I first saw Laura Mvula at Camden Crawl in May 2012 (see my review here). I had no idea who she was and I don’t think anyone else in the room did either. But she blew me away. She was shy, endearing, and clearly unaware of her massive talent. At the end of the show I asked her what her name was and wrote in my phone ‘Laura Muvula’. When I looked for her online presence I found nothing at all, not even anything on the ATC management website, and it was their showcase she played at.
Some months later, she appeared again. With a song called ‘She‘ which I must admit I didn’t really take to at first. Then it all started happening pretty quick for her, bloggers loved it and she was nominated for the Brits Critic Choice award. A few months after that we have now got her full length debut, Sing to the Moon.
And oh boy what a debut. Sing to the Moon is everything you want in a first record; confident, unique and a showcase of an incredible new talent. From the opening lines of ‘Like the Morning Dew’ you feel like you have entered a brand new sound world. Sitting somewhere between Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, Nina Simone and traditional gospel music, Laura Mvula’s songwriting is catchy and effortless. She is clearly an incredibly naturally gifted writer, and this shines through particularly in the arrangements of the music. The strange us of an almost brass band lead orchestra works incredibly well, and adds to the albums feel of ‘this is something that has never been done before’.
I could go through every track on this record, but every single one is as brilliant as the next. My personal favourite is current single ‘Green Garden’, which is guaranteed to be one of the anthems of this summer. Title track ‘Sing to the Moon’ is also rather special.
Laura Mvula has made the first great album of the year, don’t pass her off as another Rumer or Duffy, she’s got a lot more to her. Like this record, her talent is layered and intricate, and must be listened to to be appreciated. As someone wrote on twitter, ‘Can I live in the Laura Mvula record?’