Matt Henshaw Recommends … Esther Van Leuven

Here we go, 2014, new year, new recommendations and loads of Love to spread. As promised I’m going to be bringing you the best of the best when it comes to female vocalists over the coming weeks. I’m limiting myself to the East Midlands because I’m a proud(ish) East Midlander, and in my short tether as a singer-songwriter I’ve played with and enjoyed the company of so many of these girls it’s such a joy and so refreshing coming from the alpha male dominated world of indie, blues and hip-hop.

Esther, I met mid-way through 2013 when we shared a bill at The Bodega Social Club in Nottingham and we’ve met a few times since – me, in my infinite bumblingness forgot her name on the first couple of occasions, yeah, that’s right, two whole times – but I’ve never forgotten her face or her voice. And it was pleasure to share the stage with her for a second time last night at Pepper Rocks. My word, what a star!

Demure and continental, Esther packs a little folk, soul, Balkan and a real range and timbre into her voice. She reminds me of a true starlet, that doesn’t realise the profundity of her essence, in a room or on stage, carrying herself as she does like a Joan Baez or Melanie type girl with dashing of Sandie Shaw and Mary Hopkins for pop clarity.

I know you might be thinking they’re not particularly au fait points of reference or, Matt Henshaw seeing the world through his 60s tinted spectacles, but I’d be hard pushed to find anyone of the current crop who has the adorable grace of our Esther and the understated charm with which she carries herself, this one’s not pushing to be a star, the world is just waiting for her to become one … listen for yourselves …

And here’s me sharing a little Love and a little Soul …

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