As a poet, I regularly watch the You Tube postings of poets, famous, and not so famous, yet no poster has fascinated me more recently than Sally Collins, a singer. I don’t know much about Sally. She seems to come from Greater Manchester and describes herself as having survived a brain tumour. She posts from her kitchen, performing into a webcam to a backing track. It appears that she does, or has done, some live work, but never posts it. Instead it is just her, looking into the camera singing.
It helps that she is very beautiful, it further helps that she has an extraordinarily good singing voice. Her music of choice is Northern Soul, Soul, Tamla and Philly, but she occasionally has a crack at other genres. Her voice is exceptionally well suited to the aforementioned styles, and when I played some of the tracks to my partner Jane, she assumed that she was listening to a professional artist.
There is an astonishing intimacy about her performance. Although sometimes a little static and one dimensional because of the webcam, when she sings, there is a sense both that she is singing directly to you, and that somehow you are enjoying a hidden camera watching someone simply enjoying themselves and having fun, a home video.
I don’t know the status of her current health, but assume that the process has been a therapeutic and rejuvenative one. But I do know both that her singing is appreciated by the many who are visiting her website, and that her presence and talent shame the craven wannabees of Reality TV who claim that singing is all that they have ever wanted to do, without ever producing any evidence that they have done much about it.
Here are her best five covers: