Sultry and seductive vocals with an added edge, south London's Lianne La Havas is warming the hearts of music folk on both sides of the Atlantic. Following her Jools Holland performance last year the Warner signee has kept the buzz going with the infectious 'Forget' and now 'Lost & Found', so we caught up with the Jamaican/Greek songstress to get to know her a little more.
Did you always know you wanted to be a singer/songwriter or was there a particular turning point?
I always sang but I didn’t know I wanted to sing as a career just because people make you think it, it isn’t certain, obviously no one knows the future. It was gradual but I was doing an art foundation in hope of going on to uni to do fine art then an art teacher. I always sung and been in the choirs in school which would help my confidence a bit more so I was beginning to write my own music and did backing vocals for a group of friends and got a taste of the scene and gigging and how much fun it was. So I become more confident on the guitar and before long I felt I had a means of expression in the guitar and everything emotionally that was going on in the time.
Is that the basis? As long as it is truthful and real, you can sing about it?
Yeah, I found it cathartic to write about what's going on in my life and its not necessarily always literally the same but anyway I do it kinda helps to get it off my chest. So yeah it was kinda the last three or four years that I decided to do that.
How would you describe yourself as an artist and have you been getting a lot of comparisons?
If people say Erykah Badu, I would take that. I am a huge, huge fan! When she plays and sings, I really identify with her. She's someone I aspire too but I guess I play electric guitar with rhythmic finger picking and nice cords…hopefully and then I like to sing melodies that flow through to soulful and truthful lyrics.
What women influence you music wise?
Its funny because when people ask me who my influences are, I generally say ‘strong women in music’ Nina Simone, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and more recently Laura Marling and even Amy Winehouse. Women that know themselves and don’t compromise themselves and their voice. Each one of those women have voices that make my hairs stand on end.
What’s the plans for 2012?
Well I’m touring around England and finishing my album. It's basically going to be a log of my life for the last three years and it's got lost of nice harmonies and nice guitar playing. I've been working with Aqualung, he did a really famous song a couple years ago called 'Strange and Beautiful' and he's done other amazing songs since then but I got the opportunity to have a day of writing with him and we instantly hit it off. I’ve ended up doing the album with him in his various houses, there’s probably only actually one studio recording on the whole album.