I’ve been blogging about Rachel Furner for about a year now, but last night was the first time I had seen her perform live. It was a great opportunity to see what it was about Rachel which had led Mercury to make this new signing a priority artist for the year ahead. I’d already enjoyed the clips of her music on MySpace, and I was especially impressed by her cover of La Roux’s In For The Kill – a big achievement since I hate the original! However, it was seeing her live performance which made everything fall into place regarding Rachel. This is one of those rare occasions (particularly with female singers) where an artist has been signed genuinely because of her talent as a singer and songwriter.
Much will undoubtely be made of 17-year-old Rachel’s maturity for her years, and from my perspective this goes both for and against her. It’s always exciting to discover a teenager with such talent, but this can often lead to young girls singing about subjects too old for them, and in a style which their peers wouldn’t relate to. Mercury need to be careful not to turn Rachel into a teenage Lucie Silvas/Nerina Pallot type, and luckily the sense of fun and energy in tracks such as Follow Me and Loving It keep Rachel’s sound young. Still, I’m not sure these songs would be at home on the Radio 1 playlist – they are a little more Radio 2.
If Rachel is positioned as a more mainstream, softer version of Marina and the Diamonds, she could appeal to the cooler teen audience, but maybe she doesn’t even need that. If Pixie is a role model for the popular girls, Daisy Dares You for the cool girls, then Rachel is there for the nice sweet girls who’d rather curl up with a good book than spend their spare time shopping or drinking. Those girls will love Rachel for her fun moments as much as the more angsty ones. She’ll also certainly win over fans of all ages for her fantastic vocals. As a little taster, here’s a video of one of my favourite tracks from last night, Human Nature, and a behind the scenes video where you can hear the excellent future single, No Logic in Love.