POLLY SCATTERGOOD, THE LUMINAIRE, KILBURN HIGH STREET SEPTEMBER 24
TWO YEARS ago the BRIT School was a little known, albeit respected, arts school in Croydon. Now it's become something of a phenomena, with its alumni topping charts across the globe.
It's spawned the likes of Adele, Kate Nash, Leona Lewis, Amy Winehouse and plenty more. So many, in fact, that BRIT-pop is on the verge of becoming its own genre. It's helped by the fact that its graduates have been so vocal in their praise of the school, but one young madam is having none of it.
Despite claiming she wrote more than 800 songs while she was at the school, she's remained tight-lipped about her time there and is far from the glossy, polished stage school starlet we've come to expect.
There are no photos of her crawling around Camden, no bitchy blogs laying into her contemporaries. Instead a painfully shy, Cassie-from-Skins-alike tip toes on stage, looking like it's the last place in the world she wants to be.
Flanked by her band of skinny-jeaned indie boys, a nervous smirk spreads across her face as she tucks her hair behind her ear and gets down to business. Her voice is startling - she sounds like she's on the verge of a breakdown, as she skips between breathy whispers and glass-shattering squeals. Messy and unpolished, kooky and ethereal... call it what you will, but you wouldn't expect it from this pretty, blonde doll-like creature. Force-fed a diet of Sylvia Plath, Kate Bush and Tori Amos, she's got a haunting, gothic edge which is as unnerving as it is compelling.
"My doctor says I've got to sing a happy tune," she purrs, menacingly, at the end of new single I Hate The Way.
A PJ Harvey-esque dissection of a failed relationship, it's her third single, following crowd favourite Nitrogen Pink and her low-key 2005 release, Glory Hallelujah.
She takes to the piano for I've Got A Heart - "Erm, this is a song that I wrote and I, erm, recorded it at home," she stutters, before giving away copies of a self-recorded CD.
It's not cheerful stuff, but there's a light mood in the room - it's hard to feel gloomy when watching her. Her Kate Bush theatrics and doe-eyed naivety are endearing; she looks out of place - like a little girl dumped in the middle of a dark cloud.
A curious oddball - a pop princess of the future.