R&B/Soul singer Jazmine Sullivan made a triumphant return last night at KOKO in Camden, London, marking her first comeback performance anywhere since her announced hiatus from the music industry back in 2011.
In 2008, Jazmine released her debut album titled Fearless which featured the hit singles 'Need U Bad', 'Lions, Tigers & Bears' and 'Bust Your Windows' and earned her seven Grammy nominations and went on to sell more than 517,000 copies in the US.
Her second album Love Me Back was released in 2010 but did not reach the same commercial success as her debut and received minimal promotion as well as seemingly disappointing sales.
Last night Jazmine hit the stage in a figure hugging black dress to an overwhelming response from the audience who had been anticipating her arrival all night - and Jazmine could not believe the reception she was receiving at the sold out show.
Jazmine vocally excelled through her signature songs taken from her debut album, 'Bust Your Windows' and 'Lions, Tigers & Bears' and demonstrated her skilled and well trained vocal ability to an exceptional standard and the crowd reacted (myself included) in amazement at how well she sang with conviction and pure emotion.
I noticed that her riffs and runs were very reminiscent of the intricate stylings of Brandy and Beyonce and I also heard a little bit of Lauryn Hill in the way she delivered her live vocals. Jazmine has an awesome tone and the soulfulness is what sets her apart from her contemporaries.
The star then confirmed to that audience that she is in fact working on her third studio album and she will put it out as soon as it's ready and opened up on a number of issues that lead to her career break including battling the pressures to conform to beauty standards in the industry, tackling her own insecurities and being involved in an abusive relationship.
She went on to say that with a lot of prayer and inner strength she was able to overcome her struggles and it helped her reignite her love for her profession, proceeding to break down slightly and I thought her speech added a really nice human element to the show. It also opened up my perspective to the fact that famous people go through the same issues as regular people; in some cases it can be worse because all of their personal problems are magnified x10 under the public eye.
Jazmine then went on to preview a new song taken from the writing sessions of her upcoming album titled 'Mona Lisa (Masterpiece)' which spoke about her personal insecurities and finally discovering her self worth and inner beauty. The song includes the lyric ''every part of me is beautiful, I'm a work of art'' and I'm sure it will receive a positive reception from fans and critics due to its healing and releteable nature.
Towards the end of the show she switched up the tempo and performed the hip-hop influenced fan favourite from her second album 'Holding You Down (Going in Circles)' and even added in some light hip-hop choreography and finished the show with a reggaeton version of her debut single 'Need U Bad'.
Considering the fact that Jazmine is not a mainstream artist, she had a room full of fans that seemed to know the lyrics to all of her songs which came as a shock to the singer at times during her performance.
You know how sometimes an artist only sounds good on CD and terrible live? Jazmine sounds incredible on both and seeing her live opened my eyes and ears as to how talented she truly is, especially due to the fact that she has a great ear and skill when it comes to vocal arrangements. I really enjoyed hearing the different things she can do with her voice.
I'm really hoping she sees some success with her upcoming project, it would be great to see a talent like Jazmine's stick around because I feel like music is missing a certain rawness and soul that she possess. Regardless of the outcome of her future project(s) she put on a stellar show and came back in a major way, welcome back Miss Sullivan.
Carl Neufville is a music enthusiast who is a lover of reading, '90s fashion and television. A former graphic designer (who never quite mastered Photoshop) is now steering his career towards being a budding author and journalist. He also firmly believes that 'Everything happens for a reason' is probably one of the best mantras that he's ever heard and that's probably why he writes now. Follow him on Twitter!