Mica Sefia, The Wardrobe

Let’s break a habit and start with a bold opening statement: Mica Sefia will go far. Very far.

When you talk about music having soul, the singer epitomised that notion. And with her full band (comprising two guitars, a bass, a trumpet, a saxophone, keys, two backing singers and a drum kit) at her side, it was an absolutely spellbinding set last Saturday* from seconds in.

Mica Sefia, The Wardrobe, 25/3/23

The first support was Kaesu, a rap artist boasting overwhelming similarities to Loyle Carner. With crowd-pleasing tunes utilising an accompanying female vocalist, bassist, sampling techniques and a deft DJ on the decks, there was talent in spades. And even a poem to switch up the pace.

Kaesu, The Wardrobe, 25/3/23

The Wardrobe swelled once more as Lois took to the stage. Her honey-like vocals were lapped up by everyone in the room, but I became further gripped by eye-wateringly fantastic guitar solos — unexpected but welcomed features of Lois’ pop songs. Through spot-on keys and tight drumming, the ‘Strange Men’ and ‘Twist in the Wind’ singer was complemented expertly by her band — full credit to them, because the synergy was epic. Lois’ energy set the mood fabulously, and she was a class act.

Lois, The Wardrobe, 25/3/23

The night was alternative soul singer Mica Sefia’s. While she hails from Liverpool, she’s very much centred musically in Leeds — and it showed. The venue was bursting at the seams with eager fans, friends and family members, who had turned out in their masses.

The atmosphere was electric and the clapping almost didn’t stop, as Mica’s harmonies and transitions revealed her range and effortless versatility. If ever there was a natural-born vocalist, it was her. And having read through her press bio for her just-dropped single, ‘Blame’, it was no wonder it cited influences including Jennifer Hudson and Alabama Shakes.

Mica Sefia, The Wardrobe, 25/3/23

Throughout, you had to challenge yourself not to get goosebumps; a tall order indeed. After a setlist which navigated ballads old and new, Mica ended smartly with ‘Blame’, then emerged for a quick encore of the absolutely gigantic, bass-rumbling ‘Running’. Wow. That was the reference point for how modern, funk-fused soul should be delivered to generations of wanting listeners.

*With thanks to Mica Sefia for the guestlist entry.

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