Sunday, 10 January 2016

Songwriter Sunday: Why I Think Laura Mvula Is Great (and You Should Too)

By Marshall Jacklin

I know the holidays are now over, but it is never too late to receive a gift, and that is exactly what Laura Mvula’s music is. Smart and delicate, big and bold, and just the right amount of bitter in the sweet, her songs have moved me ever since I was lucky enough to stumble upon her Tiny Desk Concert for NPR.

In them contains such space and breath, like an atmosphere that you can get swallowed up in. This is something that continues to intrigue me as a musician, because though her sound seems to have been influenced by minimalism, she's enveloped it in beautiful, sweeping arrangements. From her singing to her piano playing to her writing, she has the greatest elegance of style. 

Thus far, Mvula has only released two records, but they are both modern day masterpieces. Her first, Sing Me to The Moon, was as good as debuts get. Her second, Laura Mvula with Metropole Orkest, was a live recording of the same songs featured on Sing Me to the Moon, but with completely new orchestral arrangements, which blew my mind. For an artist as young as Mvula (aged 29) to be accomplished and confident enough to do that is amazing. This double release of the same songs in different configurations also shows the strength of her writing, that her songs have life beyond the first time they were put to tape. 

One in particular holds a special place for me, a room where I can go to forget my posture and receive the present of that sometimes elusive feeling, hope.

Listening to her again over the past couple of weeks has reminded me how much meaning music has in it, how it can renew your interior, and in turn affect your exterior. Laura Mvula’s music is important to me, music is important, art is necessary, otherwise it’s just back to the apes.

It is rare that a "new" artist grabs me so completely and fully; I cannot wait for whatever she does next. 

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