Pop Star Lianne La Havas Is Having A Major Moment

Photo: REX Shutterstock.
If you listen to Lianne La Havas’s debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough (2012), it’s clear that she knows three things: Love, heartbreak, and how to compellingly croon about both. For many artists, the list stops there. One song is about finding love, another about having it, and finally a hit about losing it all. However, La Havas purposely steps outside of those mundane lines, and not just lyrically. The 25-year-old singer-songwriter, incorporates these leitmotifs and radiates an alluring impulse for storytelling, that’s impossible to ignore. It’s no mistake that she sings “I found myself in a secondhand guitar” on the title track of the album, as it’s hard to imagine La Havas unaccompanied by a six-string acoustic and engrossing lyrics. After all, Prince doesn’t just invite anyone to play at his Paisley Park Studio.

In 2012 — one year after she opened for Bon Iver and Robert Plant on tour — the psychedelic funk legend extended a personal invitation to a budding La Havas that would soon change her life. In addition to a career surge, a special bond ensued. The duo have since played together at her flat, recorded a duet for his upcoming album, and performed together on Saturday Night Live. Why it has taken critics and connoisseurs to pick up on what Prince saw in the up-and-comer years ago, is beyond me. Hopefully her next album will do the trick.

On June 22, La Havas released “What You Won't Do,” the second single from her sophomore album Blood. Her plush, airy vocals return alongside instrumentals straddling jazzy neo-soul, and indie folk perfectly placed with raw, self-affirming lyrics. It further emphasizes why she should be pouring out of the headphones of listeners and on deck at radio stations from New York to Los Angeles.

The new track comes on the heels of "Unstoppable," the first single from the upcoming album. True to form, the hopeful love song shares a new side of La Havas, proving how she sets herself apart even within common themes.

“It’s essentially about when I parted with my now ex...if we got back together we could sort of go the whole hulk,” she said during a recent studio session. “I hope that people would see a new side of what I do.”

Is Your Love Big Enough was a solid start for La Havas, because the album boldly introduced her undeniable talent. Much like her music, La Havas lyrics seep into your years, triggering memories of your own stories. Perhaps, that’s what the Purple Rain master saw. Over the last few years she’s been showered with complimenting comparisons to noteable artists, from Sade to Erykah Badu. She’s even tackled the R&B powerhouse and poet Jill Scott. If Scott is the trailblazer for producing touching tunes, it’s only fitting for La Havas to carry the torch, and she knows it.

“This is album is almost like my state of intent as well. I want to stay doing what I’m doing and I want to be in the consciousness of everyone as this artist I guess I’m becoming,” she said.

Blood will be released in the US on July 31.



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