Mimi Webb, Scala, review: this heartbroken pop star is headed for the big time

Mimi Webb is a Gen Z rising star
Mimi Webb is a Gen Z rising star

“This isn’t where my life was 18 months ago,” said Mimi Webb onstage at London’s Scala on the final night of her first ever headline tour. “I did a few TikTok things at the start of the pandemic and now we’re here. This is absolutely mad.”

Inspired by Adele, Amy Winehouse and Sam Smith, Webb had spent the past five years training for a night like this. Aged 16, she moved from her home of Canterbury and enrolled at Brighton Music College (turning down a spot at the prestigious BRIT school in the process) and by 18, she was in LA talking to record labels.

She eventually signed to Sony’s Epic Records (home to Camillo Cabello, Mariah Carey and Ozzy Osbourne) and when she released her debut single Before I Go in April 2020, the rumbling pop song about heartbreak was used by TikTok queen Charli D’Amelio, exposing Webb to an audience of several million. Like a lot of Gen-Z stars, off the cuff covers of Adele, Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa helped grow her online following while her songs crafted from betrayal have seen the 21-year-old become a chart darling, peaking at No8 without an album to her name.

It does all sound very deliberate, and a more cynical person might dismiss Webb’s success as calculated or manufactured. But onstage, it was impossible to deny her talent. Industry plant? No, just an ambitious young star inspired by the greats.

Scala normally plays host to rock club nights and blossoming guitar bands. Complete with sticky floors and unavoidably intimate, it isn’t usually the place to see the next generation of pop megastars and for good reason. Webb and her two-piece band could just about fit on stage, while on the balcony fans watched the show through the legs of others. Despite the cramped conditions, Webb still managed to create a slick sense of spectacle. That’s Gen Z for you, making magic from the scraps.

Webb’s debut EP is a soaring, searing exploration of heartache. Angry one moment, bitter and needy the next, it’s as emotional and unfiltered as you’d expect from something titled Seven Shades of Heartbreak. Lewis Capaldi was even in the audience, presumably to check if sad bangers were still in fashion. They are.

But on stage, all that recorded misery became somewhat euphoric as the young star took control over past bad relationships, delivering songs with delicious theatricality. Webb even made the short leap from stage to barrier to embrace fans during the shuddering electro might of Heavenly, while Dumb Love teetered on epic. The closing Good Without was a powerful, foundation-shaking ballad that saw fans in tears. Luckily a burst of confetti from the back of the room shifted that sadness to celebration.

Almost everything about Webb’s journey so far has been about numbers – streams, chart positions, likes – but on Tuesday night, in front of a live audience, she proved exactly why she’s such a star. The next big thing in pop? You can count on it.