'An arena-sized voice in an intimate venue': Hattie Briggs at St Matthias Church in Stoke Newington

Singer Hattie Briggs before her performance in Stoke Newington

Hattie's third album was launched on the same day as the gig. - Credit: Emilie Cotterill - Transluceo Photography

“I could get used to playing in a church,” Hattie Briggs says during her characteristically cordial mid-set banter.  

Having made her name supporting Alfie Boe at the Royal Albert Hall, the singer-songwriter has played in a variety of venues and her folk numbers are well suited to the beautiful St Matthias Church in Stoke Newington.

Tonight, Briggs is launching her newly released third album, Half Me Half You - a record penned in lockdown, with the added time, she says, giving her the opportunity to evolve her production and songwriting techniques.

Many of the fifteen or so songs on the setlist are from Half Me Half You, including the atmospheric Don’t Cry Until It’s Over and World on Wheels - a song about ‘getting stuck on life’s treadmills’. 

Hattie Briggs played around fifteen songs to a crowd in Stoke Newington

Hattie played around fifteen songs to a crowd in Stoke Newington - Credit: Emilie Cotterill - Transluceo Photography

At one point, Briggs asks the audience rhetorically what could be considered a ballad and to those uninitiated, perhaps the majority of her catalogue could be labelled as such. However, there are layers and subtleties in her music which bring through a wide range of feelings and emotions - whether it is The Mountain in Me about finding one’s happy place, or the more straightforward love song Home’s With You. 

Half Me Half You was written, as the name suggests, partly from Briggs’s own experience and partly from those of other people she is close to. Hey Love, the first single to be taken from the new LP is another strong example of the album’s range. And there is much to be enjoyed with two chances for the audience to sing along. Briggs’s two-piece band are also in good form with guitar player John Matts joining her for the duet So Far to Fall, about a couple pondering whether a relationship is worth a risk. 

It is a far-from repetitive set, but it perhaps says something about the overall consistency that there are no stand out numbers. The church is reasonably full but it is not a crowd quite fitting of Briggs’s talents. It makes one wonder if, for her soaring vocal ability and songwriting craft, if she is perhaps just a bonafide hit away from headlining the Albert Hall herself. 

Artwork for Part Me Part You, Hattie Briggs' new album

Artwork for Part Me Part You, Hattie Briggs' new album - Credit: Hattie Briggs

Most Read

Briggs is from Chichester but the night has a homecoming feel to it with the friends and family members in the audience as well as the producer who put the album together. It is a warm atmosphere and through her relatable music and banter, many watching might too have felt like they spent the evening with a friend - even if they didn’t stop to say hello and buy a mug from the merchandise stall. 

Half Me Half You by Hattie Briggs is out now and available from www.hattiebriggs.co.uk