We chatted with the delightful Jade Ellis before her half hour set at Candy Bar. Jade was an X-Factor finalist in 2012. Since leaving the ITV show, she has been working on her music and this year has taken the plunge to establish herself as an artist.
Jade says she's been "gigging, gigging, gigging" up and down the country. She's recently been supporting Cover Drive on tour, and has learned a lot about music, performing and fan relationships and dedication - "those fans that will travel from one show to another just to see their favourite band".
However the highlight of the year for Jade has been the opportunity to spend much more quality time with her daughter Caiden, of whom she is clearly very proud. Caiden has kept Jade company on the road and has been enjoying the high life of hotels and travel.
As well as learning the guitar, Jade has been working with writers and producers to develop her own musical sound. She's settled on R'n'B as a style, which she feels is "organic" and reflects back to more old school "lyrics, voice and simple music"... but remaining flexible to different styles.
Jill Scott is a huge musical influence to Jade, who is someone that as an artist comes from their "voice and aura", she says, "Jill could play even if the electrics failed, even if there were no lights... she would still be able to stand on stage and mesmerise."
Jade has been co-writing with Sammy Nathan and really enjoys the collaborative process of writing with a partner and how that can bring out the best in an song. And yes, co-writing does mean that we will soon be treated to original material being released.
We asked Jade if she has any messages for her lesbian fans, and she says simply "Thank you", she genuinely appreciates all the messages of support she gets. She also contributed her coming out story to the Diversity Role Model's "It's Okay to Be Gay" collection as she was keen to show there are positive stories as well as the challenges people face.
We had a chance to cover the frivolous too. When asked what kind of biscuit she would be, Jade cheekily chose a
certain cookie well known for being lickable... and proclaimed her favourite hairstyle of the year was that pink locks
that accessorised the pink outfit on The X Factor (Ed's note: good choice) - she says "The hair has to match the
And to the gig... the first two numbers were acoustic, with Jade playing guitar and singing to a crowd of young lesbians that had been building steadily over the course of evening. A medley of contemporary pop songs followed by an original number relating to her recent break up from her long term partner. Her voice resonates throughout the Candy basement, powerfully smooth soulful vocals with a devastating range - from deep to high.
R'n'B-Acousto stylings of I need you (re-rendered from that X Factor audition, and Naughty Boy's La la la complemented the powerhouse version of Amy Winehouse's Love is a Losing Game sung with a secret smile, and the stand out surprise, an exhilarating urban take on Adele's Skyfall that stopped the show. Ellis is fan of the intimate venue, that Candy offers, and enjoys being able to "connect with the audience", and convey the emotions of songs directly to the crowd.