Ezza Brianna at Rugby Music FestivalReview
Sadly we don't feature too many live reviews from Rugby (if anyone based over that way would like to cover their thriving scene, please let us know) but I'm pleased that I caught "Rugby's Got Talent" winner 2022 (and featured "Hot Music Live Presents" artist: check out "Disperse" on HMLP Volume 7) Ezza Brianna performing at the 2022 Rugby Music Festival in Caldecott Park: my first experience of her as a live act and indeed her own debut full gig.
High as my expectations were from her records, she soared beyond them: if you think her voice is great on the tracks you've heard, it's even more powerful in real life: goodness only knows what it must sound like inside with the level of acoustics a park cannot provide.
Fuelled a little I think by prior nerves, you simply could not tell she had any from her performance which was so assured with notes hit perfectly on what were some fairly challenging numbers. What I particularly appreciated was that unlike others blessed with exceptional vocal talent (her phrasing is pretty unique and a major part of her appeal), Ezza did no grandstanding nor indulged in vocal gymnastics to show off: for her, as with all tasteful singers, it was about delivering the songs truthfully. No doubt her mentoring by Gemma Leahy played a part in this maturity of approach, but it's clearly one she is committed to.
Inevitably given the early stages of her career, covers were part of the set, but when you are capable of writing original material such as single "Wouldn't Wanna Be Ya" or the Bond styled "Live For Today" which won her the competition, two songs alone send all the right signals about her writing talent & were high spots of the set.
Ezza switched it around in terms of arrangement: though an accomplished pianist & guitarist, she focused on singing with Duncan Arrow providing those two instruments as required, local legend Andi Wolf joined in on cajon for some tracks & Amie Boyd provided backing vocals from time to time too: demonstrating amongst the changes how confident Ezza is with anything from the intimacy & exposure of a single instrument to something much fuller: approaching a full band.
The Festival was compered by BBC Coventry & Warwickshire's Dan Sambell who had performed the same role at the contest & who clearly is long since won over as a fan. The large audience seemed to be also & I am sure Ezza has a very bright future opening up before as I write.
It's been quite a coincidence that after championing their records in the magazine, I caught the live debut gigs for both Ivy Ash & Ezza Brianna within a couple of weeks (and catching debut gigs is pretty rare in itself) & feel privileged to have been there at the outset of what deserve to be successful careers for two such different yet equally talented musicians.