By that definition then, unsigned Londoner Rosie Sleightholme makes some very pretty music; rich and mesmerising in the varied timbre of piano, guitar, bass, 'cello and violin (the latter played, I am told, upside down in the same style as a 'cello). I suppose the idea of 'fragility' is a bit debatable here though, because her voice at once conveys that underlying ethereal tenderness, while at the same time showcasing some incredibly powerful and unwavering vocals, striking pitch-perfect notes both high and low with a wonderful fluidity that recalls (a British) Joni Mitchell.
Speaking of Mitchell, there's very much a captivating contrast between the old and the new in Sleightholme's intricately woven songs. While there is certainly something a bit old-fashioned about her folkish tunes, there's also often an unusual modern twist on them, with handclaps and electric drumbeats lending something a bit fragmented and jaunty to her sound. Indeed, she's comparable to more contemporary songstresses too; both Florence and Regina come to mind at their more stripped-down, melodic moments.
'Valentine' is one of my favourites, abundant with flowing piano and interweaving string parts, with the simple yet undeniably beautiful and evocative refrain of "you make me feel alive". The honesty and sincerity on display should perhaps be mawkish or embarrassing, but instead it's just very touching and calming; traits which are in fact true of all of Sleightholme's songs thus far.
MP3: 'Valentine' - Rosie Sleightholme
You need to give her a listen, so go to her SoundCloud and enjoy some of her tracks from her self-recorded EP, 'Full Circle'. I can only imagine she'd be brilliant live - a judgement backed up wholeheartedly by her YouTube page - and she's got lots of gigs coming up which are listed on her page, so go and see her too.
Looking forward to hearing more of these stunning, pretty songs.
Photo credit: Lucy Grace Norris