The singer-songwriter proves that she’s one to watch as she guides us from her folk roots to her latest releases
Just over a year ago, singer-songwriter Paris Paloma released a track called ‘the fruits’. As she tells the crowd at The Camden Assembly, she thought the song would be the peak of her career. ‘the fruits’ is a dark fairytale, folky and thick with harmony, laced with religious imagery and quiet anger – all elements that resonated with a small but significant community of listeners.
“Obviously now,” she says onstage, lifting a guitar strap over her shoulder, “there’s a lot of new people listening, after the release of a certain song…”
There’s laughter in the room, because the “certain song” that Paloma references far outstripped both ‘the fruits’ and her wildest expectations. ‘labour’ is a powerful piece of folk-pop that weaves a damning portrait of a relationship in which the work – both physical and emotional – is far from equally distributed. The track exploded, racking up 35 million listens and counting on Spotify, with women across the internet thanking Paloma for putting their silent frustrations into words – and giving them music to be angry to.
But before Paloma delivers ‘labour’ to the eager crowd gathered at Camden Assembly, she takes us back through her discography to her folk roots. There’s elements of her new baroque pop leanings throughout – the smoky incense and steadily mounting drums of opener ‘Notre Dame’, the new arrangement of ‘the fruits’ which lands much more heavily than on the recording – but much of her set is light, leaning towards airy harmonies and delicate guitar. A standout is ‘village song’, a release from 2021 that paints an idealised picture of life in her hometown of Derbyshire. Paloma is an expert lyricist, poetic and deliberate. There is an expectant pause after the end of each track before the applause begins – the crowd don’t want to miss a word.
“You’re ethereal!” someone yells early on. Later, someone else calls Paloma “a goddamn fairy princess”. It’s less of a comment on her appearance and more on the otherworldly impression she, her voice and her music give onstage, this idea of being led deep into another place. Folk roots will do that for you, especially those as well-developed as Paloma’s. But newer tracks – favourites ‘the fruits’ and ‘labour’, along with devastating mental health ballad ‘forsaken’ – demonstrate that she is carrying those skills in a new and exciting direction. She may have cut her teeth on village melodies, but an artist like this is undoubtedly heading for big stages.