While seeing Iron & Wine at The Fox Theater in Oakland, CA a couple weeks ago, I was lucky enough to catch show opener Laura Mvula. With a vocal style echoing back to Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald, I was taken back by the timelessness of Mvula’s voice, the soaring orchestral arrangements, and the sheer musicality of her band.
Touring in support of her major label debut, Sing To The Moon, pianist/vocalist Mvula took the stage with a harpist, drummer, upright/electric bassist, cellist and violinist. Although they mostly played acoustic instruments, the band could rock when they wanted to, and did especially on Sing To The Moon standout “Make Me Lovely.”
Sing To The Moon translates just as elegantly as Mvula’s live show. Tracked at the famed Electric Lady Studios, the record is tinged with a certain magic that is only magnified by producer Steve Brown and Amy Winehouse Back To Black mixing engineer, Tom Elmhirst. Mvula’s voice is the centerpiece on the record, and is accompanied by ornate orchestral parts on almost every song.
While up-tempo numbers like the previously mentioned “Make Me Lovely” and “Green Garden” surely catch the ear, it’s the moodier tracks found midway through the record (”Can’t Live With The World,” “Is There Anybody Out There?” “Father, Father”) which I enjoy most. These prove that Mvula’s talent is found equally in her voice as it is in her ability to write a great song.
Already a sensation in her home of the UK, it won’t be long before Mvula is recognized internationally for the gem that is Sing To The Moon.
Learn more about Laura Mvula here, and check out videos for album opener “Like The Morning Dew” and “Green Garden” below.
Tom Gilbert is a guitarist (and aspiring pedal steel player) living in the San Francisco Bay Area. When he’s not blogging for Acoustic Nation, eating Thai food or being obsessed with his dog, Tom does marketing and PR for music and audio companies with Mad Sun Marketing.