Laura Mvula interview: ‘The rush in London is bigger than anywhere else’

The BRIT-nominated soul singer tells us why she loves the pressure of the capital



Add +

Beautiful Nina Simone-alike soul singer Laura Mvula is from Birmingham but recorded her album ‘Sing to the Moon’ in west London, and played some of her earliest gigs in a tiny Soho club. She’s been nominated for Best Female and British Breakthrough Act at
The BRIT Awards.

What’s so great about London, then?
‘I’m Laura the Brummie, so I still feel like a bit of a foreigner over here. But at the same time, London injects a sense of excitement into this journey in a way that no other city can. If I’m playing a gig in London, it feels so important. The adrenaline rush here is bigger than anywhere else. I kind of like the pressure that London puts you under.’

You headlined at Shepherd’s Bush Empire last year…
‘Yes! It was amazing. London audiences have this reputation for being a bit too cool
for school. But people were really energetic and enthusiastic. Or maybe just drunk –
it’s hard to tell.’

Was that your favourite London gig?

‘No. That would be playing Golden Slippers at Blacks Club in Soho, back in 2012. The space was like a living room – you could only fit about 15 people in there, 20 at a push. In London there seem to be so many of these hidden away places, and that’s exciting to me.’

See Laura Mvula live in London


  • Critics choice

Elbow, Madness, Manic Street Preachers, Kelis, Anna Calvi, Laura Mvula, Temples, Stealing Sheep + more. Normally ill-served when it comes to fun in fields, south-east London got its own back in 2014 with the first instalment of this new two-day music festival. It’s back for 2015, with a dad-friendly line-up of mature indie bands (Elbow, Madness, the Manics) plus a trio of cool female singer-songwriters (Kelis, Anna Calvi and Laura Mvula) and a second stage booked by Heavenly Records. More music will be announced soon, including a stage booked by Gilles Peterson, who put together a tasty leftfield line-ups last year. There’s an equal emphasis on food again too, including a food village featuring live cooking demonstrations and a 'Chef's Club', and more family-friendly activities. Plus – new this year – get freaked out in a magic tent hosted by Dynamo.

  1. Blackheath Shooters Hill Rd, SE3 0TY
  2. Sat Sep 12 - Sun Sep 13
Buy tickets

Users say


Read more music features

Novelist’s party tips

Lots of booze, lots of bass and no loudmouth MCs – south London grime MC Novelist gives us the lowdown on how to throw a banging party

The Maccabees on ‘Marks to Prove It’, cheap DVDs and Elephant & Castle

Indie rockers The Maccabees tell us how eavesdropping on conversations around London helped inspire album number four

Why I love The Sonics

Tom Furse of The Horrors is bewitched by the raw rock ’n’ roll of the original garage band

Lianne La Havas on ‘Blood’, emojis and Prince

On her new album Lianne La Havas transforms from a breezy singer-songwriter into 
a full-blown, homegrown star. We get acquainted with Streatham’s finest

Why I love Cocteau Twins

Euan Ferguson marvels at the unearthly sounds made by a band from five minutes down the road

See all Time Out music features