Mimi Webb at Shepherd’s Bush Empire review: no bells, no whistles - her voice is all the TikTok star needs

Mimi Webb  (Sony)
Mimi Webb (Sony)

In 2019 Mimi Webb’s debut single Before I Go went viral with more than 20 million views on TikTok after she sang it a capella in a restaurant for US social media star Charli D’Amelio. The buzz spilled into 2020, when the song’s official airing on the video sharing platform drummed up 85.7million views, not to mention millions more streams on Spotify. The 21-year-old Canterbury singer’s brand of powerhouse pop that soundtracks love and heartache had clearly struck a chord.

But if it seemed like Webb was just lucky – park your reservations. This BRIT School and BIMM alumnae who has been writing songs since the age of 13 has had her career mapped out. Last year, Webb made a manifestation board upon which she noted down all her goals. Since then her song Good Without has reached the UK Top 10 (likewise her latest single House on Fire) and she recently came third in the BBC’s Sound of 2022 poll. Not bad for a young star who has just one EP to her name.

So perhaps it’s unsurprising that there was cultish devotion from Webb’s fans at her headline Shepherd’s Bush Empire show. Packed to the rafters with young women and teenagers filming one another singing every single lyric, it felt like you were witnessing them witnessing history. “Being on this stage, being able to connect with you. It’s so incredible,” said Webb, beaming after performing her emotional ballad Lonely in Love note-perfect.

Webb’s booming vocals were as flawless live as on record, even if the venue’s sound levels sometimes muddied them. A no-frills stage set-up of a giant neon sign bearing her name and three musicians allowed for full focus on her singing. Heavenly, one of Webb’s darker cuts about releasing oneself from the shackles of a doomed relationship, saw her ad-lib with fluid vocal runs while her guitarist stepped forward for a searing solo. Dumb Love, too, proved that Webb can hit the high notes with ease as she waved her arms about expressively, reflecting on love of an old flame “running through my veins”.

It was House on Fire, a buoyant synth-pop ditty that recalls the euphoric songs of Scandipop star Sigrid, and closing track Good Without that drew the biggest response. A gripe, though, is that Webb could have bolstered her stage presence more by dancing or enlisted backing singers to lift the sound: often the show felt like it needed grander visual spectacle. But you are reminded that this is a singer who has built her early career sans bells and whistles, with a rawness that has won her fans from TikTok and beyond. Maybe her voice is all she needs.