As the lights dim, melancholy melodies flow smoothly from the cello before Laura Doggett takes to the stage at XOYO – appearing as if by magic in a cloud of natural ethereal beauty and celestial sparkle. Immediately drawing in the crowd with the stirring melodies and emotion strewn crescendos of ‘Phoenix’, Doggett instantly commands attention with her incredible vocal range and subtle hypnotic power.
One of Gigslutz’s ‘Ones To Watch’ for 2015, I knew I was in for a treat coming to see Laura Doggett, but within seconds it becomes clear that live really is where she shines brightest; in her presence, you can completely grasp the full force of her remarkable talent and captivating allure. As each song oozes from the stage with heart-rending power, Doggett reveals just what an engrossing and utterly unique performer she is. As overwhelmingly soulful, spellbinding vocals are delivered, she moves around the stage with an expressive grace – her delicate hand gestures and impassioned movements create so much more than just an incredible vocal performance. It’s intense, it’s dramatic: Laura Doggett melds into her music and becomes the protagonists of the songs she has written, for all to see.
Strewn amid this intensity of beautiful ballads such as ‘End Of The Road’ and ‘Part Time Friends’, are glimpses of the person underneath the exquisite performer: an endearingly modest young woman, with bundles of youthful charm, a contagious giggle and a whole lot of love and gratitude for being here – drawing attention to a neon sign that reads ‘I feel love’, Doggett beams, confiding “I feel so much love in here tonight”. Whilst a contrast to the haunting power of the songs she creates, Doggett’s gleaming charm and palpable enthusiasm only add to what a wonder she is to behold.
“This was the Broadchurch song – I’m sorry if I ruined your dinner with my singing!” – far from it, Laura. ‘Old Faces’ is my highlight of the night. With moving delicacy and breathtaking emotive power, Doggett literally sends shivers down my spine. As she sings with heart-rending conviction “I’m just trying to find a way to block it out”, my body starts to tingle with goosebumps (and no, it’s not because of the rather overbearing air-con vent I’m standing underneath…) and I’m utterly spellbound.
Each song flows with delicate splendour, from tracks taken from Doggett’s latest EP, such as ‘Beautiful Undone’ and ‘Into The Glass’ to last year’s success, ‘Moonshine’. And we’re even treated to a duet with support act, Alice Jemima: ‘Night Girl’ perfectly juxtaposes the two vocalists, as Jemima’s sweet, effeminate tone sits alongside the potent force of Doggett’s rich vocal.
So, it seems that we were right to predict that Laura Doggett was headed for big things this year; she most certainly succeeded in sweeping me off my feet last night. She is a captivating performer and a truly unique talent; a bright star set to outshine all others.
Doggett’s latest EP, Into The Glass is out now. Look out for the Gigslutz verdict tomorrow.