Laura Mvula is the type of musician who inspires a cult following. When her solo album, Sing To the Moon, dropped in the U.K. in March of this year, her soulful voice and head-bopping beats were heard on airwaves throughout the spring, garnering her a BRIT Award nomination and other accolades. Mvula has received stellar reviews from The New York Times, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal and Pitchfork for her sought-after blend of songwriting strength and soul/jazz/gospel/R&B-influenced melodies and instrumentation. I already highlighted her single “Green Garden” as one of my favourite Friday tracks in last week’s Editors’ Picks and as promised, in our interview below, Mvula talks about her sound and style.
Get your chance to hear Laura Mvula live in Toronto this Saturday, September 7! We’re giving away two pairs of tickets to the show tomorrow, Wednesday, September 4 starting at 10am on Twitter @FLAREFashion—follow us to find out how you can win! Trust me, you don’t want to feel the same regret I did (I missed her the last time she performed in Toronto).
FLARE: How would you describe your sound to a new audience?
Laura Mvula: I would describe it as orchestral soul. I write songs from the heart and I don’t hold back.
FLARE: Tell us about your creative process. Do you write words, then melody?
LM: I don’t really have a formula, but I’ll always improvise first at the piano.
FLARE: What artists do you admire and why? Has anyone influenced you in a profound way?
LM: Lizz Wright is my favourite singer. Her voice moves me and takes me to another place. She also grows her own food and that inspires me.
FLARE: Releasing an album and becoming a successful solo artist comes with a whole new visual way of representing your music. How does what you wear on stage help articulate that?
LM: What I wear is everything—from how I carry my hair to what I’m wearing on my feet. I have to feel comfortable on stage so I like to wear things that have room. My mood changes a lot, so sometimes I wear 6-inch heels and other times I’ll perform in bare feet.
FLARE: Is there an artist whose style you admire?
LM: Solange—she is the most beautiful woman and the most beautifully dressed—I would like to be Solange!
FLARE: What are some of your favourite labels or stores?
LM: Topshop is one of my favourite shops and I love shoes by Giuseppe Zanotti. There’s a graduate fashion designer called Kate Falcus who makes me beautiful commissioned pieces—one of my favourites was the white Glastonbury dress she made me with the puffy skirt.
FLARE: Do you tend to gravitate toward particular colours or cuts?
LM: Yes,I like nude colours and clean lines so I often go towards those.