Music Preview: Familiar voice on the airwaves returns to the Greystones

Nell BrydenNell Bryden
Nell Bryden
It’s no big surprise that New Yorker Nell Bryden has found a welcoming home on Radio 2.

The singer-songwriter’s engaging and heartfelt style has resulted in 21 consecutive play-listed singles on the station, which is good going for household names. In addition, she has played Ken Bruce’s Radio 2 Piano Room with the BBC Concert Orchestra and also made her mark as a presenter.

A familiar voice on the airwaves then, but relentless touring in the UK and much further afield has also raised her profile as a writer and performer.

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As well as supporting the likes of Gary Barlow and Jools Holland, Nell has been busy headlining hundreds of shows in her own right, including fairly regular dates at the Greystones. She returns to Sheffield 11 on Thursday June 22.

Local music promoter Chris Wilson describes her as “one of the most hardworking artists I know.

“I've been gigging with Nell for a good few years,” he says. “She has real star quality and I still get shivers down my back when I see her live.”

The songs are easy on the ear, rooted largely in the mainstream but occasionally tipping over into fields such as country or jazz. The voice is smooth yet pleasingly soulful. If vocal comparisons are required, think in terms of somebody like Annie Lennox. Nell’s backstory shows her growing up in a bohemian artist’s loft in Brooklyn, the daughter of a classical soprano mother and an oil painter father. She played the folk clubs of Boston before unsuccessfully trying to make it back in New York.

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So she established a base in London, touring Europe extensively, playing more than 250 shows a year.

Although she gained British citizenship, she has returned to New York where her reflections of 9/11, ten years later, inspired one of her best known songs, Sirens, which was covered by Cher.

Nell’s debut album was recorded 14 years ago on her own label. Now the tally is seven studio albums, as well as The Collection in 2020, an anthology of her 21 radio singles. The latest UK tour follows the release of last year’s album, Arms Around The Flame, and an EP just released called Believe Again.

The Sheffield date has support from compatriot Rachael Sage, an ‘alt-pop artist and multi-instrumentalist’.

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