Monday, 29 April 2013

Lianne La Havas at Corona

Lianne La Havas  |  Corona Theater

                    PHOTOS  |  MIRA DAHN

When the lights finally dimmed at the Corona Theater on April 5th, signifying the British songstress Lianne La Havas would be appearing on stage momentarily, an eruption of excitement overtook the theater. She emerged in tight, red shimmering pants, a black and white diamond long-sleeve crop top, a metallic belt that read “When Doves Cry”, and skyscraper high wedge boots that navigated without a hint of hesitation.  Standing alone on stage stage, she opened with the beautiful ‘No Room For Doubt’, leaving no doubt in my mind that it was going to be an amazing show.

By the end of the first song she had the audience responding to her line “We all make mistakes…” with a powerful “We do!”. With her infectious smile and bubbly personality she kept the room captivated and engaged.  Earlier that day Lianne had described the highs of touring to me as being constantly exciting, “The high points are just when you play every night and you have the adrenaline and you see a lot of cool people who know the words to the songs! Stuff like that always makes me happy.”

Lianne has had a very impressive commencement in the music industry; her debut record release Is Your Love Big Enough? was named iTunes Album of 2012. She has been on tour with talented artists such as Bon Iver and Bombay Bicycle Club and is looking forward to a summer full of festivals and more shows.  She told me “I’d always liked music, and I had grown up being interested in singing.  But it wasn’t until about four years ago that I decided to start learning to play the guitar. And it was from then on that I wanted to share my music publicly.”

La Havas sang effortlessly throughout the evening while performing a diverse set of songs. Without showing any sign of strain, she journeyed through soft and tender love songs and powerful ballads about disheartening past relationships and ensuing breakups. It’s rare to find an artist with such contrasting songs that are all moving and entrancing. The fact that it’s coming from someone so young and new to performing makes it all the more impressive.

Her silky vocals accompany her soulful, emotional lyrics perfectly. Each song is a tale of personal feelings; she admits she chooses to write about her life and what is going on in the forefront of her mind. When asked whether it was difficult to write about such personal details and share them with the world she immediately explained, “Songwriting is a way that many people open up regarding their feelings. It’s just an expression and it came very naturally to me.”

I am certain by the ease in which she performs that songwriting isn’t the only talent that comes naturally to Lianne La Havas. Throughout the evening she skillfully navigated through jazzy chords and complex vocals. She even used the audience as human percussion, having them stomp and clap along to her lighthearte pop single “Is Your Love Big Enough”. The charming and genuine La Havas describes her career so far as life-changing. There is a great deal of buzz surrounding the incredible artist and it will be interesting to see what comes next in her career. She plans to begin working on her next album in May when she has some time off before summer festivals.

As with many distinguished artists it’s easy to become a role model to your fans. Considering Lianne is my age, I thought it would be interesting to ask her what advice she might give to our generation, she replied insightfully, “I’d say just be honest. If you’re making music or being creative just be honest and tell the truth in your chosen art form. Don’t be scared of your own ability, just do, and it feels good.”

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