I, like you, never heard of Ms. La Havas when suddenly, I read the August issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine, and the feature about her truly intrigued me. La Havas was born on August 23, 1989 in London, England and has both Greek descent (on her father’s side) and Jamaican descent (on her mother’s side). She was basically raised by grandparents following her parent’s separation as a child. Lianne began singing at age seven and claims her parent’s diverse musical tastes as the influence behind her own musical upbringing. She learned piano and guitar from her father who was a multi-instrumentalist. She wrote her first song at the age of 11 but didn’t learn to play guitar until she was eighteen. Although she was born Lianne Barnes, her stage name Lianne La Havas is a head nod to her Greek father’s surname.
Singer-songwriter Allan Rose ended up introducing La Havas to multiple people in the industry that would end up helping her record her first demo, and one of those people happened to be the great Paloma Faith, whom La Havas sang backing vocals on tour with Faith. Her music career finally started in 2010 when she was signed to Warner Brothers, developing her songwriting skills for two years before releasing music to the public.
Her first EP Lost & Found was released on October 21, 2011. Following this, she supported Bon Iver on their North American tour in December 2011. Her debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? was named iTunes Album of the Year after being released in July 2012. Two years later, La Havas performed with the likes of Alicia Keys and as a featured vocalist alongside Prince on a November 2014 episode of Saturday Night Live.
In 2015, La Havas released her second album entitled Blood. Inspired by a trip with her mother to Jamaica, she decided to change up her sound a bit. The first single “Unstoppable” was released on April 1, 2015. With this song, she builds a new sound matched to the likes of Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse. It has easy-going instrumentals, but features uplifting lyrics. All songs were co-written by La Havas. It debuted at #52 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 200 chart.
Despite the low number on the chart, La Havas is a star in the making shown by her unique vocal talent and songwriting ability.
By Chelsea DeVries