Lianne La Havas is a bright soul based out of London, England. Born to a Greek father and Jamaican mother, La Havas is the embodiment of the new England. Multi-cultural, worldly, and absolutely lovely, La Havas is methodically carving out her own space in the aural atmosphere.
Her album’s Is Your Love Big Enough from 2012 and follow-up Blood in 2015 both sit in that tender spot involving love, passion, and soul. La Havas operates where great artists like Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu first strode, crooning and layering smooth neo-soul with jazz and funk.
With two full length albums in three years, moving from background vocals with Paloma Faith to touring with artists like Bon Iver and Coldplay, La Havas is killing it at 26. She had a song on Alt-J’s latest and greatest hit 2014 album This Is All Yours, where her silken voice meshes perfectly with his in between soft acoustic guitar. Is Your Love Big Enough won iTunes Best of 2012 Album of the Year, boosting La Havas’ musical profile and allowing her to take bigger risks on Blood.
Recorded in Jamaica during a coming-home trip the singer went on with her mother, Blood’s title alludes to the cultural influences her heritage contributes. The album, which would end up being mixed at the legendary Electric Lady Studios in New York City, showcases La Havas’s strength in growing into her true self. Moving temporarily from the intimate acoustics she curated on her first album, La Havas experiments with bigger sounds and words. From brash brass, funky bass, and homeland reggae, the album swings hard behind La Havas’s direction.
The first four tracks off Blood give a good impression of the art La Havas creates. “Unstoppable,” her hit solo, is a smooth, swinging tune full of energy. The second, “Green and Gold,” references her Jamaican heritage and reflects the comfort La Havas has relishing in her own journey. The third, “What You Don’t Do,” was quickly made clear by La Havas in an interview to not have been written by her. It’s definitely loud and fun, not exactly the vibe La Havas usually cherishes, but still a great summertime song you can blast full tilt. Last, “Tokyo” brings on the funk, returning to rainy-day, soul-aching, heart-wrenching croonings. Her sweet and broken voice is almost cruel to listen to, reverberating between the ears of the listener with no help in sight.
In February 2016, La Havas released the EP Blood Solo, a bare-bones acoustic version of her album Blood. It seems as if La Havas can’t resist lighting some candles, grabbing her guitar, some dear friends, and melting hearts. Sounding heart-broken, La Havas enchants the listener deeply and purely over time, drawing those in with siren-like seduction.
From initially being discovered in 2008 on MySpace, to touring around the world and making her sound known, Lianne La Havas is a unique and inspiring individual. Currently touring in 2016 with Coldplay, keep your eyes peeled and your hearts open.