Fatai is one of the few artists who manage to make the show about the audience, and not about herself. We went to see her live at the Borderline.
“Hey, hey, listen to me. London, I love you. Genuinely. I’m not saying it because it’s the script. It’s not a concert, it’s a conversation. I wanna hear you.”
Fatai lifts the audience as much as they cheer her up. She takes your hand and walks you through a journey of self-acceptance, exploring what makes us human. Which is, after all, really simple – imperfections. Fears. Insecurities. She’s up there telling us about her experience and the challenging journey towards growth.
That’s what ‘Naked’ is all about, the tale of looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing something that doesn’t look right, if not horribly wrong. She opens herself up fully, it’s so easy to feel instantly close to her; especially when she sits on the floor and looks at someone in the audience to sing to.
She does it in the most easy going way possible, with her Adidas tracksuit and her hand in the pocket, a disarming smile, cutting through the air with her powerful voice.
“Her soaring tones contrast with the delicate strings of the guitar, creating a sense of intimacy, as if she is singing from her bedroom.”
Ah, yeah, she also has an impressive musical talent. That’s what brought her to fame in the first place, as a semi-finalist of The Voice Australia in 2012, before pursuing a career as an independent artist.
Her soaring tones contrast with the delicate strings of the guitar, creating a sense of intimacy, as if she is singing from her bedroom.
“Music has a pivotal role in healing. I wanna hold you in whatever you’re going through. The next three minutes are my gift to you,” she says, before singing ‘Slow It Down’.
The upbeat guitar strings gradually slow down as she sings about the frantic life of today’s society. She slowly builds it up until she sings “breath in this moment”, and it feels the time has frozen, everyone is hanging off Fatai’s words, eyes peeled on her, until she gracefully moves on with her beaming smile.
She describes ‘Human’, her favourite track, as her legacy to her children and the children of her children. A hymn on self-forgiveness, even more powerful when she messes up with the words, smiles, and starts again. The depth of her voice sheds a few tears in the room.
At the end of the night, she gives the mic to those few who feel like singing something back to her, and she asks everyone a word to express their feelings in that moment. Joyful, beautiful, wholesome.
Fatai is an incredibly talented songwriter, one who’s not afraid of giving all of themselves and making live music an intimate experience. We are lucky she chose to have a conversation with us in this London basement, considering her voice could fill a stadium. And there’s no doubt she could get there as well, if she wanted to.