Lianne La Havas has a lot of layers. For starters, she is a Greek-Jamaican Brit with a deep love of culture. At 23, she is very laid back. Wearing a large hoodie that covered the top-half of her face and baggy pants, as well as youthful demeanor and visage, one would think she could still be in her teens. She is charming, smiles when she talks, and has deep love for all types of music.
Lianne started off as a songwriter (she created her piece when she was 11), but did not pick up a guitar until she was 18. For her, it was simply wanting to take her writing and artistry to the next level. The result is her debut album “Is Your Love Big Enough”. It’s a question that Lianne herself posed to the audience at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver. Which is another thing, La Havas loves audience participation. At various points throughout the night she instructed to sing the chorus, clap, stomp, and help out on percussion. For someone so young, she certainly knows how to command a room.
Because of her age, gender, and nationality, some may put her in the same categories as contemporaries Adele, Joss Stone, Emile Sande and Lily Allen. While this is not an entirely unjustified comparison, there are several differences. While Adele and Joss Stone arguably have a slightly great range than Lianne, she is probably more versatile. Throughout her show she traveled through folk, soul, jazz, blues and rock, with a slight tint of reggae (no surprise given that her mother is Jamaican). This was all the more impressive considering the fact that she had been battling strained vocal chords for about a week.
Her musical abilities are quite good. In addition to her soulful voice – which is less husky than Stone’s – her guitar skills for impressive for someone who has only been playing the instrument full-time for the last five years. She can do happy, she can go sad. She can make the audience woeful with a ballad, or a pumped with a rocking jam. Depending on one’s mood or sensibilities, this show may not be for everybody, but music never is. I myself got very relaxed during the show (perhaps too much, nearly falling asleep a couple of times). This may seem like a bad thing, but I interpret as making me feel at ease. Also, Cher, Madonna, and Lady Gaga might want to watch their backs, as Lianne clearly has a gay following that will grow as she continues to grow.
“Is Your Love Big Enough?” was relased on July 9th, 2012
RIYL: Emile Sande, Joss Stone, Adele, Ellie Goulding