With festival season in full swing Flavourmag caught up with singer Lianne La Havas to talk about her festival must-haves and when we can expect from her sophmore album.
You performed at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival not too long ago – what did you want people to take away from your performance?
Hopefully that I did a really nice music performance with emotion. (laughs)
There are a lot of young British musicians like yourselves that are helping to drag jazz festivals like this into the 21st century and I guess to attract a younger audience – how do you feel about being a part of this transition?
I feel great about it – being the age that I am I really enjoy music of this nature for the very reason that other young people can’t as well. I’ve noticed Laura Mvula’s playing and that’s just a great thing for the future of music so I think it’s going to be a good one.
You’re performing at a few festivals over the summer – what are your festival essentials? What will you be carrying with you?
(Laughs) Always take baby wipes – just everywhere you go. Also a good rain Mac just in case and a pair of good boots whether they be wellingtons or Dr.Martens – always make sure you have a good pair of boots.
What else will you be wearing at these festivals or just in general over the summer?
I like my Dr. Marten boots they’re so practical, you can get them dirty and then the mud just falls off when you get home it’s great. I’ll probably have some sort of hoodie…because I personally tend to have bad hair at festivals so I find that if I’ve got a hood I can easily I can have some sort of head dress and disguise that it’s not so good at the moment. (laughs) Also probably some denim shorts and some sort of cropped t shirt because it makes you feel feminine but also very practical and very comfortable.
Sounds good to me. How would you describe your style – what are your wardrobe staples?
I think on stage it’s a bit more glamorous – I like to be sparkly and have a very sharp silhouette on stage. I like heels on stage as well. I would describe it as quite quirky with a little bit of a tomboy flair I think.
You were mentioning your hair at festivals and it gets a little messy. What kind of products do you use in your hair in general?
Well it might be better this summer because I’ve started using Kera Care leave-in conditioner, which is amazing, and I just leave the hair wet so that it can define the curls and just let it dry naturally or diffuse it. As long as you have oils on the hair and just moisture it’s okay a bit shiny.
Do you have a favourite hairstyle of yours that you’ve had?
I did have braids at the side once with a Mohawk in the middle so that was probably my favourite I’ve had so far.
What about your beauty regime, what do you do day-to-day for your skin?
I always cleanse – my cleansers tend to change but I have just started using this new one by Clarins, which is like a one step cleanser and toner mixed together and it makes your skin just feel really soft and takes away all the make up but doesn’t leave an oily residue or anything. I like to do some rose water spray to kind of balance the skin and it is just very refreshing and then I use Revive eye cream on the lower and upper lids and Jurlique replenishing day cream and that gets me by pretty much that’s my saviour. I really enjoy doing it – it’s a really long process but I really enjoy doing it.
Well I guess your skin sees the benefits of it.
It feels pretty good afterwards yeah – feels awake and alive!
Where were you and how did you feel the first time you ever heard your song on the radio?
I was at home in Hackney, my old house and I got a tweet somebody said it had been played on the radio so I went online and found it and it had been played on 6 music; I listened back and I cried. It was one of my covers that I did the cover of Final Form that I did and I wasn’t with the label at the time or anything it was just on the internet. It was played by Amelia Ede who does a blog it’s called New Music and she’s supported me from day one; I listened back and she played it and said really nice things about it so it made me cry. (laughs)
Your album was named iTunes album of the year, does that make you nervous or excited about releasing a second album?
It makes me very excited about it, I’m very excited to make it as well – to make the album to write for it and figure out how it’s going to sound. I’m just very excited about the whole process.
Is it too early to say? When can we expect a second album or have you been in the studio working on it?
Well I’m going to some time off because I’ve been pretty non stop since a year and a half ago. Then I’m going to the studio, I’m just going to lay down some ideas and see where it takes me – there’s no pressure yet or anything or any expectations I’m just going to use the time to be creative and see where it takes me.
“I really enjoy just feeling fit in my mind and body it helps me to relax”
You mentioned about having a bit of a break and time off. What kind of things would you like to do in your time off?
Well…(laughs) I would like to do some exercise I really enjoy just feeling fit in my mind and body it helps me to relax. I’ll probably get my nails done; I love getting my nails done and my feet done. I think I will get my hair done as well maybe have a trim. I’m going to sleep, I’m going to unpack because I’ve just moved house so I’m going to unpack my boxes and decorate my room and then sleep some more and cook. It’s going to be great I think
What’s your favourite thing to cook?
Well I quite like going home and then seeing what’s in the cupboards and creating a meal based on what’s there. I do like making chicken dishes I quite like doing stuff with chicken so whatever’s there I’ll work it around making some sort of chicken based dish.
Does any of your cultural heritage influence some of the things you cook?
It should more than it does I think but, I think my heritage has made me feel very eclectic about food and about life in general actually – it probably will start too.
Tell me about the time when you met Prince and Stevie Wonder. I know you’ve probably said it a million times but I want to hear now.
(Laughs) I never get tired of telling that story. I met Prince last year in March after he had discovered my music somehow and then contacted me about it. He was just expressing that he really liked it and that he was a fan so after we spoke on the phone he invited me to come and meet him at Paisley Park a year ago and we’ve stayed friends ever since. He greeted me with a big hug and we just sat down and we talked and listened to music, played guitar together and I just had a jam with him. That was the most surreal experience probably and then I met Stevie Wonder, which was just as surreal. He came to one of my shows that I did in LA and he really seemed to like it, which was amazing. He was so happy to meet me afterwards and meet all of my loved ones and we took pictures, talked for a bit and I got a bit emotional. It was all good fun and consequently I can now tell my grandchildren these stories.
As a child what is your most vivid memory?
Oh gosh…. probably getting my first keyboard – that was a cool one. I got a keyboard for my 7th birthday and just feeling like it was strangely that cool to play it and work out things in music terms. I started playing music then so that was my most vivid memory I think.
How does your family feel about your success?
They’re very, very happy for me and very, very proud. My mum is always looking at my Facebook and telling me what I’m going to be up to before I know what I’m going to be up to. She’s very pleased and so happy and my dad is as well. They just want me to follow my dreams and look after myself which I am doing I think so I’m very happy and amazed. They come to my shows, which is so adorable, and they’re meeting my band and friends and stuff – they love it!
Success to me is feeling like you’ve worked hard and feeling happy with the amount you have achieved
How do you define success?
Success to me is feeling like you’ve worked hard and feeling happy with the amount you have achieved because of that hard work. In music terms just making music that I am happy to put my name by and that’s my idea of success.
Is there anybody in the future that you would like to work with that you haven’t as yet?
Yes! I would love to sing with Erykah Badu one day as well as Prince and Stevie Wonder. They are my top three.
Well two of those you’re friends with now so you can probably make that happen!
Exactly (laughs)…I’ll be trying
If you wasn’t a singer/songwriter and musician what else would you be doing? Where do you think your career would have gone?
I’m not sure…I probably would have done something in the creative fields. Something like drawing or painting or design of some kind I would have liked to do or I would have liked to have been a dancer perhaps.