Cassidy Janson is one talented lady. Having starred as Carole King in the critically-acclaimed musical ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’, she has now launched a solo album, ‘Cassidy’ – and she was at Bush Hall tonight to promote it.
Before I talk about Janson’s performance, a word about my first visit to this historic West London venue, built in 1904 by a publisher; one of a trio of dance halls he built for each of his daughters. It’s been a soup kitchen during WWII, a rehearsal space for The Who, Cliff Richard and Adam Faith, a snooker & social club – and has now returned to its roots as a music hall. It’s an intimate setting, with a real sense of occasion– and I loved it.
As for Cassidy Janson, she looked stunning, clad in a slinky trouser suit, and she got the evening off to a flying start with one of her own songs: ‘Leaning In’. Promising us a mixture of her own work and some Carole King songs, Janson told us that she wrote the next song, ‘On My Way’, with her producer and her band, and “I hope you all love it as much as we do.” We did: it’s a corker of a tune and proves that Cassidy is more than just a great singer.
We also enjoyed “Better”, written by Tom Baker, and “Waiting for the Love of My Life”: a beautiful ballad that tugs at the heartstrings.
“I promised you Carole King, didn’t I?” Janson teased us, before settling herself at the piano and treating us to “My second favourite song in ‘Carole King: The Musical”: ‘It’s Too Late’. Janson is a talented pianist and sounds uncannily like Carole King, but was able to invest enough of herself into the song to make it hers: no easy feat.
Back to the album, and I enjoyed ‘On a Beach’ which Janson co-wrote with Pete Glenister, a favourite writer of Alison Moyet and Kirsty MacColl. Glenister and Janson also wrote my favourite song from the album: ‘Charming Man’. “I wrote most of the lyrics, which may be an indication of the sad state of my love life”, Janson joked.
She’s been blessed in working with so many talented writers: Janson’s own favourite song from the album, ‘Fairytale’, was written “thanks to a little bit of alchemy”, with Anna Krantz, who wrote the rather fabulous ‘Stardust’ on Cliff Richard’s recent ‘Rise Up’ album.
There were two more treats to come: ‘When a Woman’, which Jonson recorded for Brit flick ‘Fisherman’s Friends’ (and to which her voice is perfectly suited) and the Carole King classic: ‘You’ve Got a Friend’. This, Janson performed with just her guitarist accompanying her – and it made for a perfect end to a perfect night.