With the current wave of singer/songer-writers, people hear ‘female folk singer’ and they think they know exactly what they are getting. Try thinking Billie Holiday’s sol stress vocals combined with the attitude of Mary J Blige and you get something along the lines of Lianne La Havas.
Her style has been influenced by classic 50s blues singers, yet has a rocky edge to it that makes her music completely unique. Born and bred in London to a Greek father and Jamaican mother, her distinctive style has caused her to become somewhat of a fashion icon- the classic geek-chic indie chick mixed with a giant afro, to be precise. This incredible singer catapulted to fame after her television debut on Later With… Jools Holland, where she performed her captivating original, Age.
Her debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough? was released in July this year and includes tracks such as Forget, Age and the title single Is Your Love Big Enough? Forget is a song about breaking up, but not a song about heartbreak. A riff played on distorted electric guitar begins this bolshie tune before sporting a detonating heavy base- the kind that makes your desk shake. A jazz influence is definitely heard as the high hat comes in softly with the vocals donning a mellifluous panache. This track is a great reflection for the rest of her album, and although we have a host of incredible adjectives in the musical vocabulary- Forget can definitely be summed up as ‘cool’. Age is a slightly mellower track, which suggests Havas’ roots in folk music. What makes the instrumentation of this song stand out is the twinkling flecks of harmonics she flicks down the strings of the guitar. The song is comic, describing a relationship with an older gentleman and all its many perks and does well in reflecting the tongue-in-cheek manner in which Havas approaches her lyrics.
If this sounds like your cup of tea, check out her official website, where you can listen to her music, watch her videos and even keep up to date with her blog. Through November and December Lianne La Havas is touring round Europe, but if you can wait until March she will be playing on the 8th at the Birmingham HMV Institute. Make sure you don’t ‘forget’ about this amazing talent.