Tonight however, Marsha is on home turf back in England, which obviously pleases her no end, if her demeanour and chatty attitude throughout the night is anything to go by. Backed by a solid 4 man band, including a dj, Marsha opened the show, with perhaps a nod of acknowledgement to another UK black female whose talent shines ever so brightly, by singing a cool assured version of Sade's 'Stronger Than Pride', even adding a slight reggae feel in the process. The strong reception she receives puts her at ease, whether standing up with microphone in hand or later on seated at the keyboards. Before performing one of her newer tracks 'Friends And Lovers' she addresses the crowd with the familiarity and, I might add, the timing of a stand up comic. Breaking down the content of the song she asks the crowd if is really possible to be friends and lovers? As she puts it in her funny and blunt tone"Can you and someone you've known as a friend for years, you know a person who has seen you at your worst....can you two really..... fuck?". Marsha seems to relish getting X-rated as much her audience. After all most of her material is soul drenched music with a definite sexy flavour.
And here is where it gets interesting. Throughout her classy sexy set Marsha between songs would launch into what was happening in her world and give advice, sometimes at the same time. Her raunchy no nonsense, yet comedic approach reminded me very much of the 70's soul singer Miller Jackson, whose 1974 'Caught Up' album raised many eyebrows at the time with its truth and honesty regarding relationships. She was often accused of being 'potty-mouthed', when all she did in fact was talk about the real deal between men and women, using language usually heard from a man. At the time she was fresh and funny, as is Ms Ambrosious tonight!
Being based in the US you could tell Marsha was really happy to be performing back in the UK, in front of friends and family. As she told the audience, whenever she was back home she would "...party, I mean REALLY party!!!" which was the cue for the dj to take Ms Ambrosius down memory lane (and for her show to inject some high powered energy to get everybody dancing) with a selection of past 80's and 90's hits, kicking off with UB40's 'Red Red Wine'. Soon we were on a journey that took us through hip hop (Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock 'It Takes Two'), new jack (Bell Biv DeVoe 'Poison') to pop (The Eurythmics 'Sweet Dreams') all in a seamless blend which had the dj scratching and Marsha grooving as if back at the school disco, with a look of pure joy on her face. This funky section was positioned halfway through the show which allowed her to return to the soulful material to which she excels. A duet called 'Alone Together' with a guy called Daley was impressive, as was the tender 'Trust', a song she collaborated with jazz pianist Robert Glasper on his current 'Black Radio 2' album. We were also treated to her latest single (which on record is a duet sung with Ne-Yo), 'Without You', taken from her forthcoming 'Friends & Lovers' album. All in all it was a great night of entertainment from a woman who is interested in real music with real emotion for real people. As she expressed to the audience, not in a boastful way but instead to say these things are possible for anyone with a dream and talent, her circle of acquaintances and colleagues now include Drake, Dr. Dre and Mariah Carey, and on what Marsha delivered tonight, this is no surprise.
Here is Marsha performing 'Far Away' at the O2 Indigo:
The official video 'Without You' Marsha Ambrosius Featuring Ne-Yo:
Marsha Ambrosius & Anthony Hamilton sing 'As' from 'The Best Man Holiday' Soundtrack: