It was October last year, on Jools Holland’s Later show, and La Havas brought the room to a halt with her haunting, spell-binding performance of Age. All eyes in the room focused on her and refused to divert, everyone was transfixed. Since then, things have been different for this soul star in the making. Advance tickets for this show sold out for starters, with only a smattering left on the door.
La Havas’s debut EP, Lost & Found, was released last year and featured a duet with US folkster Willy Mason on opening track No Room For Doubt. Her stripped- back, sparse sound is marked by its simplicity and directness – just a voice and acoustic guitar (an instrument she only picked up relatively late on). But what it lacks in complexity it more than makes up for in its ability to connect and affect, chiefly down to Lianne’s velvety vocals.
A storyteller and lyrical confidant, La Havas connects with the listener by conveying, simultaneously, a vulnerability and strength. Lost & Found reflects, mostly, on a former lover, with Lianne displaying a playfulness and wit too, as evidenced in lyrics like Age’s: “Is it a problem that he is old, so long as he does what he is told?” It’s time to catch her now before she explodes, which, with a debut album set for the spring, and new EP Forget out next month, won’t be long.
Tues, Jan 17, Doors at 8pm, £10
5 Little Portland St, W1W 7JD
Tube: Oxford Circus