlock.

Her biggest hit Ghost sends everyone home happy and the suspicion that we might have just been entertained by someone with the potential of a young Adele looms large.

  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham
  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Ella Henderson. Ella’s tour finishes in Grimsby 10/11, tickets here.

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