Artist Spotlight: Lianne La Havas

While my recent foray into the Lana Del Rey debate and debacle was entertaining, some of you commented that there are a plethora of talented musicians we could focus our energy on instead; perhaps those whose popularity is not driven partly by controversy and clever branding. I understand what you’re saying, so allow me the pleasure of introducing to you an emerging young artist that truly deserves your attention and time. Her name is Lianne La Havas.

Lianne is a 22-year old multi-instrumental singer and songwriter who hails from the United Kingdom and who has brought a wonderful meld of folk, pop and soul music with her. With the epidemic of ‘artists’ relying on gimmicks for attention, Lianne’s presentation of her product is simplistic and beautiful. She’s a girl who is seemingly wise and talented beyond her years, a girl who works out the complex matters of life, love and emotion via the lovely and haunting melodies she creates. Her ability to stand on stage and be so comfortable with her instruments and her words is stunning. All this girl needs is her voice and her guitar. (Amy Winehouse in 2003, anyone?)

It gets better. At a time where poorly written songs are all too common, Lianne’s lyrical content is the stuff dreams are made of. She crafts vivid and lovely stories that reflect on our perceptions of love (and Age) with ease. She sings universal truths about those tricky emotions that we’ve all felt and offers insight on life that is beyond her years. And her voice? A soft and sultry instrument with a subtle, yet beautiful vibrato that resonates strong at the softest tones and sores on the highest, loudest notes.

Lianne’s melodic tunes are rooted in folk and pop while her voice is jazz and soul. Comparisons to Corinne Bailey RaeAndreya Triana and Adele are currently abound and somewhat accurate, although I’d be more inclined to say she has an Amel Larrieux voice with Esperanza Spalding‘s instrumental talent. And her own take on these comparisons? “Nothing like Corinne Bailey Rae or Andreya Triana, but we all have similar hair.” 

Still accessible and humble enough to reach out to her growing fanbase, Lianne has always made herself available by the Facebooks and Twitters for light conversation or to show appreciation for comments; a trait I love in any human being, especially musicians. La Havas’ has been bubbling on the scene for a minute, but it wasn’t until her landmark performance on Jools Holland last October when the world started taking notice. Her powerful renditions of “Age” and “No Room For Doubt” caught attention of the ever awesome Bon Iver, who instantly signed her on to tour as their opening act.

Since then, Lianne’s been busy prepping her platform for takeoff; placing her Live in LA EP on Soundcloud for all to hear, releasing her first official video clip “Forget” (below) and announcing a tour with the Bombay Bicycle Club in April. If you’re lucky to be Audiostradding around Europe, catch her on tour.

Be sure you check her collection on iTunes and YouTube and tell me what you think. Looks like the start of something good, of something organic and real. Listen and enjoy.


Ericka is the woman behind one of Autostraddle’s favorite music blogs, Music Nerdery. Check it out!

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


has written 6 articles for us.


  1. Awesome, I’ve been listening to her on Grooveshark – a bunch of live tracks, and she seems totally charming – with a wonderful voice. Makes it seem so easy, the way she sings, just a perfect texture and tone..

    • its almost uncanny how they parallel. the guitar, the voice… i just think this one will be staying sober longer.

    • The first video gave me a very “Amy in 2003 singing a lost track from St. Vincent’s first album” vibes. Needless to say, I’m feeling it.

  2. She’s amazingly talented and beautiful! Just from watching these videos, her personality really seems to shine through when she performs. The soft soulfulness with which she sings coupled with a unique blend of genres reminds me a little bit of Little Dragon and Chan.

    Thanks Ericka for the post, I’ll definitely be visiting Youtube to listen to more!

    • haha. little dragon is also a popular comparison. LD’s lead singers voice is a bit more high pitched, but same range.

      really really glad you enjoyed it. thats what im into. :D

      • Yep, I totally thought Little Dragon when I heard her (coincidentally, I’m going to a Little Dragon gig soon, yay). Similar voice, and similar personality to that voice as well

  3. When I saw her open for Bon Iver she kept thanking the audience and taking photos of us on her phone and being all-around totes adorable. Also, talented.

    • I also saw her open for Bon Iver, and though that was not the first time I had heard her, it truly cemented my appreciation for how talented she is. She has such a way with words, and a stage presence that is beyond compare. Plus, she is so humble! And so genuinely happy to be performing and engaging/appreciative of her audience.

  4. i saw her a while back at a gig in a church here in London and she was absolutely incredible. really charismatic and her voice just blew me away. definitely check her out if you have the chance!

    • shes going on tour… dont know if it included london, but check the links up there. she might be headed back.

  5. Oooh she lives round the corner from me and drinks in the bar opposite my house.

    *basks in reflected glory*

    *realises needs more than that to make self cool*

    *goes back to knitting*

Comments are closed.