Will Heard at the Courtyard
Will Heard is perhaps best known as a featured artist, most famously on the smash 2013 hit Sonnentanz (Sun Don’t Shine), a brooding electronic track by the Austrian duo Klangkarussell. For some musicians, this route to stardom can result in a loss of distinctiveness in their own right – but stepping on stage at the Courtyard, it’s abundantly clear Heard is his own man with his own musical persona.
Opening with the song Trust, from his recently release EP of the same title, Heard sets the bar with his soulful voice and silky smooth delivery. He has a boyish energy to him, one that is shaped far more from the jazz and soul influences of his childhood as a saxophonist listening to the likes of Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and James Brown than any of his other features.
As a frontman the artist is charming and easy going, frequently stopping between numbers to banter with the audience or explain the emotional depth of his next song. As he finishes playing the melancholy tune Need to Be Alone, he apologises for killing the mood, explaining he is a “very emotional guy” and “finds it hard to cry in front of others”. It only adds to his boyish charm and the crowd love him for it.
Working with him are a talented accompanying band including a pianist, guitarist, bassist and back-up singers, but its Heard who retains the spotlight throughout the gig. During his renditions of Sonnentanz and Rumour Mill, he pulls out his saxophone, showing just how talented a musician he is. It is only during his more energetic tracks, such as Old Song, that he sounds a little breathless, but the temperature during the concert did have him taking his top off, so it can be forgiven.
Finishing off the set before the encore, the artist delivered an unexpected and touching tribute to the late Leon Ware, who produced songs for the likes of Minnie Riperton and Marvin Gaye. It came in the form of The Way You Feel, a funky tune written by Heard and Leon during a session together. Coming back on stage, the British singer ended the gig with the most popular track from his EP, I Better Love You, for which the music video was released the same day.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about Will Heard and future events visit here.
Watch the video for I Better Love You here: