Last Tuesday night, West London singer-songwriter, Rukhsana Merrise, played a heart felt stripped back set at Omeara which hinted at the promise of her upcoming project and shone a light on what is set to be a bright future for the unique artist.

Rukhsana Merrise’s songs of love, heart break and everything in between filled the gently grand and ever intimate space at Omeara perfectly creating an energy which felt just right on the night before Valentines Day.

Merrise has been on the scene for a while now, her extremely gifted ability to weave humour, heart and honesty into her music is something we’ve known about for years but, during last weeks live show, something infinitely more abstract became hella obvious: Merisse has real authentic presence.

“Merrise is the singer-songwriter so many have been waiting for.”

Equipped with the rare ability to fill a space but somehow make each person in the room feel they’re being individually spoken to, Merrise is the singer-songwriter so many have been waiting for. The audience listened keenly to the teasers of new material and responded warmly to the songs already held dear. ‘Sober’ was particular crowd pleaser.

Where other artists would struggle to be so deeply stripped back and still hold their audience’s attention, Merisse has us all mesmerised and onboard. This is perhaps to do with the quality of her voice, which surprises with how much it doesn’t actually neatly tick a genre box – sometimes soulful, sometimes country but always powerful and always captivating. It’s also something to do with her – and yes this term gets bandied around way too much but this time it’s apt – effortless delivery. She was mostly still with only the occasional flutter of finger tips, which offered flashes of excellent fluoro pink throughout the night, before being dipped back into the pockets of her big warm coat. It’s not that she’s shy in the limelight, rather that she doesn’t need to play it’s game – she’s doing it her way and that’s lovely & very very refreshing to watch.