It is no wonder Eliza Doolittle is so inclined to music, when you see who her family members are. Not many singers can boast of having such an accomplished family background – her father John Caird is a director of stage plays as well as an honorary associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company whilst her mother Frances Ruffelle, is a theatre actress, model artist and winner of the prestigious Tony Award. Her grandmother, Sylvia Young, is the founder of Britain’s most famous theatre school which led the singer to have early exposure to the spotlight, with a role in a London Les Miserables production in the late nineties.
Having been compared to Lily Allen and Kate Nash in sound, the singer made her own mark with her 2010 debut album Eliza Doolittle going platinum. Three years later and after reintroducing herself to the commercial scene via the Disclosure hit record “You and Me”, Eliza Doolittle’s brand new sophomore album In Your Hands is expected to be a much more mature sound than her previous effort, according to the singer, with Jazz influences and Synth compositions heavily in use and forming the sonic canvases for tales of happiness, heartbreak and self-discovery.
The album’s lead single “Big When I Was Little” is a catchy feel good track, all about reminiscing on days gone by and being nostalgic for the pleasure of decades gone. Lush trumpet arrangements give the song its funkiness while Eliza’s raspy voice hooks her listener in, and also makes them want to sing along on the memorably infectious chorus. Many of her listeners will be able to relate to the references made including the musical ones in her lyrics such as, “like Nirvana and Lauryn Hill, they were big when I was little” and this song proved to be an instant hit earlier in the year when it debuted in the UK Top 20 singles chart.
“Big When I Was Little”:
The second single from the album, “Let It Rain” on the other hand, reflects on the highs and lows of breaking up and how one feels after it. Eliza gives those feelings a compelling voice on this record with lyrics like “I found my way with bad directions. I’ve done my best, and I learned my lessons“, showing the journey the individual has taken to become stronger. This song cleverly displays her vocal variety and nuances while trying to stir the emotions of her listeners with moving chords and a theatrical sound bed at the beginning accompanied with piano arrangements.
“Let It Rain”:
“Waste of Time” is the most stripped back musically of the threes singles on show today with melodic grand piano playing, lush hand claps, Eliza’s glorious voice and harmonious back-up vocals. It is pleasant to listen to and you will even catch yourself singing along to the rhythmic lines sung in the chorus, “what a waste of time, precious little time, but I’ll waste some of yours babe, if you waste some of mine”. The distinct quality of this song is that it is as if you have heard this song before, which gives it the feeling of familiarity that many of her listeners will appreciate. The piano arrangements are soothing against her vocals and a great companion in the song.
“Waste Of Time”:
Other tracks worth checking out on the In Your Hands album include “Don’t Call It Love” which explores more of the topic of heartbreak, while “Euston Road” and “No Man Can” continue around the themes of the happiness of a relationship before it turns sour. Eliza Doolittle’s second album definitely shows the singer to have more substance in her material and a more developed sound since her debut, and it can only get better for her from here. We can safely say that her attempts to give a more mature sound on her sophomore album were successful, as events in her personal life ensured that the material had authenticity to it and would not be doubtfully received in its sincerity. As she continues to grow as an artist and a woman, there is no question that her material will become more distinctly her.
Having just come off an extended UK Summer tour, Eliza Doolittle still has a couple live dates scheduled for November so while you are out picking up your Eliza Doolittle tickets this month, make sure you get your hands on tickets to catch Eliza performing live later this month at the Metro Radio Live 2013 and Xmas Party Live on November 29 and December 1 respectively. In Your Hands was released last month and you can download in on iTunes here or buy it in stores.
Words by Halimat Shode // Edited by Ayo Adepoju