If there’s anyone young female singers should aspire to, it’s Judie Tzuke. She may be nearing 56 years of age; she might forget the lyrics occasionally; she might not even be that fashionable or have a plethora of hit songs behind her, either.
Still, the English singer-songwriter has just about everything any serious female singer worth her salt should have: a broad-ranging singing voice, graciousness, sex- appeal and an ability to explore other styles without fear of alienating her audience.
Sadly, very few people were in attendance to hear Tzuke’s smooth-as-silk voice at the Queen’s Hall last night. Perhaps it was the £24 ticket price that put them off? Whatever the case, those who did turn up hung on her every word as if clinging onto the edge of a cliff.
Dressed all in black, her blonde locks blow-dried in a typical 1980s style, there’s little fuss about Tzuke’s performance. Well-mannered and polite, she blasts through the songs in an effort to ensure everyone gets to hear the tunes they like the most.
Backed by a young, finely-honed band, and with her daughter, Bailey, on backing vocals (squint your eyes and she looks just like her mum did in the 80s), Tzuke also manages to explore the entire gamut of her career without it sounding like some bizarre genre-hurdling pile-up.
From new-wave (How Sweet It Is) to melancholic moodiness (If), from frozen prayers with just a haunting piano melody for accompaniment (‘Till It’s Over), to wacked out jazz-fusion (Living On The Coast) – all that was missing was some dry-ice and the soft focus.
Tzuke’s greatest asset, though, is reminding you of every heartbreak you’ve ever endured, albeit looking back with fondness rather than bitterness. And it’s evident she’s influenced the more modern, down-tempo grooves you might find on a Zero 7 or Groove Armada album, too. No, seriously.
Such effortlessly-sounding singing, however, requires exertion.
Appearing a little out of breath after each number, she always kept some water close at hand, and apologised for having to read her lyrics from a music-stand.