The 23-year-old singer-songwriter and guitarist, who has been compared to Adele, swept critics after her TV debut. One said her voice seemed to make time stand still.
‘She grew up in London. Her father is an amateur jazz musician and a bus driver. When her parents divorced, she went to live with her grandmother and started singing when she was 7. La Havas credits her teachers for encouraging her to keep at it.
“It got to the point where I was having singing lessons, but I wasn’t able to afford them,” she says. “Then my head teacher said she’d pay for the lessons so I could continue. I thought that was amazing. She said, ‘You can’t not sing.’ ”
La Havas is also crazy about the guitar. She named the guitar she plays now “Miss Connie,” after the grandmother who raised her. When she was learning to play, she discovered not only inspiration but also instruction on YouTube. She came across the late jazz guitaristÂ Emily Remler. La Havas was especially taken with Remler’s version of “Red Blouse Bossa Nova.”
‘Musically, La Havas is very different from Adele, but Alison Howe, producer ofÂ Later with Jools Hollandsays in some ways they are cut from the same cloth.
“They have great voices. They have unique styles, that are unique to them,” Howe says. “They’re not being someone else. They’re being themselves. They’re natural singers and songwriters.”
Howe notes that, in the case of Lianne La Havas, her skills will only continue to grow.’