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Live Review: Shaznay Lewis – 14th May 2024 – Jazz Café, London, UK

4 min read
ICYMI: We caught All Saint's icon @ShaznayOfficial very first (and incredible) solo show at @TheJazzCafe this week. Our full review of the special night...

As one part of multi-million selling 90’s girl group, All Saints, Shaznay Lewis has achieved more as a singer and songwriter than most. Scoring several hits over a handful of records including I Know Where It’s At, Pure Shores, Black Coffee and signature ballad, Never Ever with her bandmates Melanie Blatt and singers Natalie and Nicole Appleton, Lewis then found short-lived and moderate solo success with the release of debut album, Open in 2004 which had fleeting success as a result of lead Top 10 single, Never Felt Like This Before but things never really took off for the musician as is often the case when we see members of a hugely successful outfit move into solo territory – regardless of whether or not you are one of the main voices and principle songwriters of hits that have littered the charts previously, group success doesn’t always translate into solo glory.

Twenty years after the release of Open, Lewis is back for round two as a solo artist and is gearing up for the release of her brand new record, Pages which is released on May 17. Ahead of the albums unveiling, the singer took to the very intimate surroundings of Camden’s famous Jazz Cafe to perform songs from the album as well as a few notables from her All Saints catalogue.

The night was an extra special one for both fans and Lewis herself. Confessing very early on in the set to the nights performance being her very first ever solo show, the event carried not just a heavy 90’s nostalgic quality for the fans donning All Saints t-shirts, but also extra special sentiment for the singer who would give a nod, wave or “hello, I recognise you” greeting to various members of the crowd throughout the evening which included musician Matt Cardle, fellow All Saint Melanie Blatt and the singers proud mother who watched over her daughter from the seated dining level of the venue.

The majority of the set was understandably dedicated to the singers upcoming album with 10 songs from the 12 track collection being offered as a teaser to Pages. Dressed sharply in a crisp black suit and donning giant hoop earrings, the singer emerged to a deafening applause from the small yet ecstatic crowd before showcasing her renowned songwriting talents on new album tracks Missiles and Kiss of Life which led into the first of a few All Saint’s moments as the singer swept beautifully through a pitch-perfect rendition of Black Coffee; much to the pleasing ears of fans that sang back the hit to Lewis at a deafening level in the small 450 capacity North London venue.

A single duet was added to the centre of the set with Shola Ama and General Levy joining the singer on stage for a gorgeous performance of token Pages collaboration, Good Mouring, showing off Lewis’ Ivor Novello award winning ability to pen a catchy hit – one of many spread over the course of the new record and set.

With help from two of the most captivating and vocally gifted backing singers that we have seen and heard in quite some time, Supposed To Be proved yet another memorable moment in the set as the singer delivered an upbeat, foot-tapping number that is soaked in single potential and showcased that Lewis is still on top form as both a skilled vocalist and refined songwriter.

While the singer might have started the show off looking a little nervous, you would never have known this a few numbers into the set, but perhaps it was a catchy singalong of early solo number, Never Felt Like This Before and All Saints hits where Lewis found familiar ground and former success and a validation that gave her a boost of confidence, so it was understandable that she be strategic in the placement of these as perhaps a way to catch a breath and some reassurance between selling the new album to fans. And those fans certainly gave Lewis any validation that she might have been looking for as she delivered a stellar performance of All Saints ballad Never Ever following a nod to Blatt, who was in attendance somewhere in the venue, watching her sister doing her thing on stage, while The Beach hit, Pure Shores sealed the cap on an absolutely incredible first-time live solo accomplishment for one of pop music’s most successful songwriters and shining stars.

Setlist:
Missiles
Kiss of Life
Black Coffee
Miracle
Hearts In Danger
Never Felt Like This Before
Got To Let Go
Tears To The Floor
Good Mourning
Never Ever
Supposed To Be
Pick You Up

Encore:
Bruises
Pure Shores