Laura Mvula Reveals Her Top Tips For Surviving Glasto

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LMBrit nominee and singing sensation Laura Mvula is bound for her very first Glastonbury. This Glasto virgin will be playing the Pyramid stage literally hours before The Rolling Stones (so, no pressure there at all). She very kindly took the time to chat with us about the festival, attentive audiences, and how her false eyelashes are EVERYTHING.

What are you most looking forward to about performing at Glastonbury?
"Lots of things. It’s a whole new experience for me. It’s going to be virgin experience for me as I’ve never been to this festival before. I’ve got three performances in all over the festival. I’m doing the Pyramid stage and a terribly named place called the Pussy Parlour and I can’t remember the other one."

What will you do to get in the mood to perform before the show?
"I think I’m gong to be making it up as I go along because I’ve never performed to this sort of level before. I imagine I’ll just want to get on and get it done. I’ll think I need to be quite still and tranquil beforehand."

Are there any bands that you hope to see while you are down at Worthy Farm?
"Yeah - really anybody I can see. It’s all so new for me. I’m not going with a fixed agenda. It’s massive for me to be on the same stage as the Rolling Stones a couple of hours before. I’ll be there for that and I’m keen to see Lianne La Havas, Alt-J, and Ben Howard too."

What has been the highlight for you this year?
"To just finish a piece of work. Being in the studio for a long amount of time was an incredible commitment for me. Putting out the album and doing my first gigs — I never saw myself as a lead performer. I will always cherish those first performances. Glastonbury will be another huge first memory for me too."

What is your favourite place you've been to on tour so far?
"I have a top three. New York, Japan, and South Africa. New York because I mixed the album there with Tom Elmhurst and that was a special time for me. South Africa was the place where I shot the video for the first song I ever wrote, and Japan is somewhere that I visited three days ago. I was there for a week and I’m totally in love with the people. They reacted to the music in a really attentive and special way."

You’ve toured all around the world this year. Have you noticed a difference with the audience’s reception of your music?
"Absolutely. In Japan they were quite quiet. They would wait and clap maybe four seconds after a song had finished to make sure that it had actually finished. In London it’s more cool, contemplative, drink-in-hand sort of thing. In the US it’s far more vocal, they tell you which song they want to hear."

How do you unwind when you are on tour? How do you stop from going stir crazy?
"I haven’t worked that out yet. I’m trying to speak to other artists to gauge how to cope with it in different ways. I’ve been married for four years and I’m just getting used to being on the road without him. The new thing for me is that I’m always on show."

What are the fashion and beauty essentials you’ll be taking with you to Glastonbury?
"My makeup artist and stylist! My eyelashes are a staple for me and make me feel like a young lady [laughs]. Comfort is the main thing and I’ll make sure I’m warm too, that’s a major thing for me – I can’t be cold."

What’s coming up with you for the rest of the summer?
"It’s festival season for me. I’m excited about that. The bigger ones feel daunting but I’m doing a lot of jazz festivals in intimate venues, which fits my music a bit more. Although I like the challenge of playing the larger venues too."

Can you let us know if you’ll be playing any new music or cover songs for your Glasto show?
"I’m never going to give it away, otherwise people will get bored. Good try though."

Photo: Courtesy of Laura Mvula.