"Is Your Love Big Enough?" is the title of the debut album from UK soul/folk singer Lianne La Havas. It's due for release on 9th July 2012 according to HMV and Amazon. It features her debut single "Lost & Found" and lead EP tracks "No Room For Doubt" (featuring Willy Nelson) and "Forget".
Here's an article from the Telegraph web site about the album and her upbringing:
SINGLES:Lianne La Havas: 'the most striking voice since Adele'
Nisha Lilia Diu | 8:00AM BST 29 Apr 2012
What do you call someone who goes from total obscurity to sell-out shows, touring with Bon Iver and getting phone calls from Prince, all in under a year? Lianne La Havas. The music world’s latest wunderkind talks to Nisha Lilia Diu
'I don’t know if I’m allowed to say.’ Lianne La Havas glances at her manager, who is, in any case, safely out of earshot a few café tables away.
'But I might be meeting Prince. One of my shows was streamed on the internet and he watched it.’ She widens her eyes incredulously. 'He’s been in touch.’
That show – like her three-week residency at The Social, in London, before it – was a sell-out.
La Havas, 22, is yawning sleepily after an early 'acoustic sesh’ on BBC 6 Music’s breakfast show earlier in the morning. The day before she was being photographed by Rankin for his style quarterly, Hunger.
The week after we meet she’ll be in New York playing yet another sold-out show. 'I’m having the best time of my life,’ she says in slow, dreamy tones. 'The. Most. Happy. Time.’
Six months ago I saw La Havas play a tiny jazz club in east London. She hadn’t yet released a thing and was in joyful spirits as she’d just been booked to appear on Later… With Jools Holland.
She grinned her way through six delectable songs, her vibrato-rich voice somewhere between Dionne Warwick and Billie Holiday, drawing wistful sighs and delighted laughter from the audience with her heartfelt, witty lyrics.
She performed two of those songs on the Jools Holland show, just her and her guitar, a virtual unknown singing with apparently absolute confidence.
Also appearing on the programme that night was Bon Iver, the Wisconsin folk band that walked away with two Grammys (including Best New Artist) earlier this year.
Justin Vernon, the founder of the band, was so entranced he called her the next day. He asked her to join Bon Iver’s north American tour. 'I was overwhelmed,’ she says. 'But we just arranged everything and then I was on their tour bus with them.’
One American critic called her 'the most striking female voice to emerge from Britain since Adele’.
That was before Christmas. Now, La Havas has completed a solo tour and is on her final dates supporting Bombay Bicycle Club before hitting the road as a headliner again on 4 May. 'My feet haven’t touched the ground,’ she says.
We meet at a café in Hackney on a beautiful afternoon; London is in the grip of a heat wave and the city’s pavements are packed with tables of people drinking coffee and cocktails.
We’re shown to a table for four but La Havas takes the seat beside me, leaning in as she talks in a schoolgirlishly intimate way.
She’s wearing a biker jacket over a riotous floral-print shirt and powder-blue shorts, her hair brushed into a high, off-centre bun on top of her head.
Less than a year ago La Havas was playing open-mike nights in Kentish Town. 'A place called the Torriano,’ she says. 'I just loved playing there. It’s a tiny little basement, painted red with a Buddha statue and incense burning.’
One night Chris Pattinson, of the influential Black Cab Sessions – in which up-and-coming artists are invited to perform in the back of a London taxi (motto: 'one song, one take, one cab’) – was there.
He asked La Havas to record for the sessions, which are broadcast online, and within a couple of weeks was driven to comment, 'This is becoming one of our biggest sessions!’
The song she performed, Age, is one of her best-loved. It is a sparkling ballad with a bossa-nova flavour about the ending of a bad relationship and the start of another – with 'a man old enough to be my father’.
Yet, the song continues, 'he’s not the one for me because I fancy younger men’. La Havas giggles. 'I do.’ But she and her boyfriend, the older man, have now been together for three and a half years.
'He looks much younger than he is. And he’s not really old enough to be my father. He’s in his thirties.’
None the less, the age difference 'has been on our minds the whole time. I met him when I was 18, so it was a little bit tough.
'My mum was unsure and I used to notice it a lot when I introduced him to my school friends.’ Now she’s no longer fresh out of college, though, it’s only an issue on nights out: 'It’s always him that wants to go home!’
La Havas’s speech is a peculiar mix of dropped consonants and plummy vowels, peppered with old-fashioned phrases ('he is my dear, dear friend’), which seem incongruous from one so young and hip.
Perhaps it is a legacy of growing up with her grandparents. 'I haven’t lived with my mum since I was a baby,’ she says.
Her parents split up when she was a toddler, 'then my mum started working full-time. She was a postwoman, so she was getting up really early. My grandparents offered to babysit and I just never left.’
Her Jamaican mother and Greek father both lived nearby in south London.
Her father is an ardent music lover. 'He plays everything he can get his hands on,’ she says. 'Piano, accordion, harmonica, saxophone, guitar.’ He plays 'traditional Greek stuff with weird time signatures’ and 'really complex jazz noodling’.
But La Havas’s first ambition was to be an artist. It was only when she fell in with a group of musicians while at art school that she discovered her love of song-writing.
For a while she sang backing vocals for Paloma Faith and the soul singer Rox. But then she met the singer and songwriter Matt Hales (aka Aqualung) and decided to go it alone.
She and Hales co-wrote many of the songs on the two EPs she’s released this year and he produced her forthcoming debut album, 'Is Your Love Big Enough?’, which is due out this summer.
She is about to release a single, Lost and Found, about the man who broke her heart before the older man mended it.
'You broke me and taught me how to truly hate myself,’ she sings in a voice suffused with melancholy, as different as winter from the summer sunshine of Age.
This man is the subject of her angriest songs – and he knows it – but, she claims a little sadly, 'he’s not that affected by it.
'I was really in love with him and he just wasn’t in the same place as me. I don’t think he’s really deeply cut by the way he treated me.’
Like her current boyfriend, her ex is also a musician. Shortly after what was, for La Havas, a painful break-up he sent her a song. A peace offering?
'No. He just wanted me to sing on it. I couldn’t believe he was asking me to sing for him after everything that had happened. That’s when I wrote Forget.’ In the video she is seen waving as if to a small child. 'Say goodbye,’ she sings.
The moody video for Lost and Found was shot by the man who filmed her appearance on the French music website La Blogothèque.
It’s a charming piece featuring La Havas strolling through the Parisian district of Montmartre, her guitar slung high à la early Beatles, trailing the spontaneous applause of passers-by in her wake.
It was a chance meeting that led to a great friendship that led to this partnership. The song she performs in the video, No Room for Doubt, was born out of similar circumstances.
She was on her way home from visiting her grandparents when she bumped into the producer Dan Carey (who has written chart-topping hits for Kylie) on the underground. He was with the folk singer Willy Mason.
Mason and La Havas got on so well they recorded a song together.
La Havas has countless tales of similarly felicitous coincidences (her guitar, which she named after her late grandmother, Connie, turned out to have been made in 1964 – the same year her grandparents married).
The overall impression is of a life sprinkled with fairy dust, with La Havas picking up friends everywhere she turns.
It’s impossible not to be struck by the warmth of La Havas’s performances, or her poise. She doesn’t betray a shred of nerves, smiling and making easy asides to the audience between songs.
She now has a three-piece band but played without any backing at all on Later… With Jools Holland. 'I was really nervous,’ she insists. 'I had been drinking ginger and honey tea. Thyme tea with honey.
'Just everything with honey in it to help my voice. And that’s tasty and everything but I decided in the break to go back to the dressing-room and have a bit of a binge.’ She had some dinner, 'a bit of wine, a bit of brandy, and then I was all right’.
She aims to 'deliver the song like I mean it but also have neat presentation’, and neat is the perfect word for her style: straight-backed, feet together, singing every syllable with crystal-clear enunciation.
She is tidy at home, too, and 'a bit superstitious. If I have to, absolutely have to, walk on a drain – because sometimes people just won’t move out the way – then I cross my fingers.’
Just as the child-woman ingénue impression is getting a bit much, she reveals that her song Tease Me is about having 'a wandering eye’.
She laughs self-consciously. 'You know, you’re happy in your relationship but you can still appreciate the beauty of another person. And sometimes it’s really frustrating.’
La Havas recently moved out of her boyfriend’s place and into her own.
'I moved in with him pretty much as soon as I met him. It was really great but I ended up feeling like things were happening too fast and I needed space. I wanted my independence.’
She spent a fortnight alone in New York last July, during which she basked in the freedom she was craving and took time to reappraise everything: her relationship, her career.
'They were the most magical two weeks. I came back to London so happy and so pumped, so ready for the world. I highly recommend time to yourself.’
She wrote most of her album during that trip and its title is a question aimed at herself. La Havas might be making a name for herself writing about the love of men but, she says, 'it’s the love you have for yourself that’s most important’.
"No Room For Doubt (featuring Willy Nelson)
"Lost & Found"
JOOLS HOLLAND PERFORMANCES:
"No Room For Doubt"
I really can't wait for "Is Your Love Big Enough?". I saw her on Jools Holland last year and got the "Lost & Found" EP straight away and then got the "Forget" EP and "Lost & Found" Record Store Day vinyl after that. Saw her live for the first time last night (7th May) and she was spellbinding!
Both of her EPs have been fantastic. Looking forward to finding out what makes the album.