French-born London-based SOPHIE DELILA is relaxing in the ground floor café of Manchester’s Soup Kitchen as we arrive. A graduate of Boston’s famed Berklee College of Music, home to Grammy-winning alumni including Paula Cole, Bruce Hornsby, Quincy Jones and Aimee Mann, among many others, she became known as a singer with the NOUVELLE VAGUE collective, has supported the likes of Lionel Richie, Jamiroquai and Mika, has dueted with France’s 2006 Nouvelle Star (American Idol equivalent) winner Christophe Willem on the brilliant “What Did I Do,” and is now preparing to release her “My Life Could Use A Remix” album.
Thanks to some rather poor advertising, it’s a quiet night at the Soup Kitchen, but Sophie gets the small crowd bopping from the start. With stunning vocals and a penchant for great disco beats, she’s a positive breath of fresh air in the chilly Manchester climes. We discover that she has borrowed her outfit from a local designer, and that she writes and sings very much from the heart.
She’s versatile, as she now moves onto the keyboard. She hits some amazing top notes easily, bringing us a range of jazz, funk, electro, pop and disco. Sophie delivers a fun show full of heartwarming tracks and some surprises, including an excellent cover of Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” The importance of friendship is a theme which comes up often – “What Did I do” is a story about the loss of a friendship, and her “Start a Party” about spending time with a friend who is going through a rough time. “Bound to Fall” is the fabulously new single, and here her slightly husky, pitch-perfect vocals really shine through.
Her three-piece backing band are solid, and the closing track demonstrates Sophie’s innovative style as she employs a loop station to produce a sophisticated looping of vocals. It’s been a great night out with the fabulous Sophie Delila. We look forward to having her back – and a much bigger crowd is guaranteed.