Rising London-based singer-songwriter Freya Ridings continues momentum in Nottingham with another sold-out show laced with haunting beauty
Since graduating from the legendary BRIT school, the journey of London based, English singer-songwriter Freya Ridings has been a lengthy one to say the least. Over the past few years, Ridings has refrained from the limelight, opting to quietly hone away at her skills as an artist. Between May 2017 and today, the 24-year old has released four singles and two innately delicate live albums, alongside support slots for Tears for Fears, Tash Sultana and Lewis Capaldi.
Whilst “Ultraviolet” is Ridings’ most recent release, it is 2017 single “Lost Without You” that received critical acclaim, acclaim that wasn’t initially received until appearing on reality TV giant Love Island earlier this year. Since then, Ridings’ popularity has soared to unexpected heights. She’s been heavily promoted by the likes of Zane Lowe on Apple Music and Scott Mills on Radio 1, and consequently “Lost Without You” shot into the UK Top 10, causing tickets for her current tour to sell out almost immediately. The rich tone of her vocals is set on a dark bed of instrumentation, and following a sold-out performance at the legendary 2,000 capacity o2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, Ridings comes to Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms for yet another sell-out show.
Taking to the stage in a flowing white dress, Ridings opens her set with the teasing “Love Is Fire”, a track which matches The xx’s vibrant guitar pattern with haunting vocals reminiscent to London Grammar’s Hannah Reid. The rousing opener sets the tone for the night, and as “Signals” highlights the delicate style of Ridings’ piano technique, “You Mean The World To Me” is a work of sheer beauty. In a packed crowd, you could probably hear a pin drop, and that was down to the London singer-songwriter’s ability to fixate a crowd on the pureness of her vocals.
As the set moves on, the introduction of the percussion section adds a much-needed bite to Ridings’ performance. Drums cascade through the majority of the second half of the set, which also features heavy crowd participation and the odd dose of cello. “Castles” is a bona fide pop success, charming the crowd and treating them with a completely new side to Ridings’ repertoire. It’s been a while since Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms was not just so busy, but also so diverse as a crowd. An eclectic mix of generations make up today’s audience which exemplifies Freya Ridings’ ability to draw in new listeners. Her delicate cover of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ seminal track “Maps” is a joy to hear and perhaps the highlight of the night.
Beginning the encore with her Top 10 hit “Lost Without You”, the crowd are completely won over. There’s no doubt about the fact that this was the single that people were there to here, but even then, the live performance of it is deeply enriched with emotion and entrances the audience unlike any other track in the set. Ending with latest single “Ultraviolet”, Freya Ridings has managed to pull off something surprisingly unexpected. For someone with a back catalogue of beautifully intricate ballads, she has shown yet another crowd that she possesses the ability to perform, and in that sense, has highlighted her ability to develop into a very successful artist over the next few years. Her live shows demonstrate another element to Ridings as an artist and with more sold out shows in the future, the thought of a debut studio album is a tantalising prospect.