Laura Mvula Released Her Voice. Ended in the 80’s.


Although “Sing to the Moon” broke into the top 10 in the UK and entered one of their singles, “Green garden,” Entered the British Top 40, accolades and awards did not equal more hits. Months before “The Dreaming Room” won the Ivor Novello award, the best British award chosen by songwriters, Sony Music reported in a short email that it had delisted Mvula. “I wasn’t used to the reality of the commercial music industry,” he said. “It was just too short. It was like, ‘That’s where your value to us ends’.”

Mvula was already reevaluating songwriting. “There was pressure on me and I set myself up to do something new,” he said. “I had all these labels in my head. You know, ‘He created his own genre of music, he created his own strip’. But then I thought to myself, ‘So what does that mean? Where will I go next?”

Between recording contracts, Mvula toured in the UK as the opening act for David Byrne. His nude shows caught the attention of Briony Turner of Atlantic Records UK, who is now the company’s co-chairman. Turner had wanted to sign Mvula before the Sony deal. Turner, from London, said: “He had moved to this unexpected new land and I was very surprised. I signed him because I think he is a genius. I love what he represents culturally and musically.”

Mvula told Turner that he was thinking about 1980s R&B and wanted to experiment with collaborators. He now admits that his ideas are vague. “I was bragging about making a record that I wanted to dance on, but it was a complete lie,” Mvula said. “I didn’t have a real plan. I didn’t have sketches, I didn’t have anything. I was just trying to make it a reality.”

With Atlantic’s help, Mvula experimented with “quick-dating” songwriting sessions. None worked until Turner suggested Dan HumeA New Zealand producer who co-wrote and co-produced the entire album with Mvula. “I knew very little that my life would change,” said Hume from South Wales.


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