With a hit record and a unique sound, Lianne La Havas has burst out of Britain fully-formed. Despite being just twenty-three years of age, La Havas has captured ears with a handful of EPs and last year’s Is Your Love Big Enough?, her critically-acclaimed debut album. The LP scored big on the British charts, earning the young singer nominations for the BBC’s Sound of 2012 contest and the Mercury Prize. iTunes dubbed it the album of the year, and Bon Iver picked up La Havas as a tour mate after the two artists appeared on Later…With Jools Holland together.
It’s all coming pretty fast for La Havas, but that’s due to her obvious skill. Born in London, she grew up in a particularly musical household: her Greek father taught her guitar and piano, while her Jamaican mother introduced her to reggae and performed with Mary J. Blige and Jill Scott. La Havas took all these disparate sounds and turned them into her own style, singing backup in bands while in art school before dropping out to pursue her own solo career.
Is Your Love Big Enough? shows off the many talents of La Havas–her songwriting, her singing, and her guitar-playing, and the title track is a perfect example. La Havas sings about her second-hand guitar–a hollow body 1964 Danelectro Silvertone, for all you guitar freaks–summers in New York, dancing, and ice cream, and yes, the song is as joyous as those subjects. For La Havas, these small moments add up to a bigger whole, and as a performer she straddles the line between intimate and outsized. In other words, she’s ready for her SXSW close-up. You can catch her live on Saturday at the Four Seasons, starting at 10 AM.