Caroline Esmeralda van der Leeuw, better known by her stage name Caro Emerald, is a relative newcomer on the music scene having first become a sensation on Dutch TV in 2008. Along with her eight piece band she performed at the Ipswich Regent on Monday 23rd September as part of her sell out UK tour.
Like many talented musicians, getting known is the key to a successful career in the strange industry that is music. Getting that first break is often down to a chance meeting, a casual conversation or in Ms Emerald’s case being second choice to do the vocals on Vince Degiorgio’s song “Back It Up”.
The success and public reaction to that song led Caro and her producers to look at record deals. They couldn’t find anything they liked so decided to do it themselves and thus was born Grandmono the company run by Ms Emerald and her production team which produces her records and stage shows.
Therein lies the secret to the Caro Emerald show – it is not manufactured by a major corporation, it is lovingly create by the lady herself and the team she has built around her.
The show starts slowly, Caro Emerald seeming to relax by the time she got to the haunting “Black Valentine”. Despite having been on the road with the show for two weeks it was almost as if she wanted to make sure everything was perfect for the audience.
The tempo and mood changed as she launched into “Liquid Lunch” sung for guests she had met back stage earlier. “My 2 Cents” is written about guitarist Wieger Hoogendorp: “Well ladies, a lot of you come to see Weiger because he is such a good… guitarist.” Which, by the way, he is – be it his flamenco style on the acoustic instrument, his rock-a-billy electric or even his stint on percussion.
“I Belong to You” is Caro’s unabashed audition piece for the next James Bond theme, even without her introduction or the 007-esque background graphics there was a definite hint of Shirley Bassey here – if the makers of next James Bond movie are looking for a theme and a singer, look no further.
The show soon had the audience on their feet dancing – a challenge at the all seated venue but not so much of a problem to bother security unduly. The show featured all the audience favourites such as “Coming Back as a Man”, “Excuse My French” and “Tangled Up” among others finishing up with the encore “That Man”.
Then we were treated to something special, for the first time in the show Caro took centre stage with her band firmly in the background. “This is a song newly learned for this tour. It is not a new song, it has been recorded by many great artists…” You could hear a pin drop as another great artist’s performed “Ne Me Quite Pas” (If You Go Away) the French verses of which somehow sounding far more passionate.
This show is a unique jazz meal seasoned with hip-hop, rock-a-billy and pop with a hint of New Orleans and fun blended perfectly by a talented team who present their show effortlessly led by a lady who obviously loves her music.
You can download a free EP consisting of six acoustic tracks from http://www.caroemerald.com/free-ep/
Our thanks to the UK tour promoters, Republic Media for allowing Grapevine access to the show and to the ever pleasant & helpful staff at the Regent Theatre.