Press Play: Lianne La Havas

English songwriter Lianne La Havas is a creative force with her original amalgamation of pop, R&B, rock and folk music. Her music primarily relies on the playful relationship between her syncopated guitar patterns and warm, lilting voice. On each track, La Havas’ voice is a graceful wave that leaps, curls, and collapses with an effortless vibrato. At a time when pop sensibilities dominate contemporary music, La Havas is deliberately expansive and anything but mechanical.

On her 2015 album Blood, Lianne La Havas explored her Jamaican and Greek roots while meditating on love, showing her partiality to sinuous melodies and dreamily poetic lyrics. The albums’ lead single “Unstoppable” is a breezy jam fit for summer weather. The whimsical lyrics are warm and affirming, “Our polarity shifted around / There was nothing else left holding us down / But it’s just gravitational / We are unstoppable!” On Blood, La Havas handles her six-string acoustic with poise and precision while her even, powerful vocals ride syrupy rhythms with grace.

Lianne La Havas’ latest effort is a self-titled album that rifles through the aftermath of a breakup with confidence and repose. Her featherweight guitar work is primed with jazz and she leans into tricky folk melodies with likewise artistry. Her deft ability on the guitar is especially evident on single “Can’t Fight” which is detailed with skillfully fingerpicked notes. One of the major standout moments is “Paper Thin.” The track is one of La Havas’ most bare and vulnerable songs. The track is filled with guitar, drums, and a low bassline while her tremulous and rich vocals sound on the verge of tears.  “It’s your life / but you’re not the only one who’s suffering,” she sings, “I know you’re made of better stuff.”