I was fascinated, the first time I heard about Rosie Carney. Not only did her story catch my attention at first sight, but most importantly, her music has been played on repeat in the past few months. It’s rather rare to come across mercurial talents such as Rosie, whose ability in combining introspective songwriting with a refined folk background will undoubtedly project her towards a bright future.

It’s a freezing cold Thursday evening, one of those nights when even die-hard pub punters struggle to face the horrible weather outside their usual post-work hangouts. My way to Hoxton is a seemingly never-ending walk from buzzy Old Street to The Courtyard. I arrive to destination just in time for a beer and to enjoy the coziness of the place.

Matilda Mann, the opening act, is the first surprise of the evening. London-based, only 18, she brings on stage a concentrate of melancholic, stripped-down ballads that showcase the young artist’s remarkable skill set and a sensibility for indie folk influences (Joni Mitchell, Nora Jones, hints of Conor Oberst, perhaps). She sings about volcanos, referring to someone who’s as untouchable as lava. She reassures everyone with a beautifully crafted interpretation of Toy Story’s ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ (“And if you didn’t watch that movie, well, you had a questionable childhood”, she smiles). Finally, she wraps it up after set comprised of very personal songs, almost apologetic for the sad atmospheres they are soaked in.

The sold-out Courtyard is now full, and Rosie Carney shows up on stage almost tiptoeing. Her velvety voice fills the space immediately, bringing on stage the ethereal atmospheres of her debut LP ‘Bare’ (released just a week ago).

A three-piece band supports her, with a cellist, drums/piano, and bass. Rosie, up there on stage, seems to be blossoming, singing with brutal honesty of the intricacies of life, through the tough moments it can bring along the path with regards to failed relationships or the difficulties in finding the right balance.

Tracks like 2017’s ‘Awake Me’, or ‘Your Love Is Holy’ as well as the astonishingly powerful ‘7’, are among the most intense and meditative moments in the night at The Courtyard. Rosie Carney, looking naturally shy, yet never uncomfortable at opening up to her audience, is capable of establishing a deep connection with her audience, keeping everyone staring at the stage. Even when some technical difficulties arise with the guitar pedalboard (“I just wanted to check you guys were still awake”, she blinks).

I leave the venue and East London is now the scene of a powerful snowfall. I make my way to the tube while I tidy up my own thoughts, reflecting – once again – on how powerful music can be. And I find myself thinking back to just over an hour of delightful songwriting. The only way to bring warmth even to at the coldest of nights.

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