The last time she was in Scotland SOAK was gigging skate parks; at one in Dumbarton “there were literally 10-year-old kids smoking joints – it was scary!”
That’s one of the many reasons it’s a delight to see this wonderfully unassuming singer headlining Oran Mor, engaging with a room full of dedicated followers.
This 19-year-old has already come far; she started out by entertaining audiences in her hometown of Derry with her soul and folky sound when she was 14; now, five years later, she’s signed to Universal the biggest music label in the world.
SOAK’s ethereal sound takes hold of you, calms and captivates you; with lyrics like “does everyone you know have to die?” and “sometimes you’ve got to be sad to realise what you had”, she reveals a tenderness, an understanding of pain and emotional truth.
Her audience witnesses a teenager trying to unravel the point of life.
An inspiring performer, she’s also an amusing on-stage storyteller; to coincide with her debut album, Before We Forgot How to Dream, being released on June 1, her label arranged for a flat that SOAK and her crew had rented for a week, to be filled with balloons.
She tells the audience how “every surface” was covered and how much fun they had playing with them.
Continuing, she chuckles: “I’m gutted I won’t be able to see the look on the cleaner’s face when he/she discovers balloons absolutely everywhere.”
SOAK finishes with “a song about whales, and things like that,” an acoustic version of her most well known song Sea Creatures.
On my way out I spot her, small, dressed all in black, and just lovely, gleaming as she meets her long queue of fans.
A member of her crew passes by me on my way out; he’s carrying two gigantic balloons…
Words/Photos: Tina Koenig