Who Am I Listening To: Lianne La Havas

From working with Alicia Keys, Prince, Paloma Faith and Alt-J to making her way to the iconic Glastonbury Festival, Lianne La Havas is one name locked away in our playlists.

British singer-songwriter and record producer, Lianne Charlotte Barnes, professionally known as Lianne La Havas is renowned for her unfiltered neo-soul sound and songwriting.

Early on in her career, she garnered the attention of a selection of prominent musicians, including Paloma Faith, who she ended up singing backing vocals for and learning a great deal from.

In 2010, she signed to Warner Bros Records and spent the following two years purely dedicated to honing her songwriting before releasing anything publicly.

Since signing, the first project she dropped was her EP, ‘Lost & Found’.

It was until the following year when she released her debut studio album, ‘Is Your Love Big Enough’ which was very well received, nabbing iTunes’ Album of the Year 2012.

It was from there things really started to propel forward, La Havas supported Alicia Keys at MTV ‘Crashes’ Manchester to a crowd of around a thousand in Manchester Cathedral.

She even made her way to grace the stage at one of the globe’s most iconic music festivals, Glastonbury Festival 2013.

In 2014, she appeared on Alt-J’s album, ‘This Is All Yours’ and made a prominent presence on Prince’s, ‘Art Official Age’, featuring on two tracks, ‘Clouds‘ and ‘Way Back Home’.

Inspired by a trip wiht her mother to Jamaica, La Havas’ second album, ‘Blood’ blessed our speakers in July 2015.

Those listening to ‘Blood’ for the first time should expect to hear themes of love, relationships and identity interwoven with La Havas’ roots, culture, nostalgia and longing for something she has never really experienced ringing through.

The album speaks volumes, tapping into those unspoken challenges we often face in figuring out who we are as young adults, such as loneliness and belonging, plus the growth that comes with it all.

However each song remains seamlessly interwoven, flowing from one another with an effortless fluidity alongside sprinkles of pop, reggae and even old-school jazz influences.

Her third self-titled studio album only dropped last year and features two lead singles, ‘Bittersweet’ and ‘Paper Thin’.

If you haven’t already given this one a listen then you better crank it up sooner rather than later as the album has received plenty of praise from The New York Times chief pop music critic.

Now let ya gal break down some of the most golden Lianne La Havas tunes to spice up ya playlists below.

After five years of no new solo music, ‘Bittersweet’ marks La Havas long-awaited return to the music scene. Closing the chapter on a relationship, this tune was greatly inspired by some of the poetry she was immersed in at the time.

“I really like poetry and I was influenced by some of the poetry I was reading at the time and the idea of repeating a word to give it this whole different meaning,” she told Genius.

In fact, ‘Bittersweet’ was originally put on hold for a whole month due to the pandemic but was later premiered on BBC Radio 1 with Annie Mac and became the lead single off her third album.

Produced by Paul Epworth, ‘Unstoppable’ is the lead single from La Havas’ sophomore album, ‘Blood’. The tune was specially written “to help repair a relationship she ended”.

What makes this tune so beautiful is how La Havas songwriting juxtaposes feeling and emotion with facts and science. She relays her emotions simply through imagery of space and science, linking to the common notion that love is often an unexplainable concept.

“But it’s just gravitational, we are unstoppable, I just can’t escape the pool,” she sings.

‘Can’t Fight’ is quite an upbeat, light-hearted tune with some rather solid lyrical content. Just a lil surprise you may not know, Mura Masa was one of the producers behind the sound of this track.

Here, La Havas delves into intimate complications surrounding abandoning young relationships and how its oftene not as simple as just ‘leaving’ someone which you can simply hear echoing through her vocals.

“A little peace, a little love, a little bliss, is that enough?” she sings.

Want more? Go on, grab yourself a well-deserved cuppa and take a listen to Lianne La Havas’ latest self-titled album HERE.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s