Hailed by one American critic as having “the most striking voice since Adele,” Lianne La Havas releases her debut Is Your Love Big Enough? today. Wonderland snaps some exclusive pics of the budding star and asks if expectations have been getting the better of her.
Things seem to have gone from strength to strength for you since we featured you in the last issue of Wonderland. Can you tell us a little about what you’ve been up to since then?
I’ve been basically solidly touring and promoting all the singles and the album. I’ve supported Bon Iver and Bombay Bicycle Club on tour; I also recently supported Erykah Badu at Hammersmith Apollo. I’ve also finished making the album.
Given all the hype surrounding you, are you at all concerned about fulfilling people’s expectations?
I basically set out to make an album that I can be proud of, one that I wouldn’t feel like there were any parts of it that I wasn’t sure about. I think I’ve stuck to that and if it’s well-received then that’s great, but if it’s not then I’m really proud of what I’ve done anyway.
The album’s out today. What can we expect to hear on it?
Well, I think it comes across as a very eclectic-sounding record, which is mainly held together with the voice and guitar element. There are some piano-led tracks as well but its kind of a document of my emotions and thoughts and feelings from being a 19-year-old to now being a 22-year-old.
Do you think there is such a thing as being too honest as an artist?
I think art is honesty… And for me personally that’s the way I chose to express myself. I try not to be so honest to the point that it would make anyone uncomfortable, but I do want to accurately describe my feelings in song form.
Would you say songwriting’s kind of like therapy for you?
I don’t know where the songs come from particularly, but I really like making them. The happiness that it gives me to actually create a piece of music is like nothing else that I’ve ever experienced, and that’s what I’m always searching for when I write a song.
You’ve mentioned before that going into music was quite a recent decision – what was it that sparked that desire in you?
When I left college, I was convinced I was going to be an art teacher. But at the same time I had begun singing backing vocals for a friend of mine. I heard her recordings and it just seemed like so much fun… I went on to make my own demos, which I then put on Myspace, and that’s how I met my manager it.
So what would you say is your favourite part of the whole process?
There’s three main parts for me that I love equally. There’s the first point where you make a song. And then to record the song is another thing, ‘cause that’s really fun to realize it and sort of make it immortal. And then the performing of the song, when you’re playing it live to people. That’s an amazing feeling as well … I love it all.
You’re about to embark on your first headline tour. What can we expect?
I’ve got a full band now so we can interpret the sound of the record, as well as there being more intimate moments where I still play on my own. I hope it will just be creating an intimate atmosphere but also filled with love and fun, and some banter between songs.
What else are you up to this year?
I’ve got Bestival, Latitude, Secret Garden Party, Electric Picnic… I love festivals, so it’s going to be a really fun summer!
Words: Alya Mooro
Images: Luc Coiffait