I really didn't know what to make of Rebecca Ferguson's debut album when it was released late last year. There was no denying the magnificence of her husky voice but I thought the 2010 X Factor runner-up didn't quite have the material to do her vocal prowess justice. But Heaven has grown on me a lot since then and, after seeing the 25-year-old belt out half the album at the Beresford last night, the penny finally dropped. Rebecca is a superstar. I still think she could do with better material but this girl has something in spades that Leona Lewis and the other pretenders lack. Soul.
After a passionate introduction from Sony head-honcho Denis Handlin, the seductress that corrupted a fifth of One Direction took the stage with her impressive four-piece band. "Glitter & Gold", one of the stand-out tracks on her album, sounded even better live. Rebecca's voice oozed emotion as she made her way through the bittersweet lyrics. This has to be a future single! Next up was "Too Good To Lose" (above), which recently stiffed at #186 on the UK charts. Bec's performance was flawless but this is probably the worst song on Heaven. What were they thinking?
After that came "Shoulder To Shoulder", which is easily my favourite cut from the album. The glamorous mother-of-two gave me chills with her smoky vocals and heartfelt lyrics. Anyone who dismisses Rebecca as another Mother's Day artist needs to download this anthem and take a seat. "Nothing's Real But Love" is just as lovely live as it is on record. I'm so happy to see the song leaping up Australian iTunes. The down-to-earth diva - her casual banter between numbers was adorable - then closed the showcase with "Teach Me How To Be Loved", which she described as the most personal track on Heaven. It's a little gem and showcases Rebecca's potential as a songwriter. I love the sentiment and she injects it with so much heartache. Don't be put off by the X Factor tag. This woman is the real deal.