It goes without saying that in the last couple of years there has been a flurry of Brit songbirds causing a flutter on the international music scene, and every once in a while you hear someone who makes you believe that they could be next. Well, one thing is for sure, upon hearing Lianne La Havas that may just be the thought that runs through your head...
Gifted with the singing chops and versatility to get the kind of attention that has been showered upon some of our most recent and celebrated musical exports (the late Amy, Adele etc), the singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (yes the lady has real talent!) is all systems go and set to make her mark. With her debut E.P ‘Lost and Found’ about to be released on Labor of Love Records, the collection of five tracks offers a blend of emotionally charged tales of love and life in the big city. You’ll be struck by her rich soulful vocals, it’s those smooth and velvety tones, they’ll engulf you, draw you in and keep you hooked.
Dazed Digital: How would you describe your music?
Lianne La Havas: Rhythmic electric guitar-based backdrops with what I hope are lyrics from the soul and melodies that compliment what the guitar is doing.
DD: How did the hook up with Willy Mason come about?
Lianne La Havas: I had always been a fan of his so when I discovered that my producer and friend, Dan Carey, would be recording with Willy, I was very keen to meet him. Our first encounter was on the Victoria Line at Brixton. I was on my way back to Hackney when Dan, his engineer Alexis and Willy just happened to be on the same train going north to see a show so I ended up tagging along and we just got talking. A few months later, I found out I was going to be in New York city for two weeks to write and so I asked Willy if he'd like to have a jam. He said yes.
DD: What was it like working together? Any memorable moments?
Lianne La Havas: He seemed very open to collaborating and we ended up having a great time sharing songs and lyrics and eventually went on to write 'No Room For Doubt' in the first week of writing. It was during a fantastic heatwave so in between bouts of creativity, I remember drinking many many cold drinks with Willy, making lunch and, in turn, learning about a lot about each other. He's a lovely soul to be around so I felt lucky and grateful to be working with him. The whole experience is one giant favourite memory.
DD: What did Willy teach you about crafting songs?
Lianne La Havas: I love the simplicity of his music. He is able to make simple chords and melodies go very far and, as a listener, this gives a lot for your ears to feast on. I'd say that writing with him changed the way I write and I found myself trying to limit myself musically so that I could work around simple ideas and develop them more naturally.
DD: The video is based around a ghost story - what scares you?
Lianne La Havas: The thought of not being able to sing. The dark. The paranormal.
DD: What is your Halloween costume of choice?
Lianne La Havas: Something dead or 'Cousin It.'
DD: You're from Hackney, can you recommend 5 places that we need to check out?
Lianne La Havas: Biddle Bros. pub. The best pub ever. The Dalston Superstore anytime during the day or night... My place. Viet Hoa Cafe and BRICK LANE
DD: You're also an actress, how has that helped your musical career?
Lianne La Havas: I'm not an actress, but I did audition for a roll in a TV drama recently. I think that helped me to feel comfortable on front of cameras so when it came to filming the video for the single, I was able to do this without feeling odd. Well, maybe a little bit odd.
DD: 2012 is going to be a big year for you - what are you most excited about?
Lianne La Havas: I've always wanted to make a CD with my face on it and 2012 will give me the opportunity to do that. I'm REALLY looking forward to all of the weird and wonderful things that come along with releasing an album and the Olympics.