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Rose amid the thorns

PUBLISHED: 15:35 23 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:32 24 August 2010

Magical: Louisa Rose

Magical: Louisa Rose

by Andy McCorkell She shows you where to look among the garbage and the flowers, Nina Simone once sang in an evocative allegory about the beauty to be found in all things. And while one would certainly not describe all else in Kilburn H

by Andy McCorkell

'She shows you where to look among the garbage and the flowers,' Nina Simone once sang in an evocative allegory about the beauty to be found in all things.

And while one would certainly not describe all else in Kilburn High Road as anything less than worthy, discovering a gifted talent as rare as Louisa Rose, 19, from Bethnal Green, at an open mic at Powers Bar is just enough to put the spring back into the area's music scene.

Her loose, jazzy and naturally soulful vocals held the room as soon as she uttered the first lyric of the song, and for a few moments time seemed to stand still as she silenced the crowd with a few photons of musical magic.

It's easy to visualise Louisa pulling off her own splendid rendition of Leonard Cohen's Suzanne that the late Simone seemed to immortalise. But at her most recent gig, Louisa left the audience breathless as she crooned the first line in a cover of Adele's Crazy For You - she chose the song because it's a familiar tune on the guitar.

A few days later when we talk, the gifted singer describes how she's been inspired by the greats, which is a refreshing aside as she may yet become one.

She said: "I have always listened to a lot of jazz and singers like Billie Holiday. My style of singing just comes from a bit of everyone.

"I love Nina Simone and the depth and texture of her voice. I am kind of drawn to strong women.

"I also love Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. Pattie Smith is my queen, she is my muse. She's such a strong woman and she is not afraid to say what she wants. I love who she is because she is like no-one else."

As a child Louisa loved to watch musicals and during family dinners would jump on to the table and start singing, so becoming a bone fide musician seems like an obvious progression.

"I would start blurting out The Little Mermaid," she said.

What's particularly refreshing about Louisa is that despite her soaring talent, she remains humble and dismissive of any prospect of fame and fortune.

She said: "I know I will always play music. It will always be me. Whether it's working around music or even if I make it big. I love that with music you can cheer people up and change their mood.

"The fact you can touch people is magical. It's crazy. But I would be happy busking and I have before. We only got a lolly and 4p so we bought another lolly with the money.

"I enjoyed that lolly a lot."

Louisa faces her first big challenge in front of the A&R scouts at a Warner open mic at 7.30pm at the Luminaire, in Kilburn High Road on April 29.

Louisa Rose Allen is a vocal higher diploma student at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (www.icmp.uk.com) in Dyne Road, Kilburn.

andrew.mccorkell@archant.co.uk


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