The sensational West London R&B vocalist Kate Stewart has made a remarkable return to the sphere with You Had to Be There – her first body of work in five years.

A richly textured project arriving after 2018’s In the Beginning, You Had to Be There is a flawless gathering of Kate’s rich musical foundations and her observations of romance into a confident record that flows and boasts its way to the top.

From angelic runs to soaring harmonies and full-bodied belts, You Had to Be There is sonic proof that Kate is a fiercely gifted vocalist – and listeners are reminded on the project that Kate’s crisp and intricate three-octave range sounds at home over any genre, from Sade-esque R&B to summer pop or smoky guitar lounge moments.

Opening with the sun-kissed sounds of lead single “Never Enough”, the EP beautifully segues into the timeless soul and vocal acrobatics of “Everybody Loves Me” as well as confrontational, boundary-setting anthems like “Fuck You”, where Kate confidently delivers sassy one-liners like “bet you wish you love me like that shitty car you drive.” Softer moments come via the vulnerable “When It’s Just Me” and the slow-burning, late-night love affair “Me + You”.

Signalling a beautiful new era of freedom, Kate’s startling integrity and resolute confidence across You Had to Be There prove that she’s still just getting started. Stepping back from the conventional formula on the faith that with her gut instinct, celestial vocals and raw talent will prevail, You Had to Be There is no doubt the start of Kate Stewart cementing herself as a musical force running in her own lane.

Stream You Had to Be There here.

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