About thirty seconds into her debut single, “She,” Laura Mvula introduces a choir. And the vocal arrangement is like the sun coming out. It’s reminiscent of what the Beach Boys did, but filtered by way of a black gospel choir of the best singers you could imagine. Behind Mvula and her choir, a chiming keyboard melody floats while drumbeats push things along. It is at once primal and delicate.
This is a glimpse into the unexpected world of U.K. singer-songwriter Laura Mvula. Unexpected because the tools she’s working with to create musical soundscapes are not in fashion right now. In an interview with Radio.com, she described her music as “orchestral soul” and explained her music making process.
Her debut album, Sing To The Moon, just saw its U.S. release on May 14, following a March release across the pond. Mvula says she drew inspiration for the album from a number of places: her training in classical music and composition, gospel music and the religious Caribbean community in the U.K., as well as reggae, blues and soul. She used the piano to improvise her compositions, noting, “I didn’t know any rules.”
Mvula is currently touring the U.S., with more dates in Europe to follow.