Prince is already a fan. And she can boast that Stevie Wonder has been to one of her shows. Newcomer Lianne La Havas, 22, has a golden voice and the poise of a seasoned songstress.
The London native’s debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough?, is ripe with a refreshing and organic soul-pop sound. Think Lauryn Hill meets Laura Marling. If you are a fan of the steady stream of soul coming from the other side of the pond (Emile Sandé, Adele and Corrine Bailey Rae), Lianne La Havas will be a nice addition to your musical passport.
ESSENCE.com: How has growing up in London influenced your music?
LIANNE LA HAVAS: London is the place that most people [in the U.K.] go to if they want to start their music career. There are so many amazing music venues in London that are happy to support up-and-coming artists. There are also many different types of music coming out of London. Because the city is so multicultural, you can’t put your finger on just one sound. I think all the different types of music are feeding the other types, so there is a very eclectic vibe in London. Being in that atmosphere helped me to have faith in the things that makes my ears most happy.
LA HAVAS: I’d like listeners to feel some sort of emotional connection to the record. My dream is for it to be like when I was first listening to albums. There was always that one album which I connected with all the lyrics, remembered how all the songs went, the track order and so on. I also want people to know who I am as a musician at this point in my life. It’s a way of me introducing myself to the world through music because this is what I want to do.
ESSENCE.com: You have a fantastic voice. Whose voices do you love?
LA HAVAS: Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Nina Simone and Laura Marling from the U.K. She's one of my favorite artists ever! Of course people like Joni Mitchell and I can always listen to the voice of Ella Fitzgerald.
ESSENCE.com: Do you come from a musical family?
LA HAVAS: My mom is a BIG music fan. She doesn’t play instruments or sing, but she loves to listen to music. My dad is multi-instrumentalist. He plays the accordion, harmonica, guitar, saxophone, piano, bongos, percussion and anything else he can get his hands on! He can just pick up any instrument and have a natural flare for it. My dad was the one that introduced me to the idea of playing an instrument in order to bring me happiness. He always emphasized the importance of doing things that made you happy.
ESSENCE.com: Where can we look for you next?
LA HAVAS: I have a show in New York at the Bowery on the 11th of September. I'm also going back to the U.K. this week to do some more festivals. I'm doing the Wilderness Festival, Bestival — where Stevie Wonder is headlining, Lowlands, and Pukkelpop in Belgium. I'll also have a U.K. tour in October.
La Havas’ debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? is out now.
Watch her latest video, "Lost and Found," and let us know what you think: