Freya Ridings : U Street Music Hall

[dropcap size=big]F[/dropcap]risson (French for “shiver”), is the sudden strong feeling of excitement most often associated with a strong emotional response. It’s the shiver and goosebumps you get when hearing a powerful or moving piece of music, viewing a striking piece of art, a breathtaking landscape, or combining multiple senses at once in a larger emotional experience. In this modern age of overproduction, auto-tune, and digital manipulation it’s all too easy to lose the emotional power of a voice in the chaos. Sometimes it only takes the simplest of setups to filter all that “noise” out and remind you just how powerful that connection with a voice really is. 23 year old London native Freya Ridings has one such voice. Opening for Ella Vos on the Words I Never Said tour, Freya started off her U.S. tour at the U Street Music Hall, in Washington, D.C. Her voice and a keyboard were the only instruments she needed to completely captivate the audience. Normally opening performers have to fight for the attention of the audience, often barely being heard over the murmur of conversation and ambient noise of those arriving late or hanging out at the bar.

“If you’d have just let me in
Who knows what could have been
They tell me to forget but I don’t want to
Your face is all I seem to see
How can I blackout you?”

Starting her set with the emotional ballad “Blackout,” Freya’s soulful voice washed over the crowd instantly grabbing their complete attention. Freya’s quiet power continued through her 30 minute set, with songs like “You Mean The World To Me” and her moving cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hit song “Maps.” With lyrics about love, longing, joy, and loss, it’s hard not to be moved on a deeply personal level by Freya’s honest song writing and beautiful sound. For those who had never heard her music before, it wasn’t until her final ballad “Lost Without You,” that the power of her voice was revealed. Coming down from the final chorus, the night ended with the heart wrenching and all too real outro:

“Standing on the platform
Watching you go
You said I wanna see the world
And I said go…”

The crowd exploded into applause. I have no doubt that Freya will be one to watch in the near future. Freya will be on a short solo European tour then back in the UK supporting Ray Lamontagne.

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CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.

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