The Japanese-American singer-songwriter was recently in Singapore (for the fifth time!) for a gig at the Esplanade Concert Hall. This being my fourth time attending her show, I knew I was in for another night of melancholic and tragic tunes of heartbreaks and broken promises – and I was not disappointed. This time around she was backed by a 5-piece band (with the brilliant guitarist Michael Chavez making a return), complete with a cellist and violinist, which to me, gave her performance an added depth and dimension.
That being said, one of my favorite shows of hers is still the gig at the Recital Studio a couple of years back which had a very intimate setting. Rachael Yamagata was in her element – unplugged, alternating between just her guitar and piano, without a band.
What I love about Rachael Yamagata is how she takes her audience on an emotional rollercoaster with her – belting out one soulful hit after another with that husky voice. She takes us on a ride, one that is so heartfelt, honest and raw, you can’t help but move with her. While many of her songs deal with heartache and range from sappy to dark and moody at times, she keeps the atmosphere upbeat with her trademark candid and lighthearted anecdotes in between songs, endearing her to the audience even more. She surprised everyone that night by calling upon an audience member to join her on stage for a rendition of ‘The Reason Why’.
One of my favorite songs of the night had to be ‘You Won’t Let Me’, so heartbreakingly good; I think she gives some of her best performances when she’s behind the piano. She and the band closed out the night with a light and soothing version of ‘I Wish You Love’, ending the night perfectly.
Listen to it here.