It’s difficult to know where to start with Zoe. I first noticed her on YouTube and was knocked out by her absolutely nerve free performances, not to mention her sublimely ‘current’ voice. A few weeks on and I have her recently released debut EP in my CD player.
I compared her to a young Adele in my initial post but upon reflection I withdraw that comment. The ‘heart on the sleeves’ lyrics and super confident live performances may have much in common with Adele’s early gigs, but Adele was 18 when I first saw her perform. Four years extra maturity is a big advantage in that it brings a lot more life experience to your song writing, (not to mention the training and grooming at the Brit School). Adele had to compete with and compare herself to the cream of wannabees in her peer group (including Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, the Kooks etc. etc.). It would be nice to think that Wigtown provides similar challenges for Zoe, but I think that somewhat unlikely and that local ‘folk’ performers and YouTube have been a more likely source of reference.
So, what do we get from 14 year old Zoe on her first professional recording? In my view, a refreshingly uncomplicated, sometimes wry, sometimes witty bunch of songs beautifully performed and presented. Hats off to Zoe for valuing her perfect pitch and youthful tone over the seemingly endless runs and inability to sing a straight note of many of her contemporaries. Zoe has a beautifully direct voice and if comparisons are in order she would be better compared with the likes of an Unthank or Rusby than most of the current crop of pop princesses.
Zoe is a lucky girl to have found a producer/engineer with the skills and sensitivity of Huey Dowling. He has done a wonderful job of keeping things simple and his respect for Zoe’s talent is evident in his light handed approach.
Zoe is clearly one to watch and I look forward to hearing much more from her in the future.