Laura Mvula is the definition of passion and talent, mixed with killer beauty and charm. I was incredibly lucky to get tickets to her concert at the Wales Millennium Centre on June 11th. Not only did I get tickets, but I also scored decent seats (second row) for a change. I usually end up in the nose bleed seats and leave with a crooked neck.
I was kind of late to the Mvula party in all fairness. It was while randomly watching an episode of Graham Norton when I stumbled upon her striking appearance and unique voice. If I get into a musician, I really get into them. I’m talking listening to the same album on repeat for weeks. Every harmony, lyric, inflection and beat becoming stored in my bank of musical greatness.
Laura was playing as part of the Festival of Voice in Cardiff. Support came from French singer and exceptionally talented musician, Yael Naim. Switching between guitar and piano, she was a joy to watch and listen to. Her song ‘Coward’ was a particular highlight.
Just before the main show began, I quickly counted up the equipment on stage. A cello, an electric cello, drum machine, two keyboards, violin, two guitars, bass, double bass, harp, drums, keytar, 5 or 6 microphones and I’m probably missing something. This band don’t mess around.
When Laura hit the stage, the excitement was unreal! The whole band walked onto the stage during a moment of complete darkness. ‘Overcome’ lit up the entire venue and hearing her voice blast across the speakers was exactly how I had pictured it. Being so close to the stage, I could feel the positive energy radiating from her face. Her smile beamed as she clutched her bright white keytar against her androgynous blue blazer.
Laura commands the stage, but not in a demanding way. She can switch from down to earth Birmingham gal to an otherworldly artist at the drop of a beat. That realness is inspiring. She talks to the audience as though its a one on one conversation, no sign of insecurity or nerves. Her approach to performing is natural and free. So much so, she gave us a rendition of ‘Diamonds’ entirely acapella, just after she delicately removed her painful stilettos.
I’d had quite a bad day before this gig, to the point where I wanted to stay in bed and not venture to the Millennium Centre. I forced myself out, held my husband’s hand and kept telling myself everything would be ok. Her performance comforted me and made me feel at ease.
Her voice is inspiring. As a singer myself, it’s an element which I can’t help but fixate on. She has such control and never sticks to the script but rather sings what feels right in the moment. I love that type of singing.