Laura Mvula

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Laura Mvula
Laura Mvula 2016.jpg
Mvula performing at the #SheWill event for Global Citizen, at The View from The Shard, London, 7 July 2016
Background information
Birth nameLaura Douglas
Born (1987-04-23) 23 April 1987 (age 32)
Birmingham, England
Genres Jazz & Gospeldelia
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, composer, record producer
Years active2012–present
LabelsRCA, Sony Music UK

Laura Mvula (née Douglas;[1] born 23 April 1987)[2][3] is a British recording artist, songwriter and composer. Her debut album, Sing to the Moon, was released on 4 March 2013, with an orchestral re-recording released on 11 August 2014. Her second album, The Dreaming Room, was released in 2016. Both albums were received to critical acclaim and garnered Mercury Prize nominations.

Early and personal life[edit]

Mvula grew up in the Birmingham suburbs of Selly Park and Kings Heath with two younger siblings and was influenced by the girl band Eternal. In her teen years she attended Swanshurst School for girls. Her mother is from Saint Kitts and her father is from Jamaica. In 2005, Mvula sang with Black Voices, an a cappella group set up by her aunt.[4][5] In 2008, she formed a jazz/neo-soul group called Judyshouse, singing lead vocals and writing material for the band.[6] Mvula was Director of the Lichfield Community Gospel Choir, founded by Black Voices and Lichfield Festival in 2009.[7] She has also previously directed the Alvechurch Community Choir.[8] Mvula graduated from the Birmingham Conservatoire at the Birmingham City University with a degree in composition.[9] While she was working as a supply teacher in a Birmingham secondary school, she started writing songs on her laptop.[9] She was working as a receptionist when she sent out two demos to several people in the music industry. One of them, Steve Brown, heard the songs and sent them to his manager, Kwame Kwaten, who would become Mvula's manager.[4] In a 2013 podcast for The Daily Telegraph, Mvula admitted to suffering from "crippling stage fright".[10]


2012–2014: Sing to the Moon[edit]

After several showcases, Mvula was signed by Colin Barlow to Sony subsidiary RCA. She released her debut extended play, She, on 16 November 2012. The title track is the first song Mvula ever wrote.[11] Her debut studio album, Sing to the Moon, was released on 4 March 2013.[12] She worked on the album with producer Steve Brown[13][14] and mix engineer Tom Elmhirst.[15] Paul Lester from The Guardian described her music as "gospeldelia", calling it a new musical genre.[1] The album was preceded by the single "Green Garden", an elegy to her home in Kings Heath.[4] On 6 December 2012, Mvula was shortlisted for the Critics' Choice award at the 2013 BRIT Awards.[16] On 9 December, she was nominated for the BBC's Sound of 2013 poll and finished in fourth position.[17] On 1 February 2013, she gave her first live TV performance on The Graham Norton Show on BBC One, singing "Green Garden".[18] Mvula stated her influences include Nina Simone, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, and Lauryn Hill.[19]

Sing to the Moon reached number 9 on the UK Albums Chart and within the top 100 in seven other countries, and reached 173 on the US Billboard 200. In October 2013, Mvula won awards for best female act and best R&B or soul artist at the 2013 MOBO Awards.[20]

Mvula performing at the
2014 Montreux Jazz Festival

In March 2014, Mvula re-recorded an orchestral version of her debut album Sing to the Moon in collaboration with the Metropole Orkest and conducted by Jules Buckley. This was released on 23 June 2014 as a high quality download via Bowers & Wilkins' Society of Sound[21] and on CD on 11 August 2014.[22][23] On 19 August 2014, Mvula performed with the Metropole Orkest at the Albert Hall as part of the 2014 BBC Proms Season, supported by Esperanza Spalding and ElectricVocals.

2016–present: The Dreaming Room[edit]

In January 2016, Mvula released "Overcome", a collaboration with Nile Rodgers, and the lead single from The Dreaming Room.[24][25] Mvula recorded "Sing to the Moon" with Snarky Puppy for the album Family Dinner - Volume 2, which was released on 12 February 2016. She began promotion for The Dreaming Room by performing "Overcome" on The Graham Norton Show on 29 January 2016 and on The Andrew Marr Show on 14 February 2016. On 19 March 2016, Mvula played the first live show of the album at the Jazz Maastricht Festival. On 22 March 2016, she previewed the entire album at Islington Assembly Hall. On 7 April 2016, Mvula released "People" from the album, a collaboration with Wretch 32. On 19 April 2016, Mvula released the second single from The Dreaming Room, "Phenomenal Woman". On 27 May 2016, Mvula released "Show Me Love". The Dreaming Room was released on 17 June 2016.[26]

In June 2016, Mvula performed on the Glastonbury Pyramid stage for the second time.[27]

In July 2016, Mvula performed, with Tom Odell, at the first UK event for "Global Citizen" and "Chime For Change", at The View from The Shard in London. The evening followed the launch of the #SheWill campaign, aimed at breaking down the barriers that prevent millions of girls worldwide from attending school.[28]

On 30 October 2016, Mvula appeared on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing singing her new single "Ready or Not".[29]

In April 2017, Mvula presented a Woman's Hour documentary discussing anxiety.[30] Mvula composed the music for the 2017 Royal Shakespeare Company production of Antony and Cleopatra, which opened in Stratford in March 2017 and later transferred to The Barbican Centre in November 2017.[31]

In April 2018, Mvula performed "I Put a Spell on You" as part of BBC One's The Queen's Birthday Party from the Royal Albert Hall in London.[32]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications

Sing to the Moon 9 33 26 40 93 15 11 16 15 173
The Dreaming Room
  • Released: 17 June 2016
  • Label: RCA
  • Format: Digital download, CD
21 52 170 23 [A] 85

Live albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions

Laura Mvula with
Metropole Orkest
conducted by Jules Buckley
at Abbey Road Studios
  • Released: 23 June 2014 (Digital download)
    11 August 2014 (CD)
    18 August 2014 (LP)
  • Label: RCA
  • Format: Digital download, CD, LP
61 184 26

Extended plays[edit]

Title Details
iTunes Festival: London 2012
  • Released: 16 November 2012
  • Label: RCA
  • Format: Digital download


Title Year Peak chart positions Album

"She" 2012 Sing to the Moon
"Like the Morning Dew"
"Green Garden" 2013 31 3 40 50 46 74
"That's Alright" 52
"You Work for Me" 2015 The Dreaming Room: Special Edition
(featuring Nile Rodgers)
2016 The Dreaming Room
"Phenomenal Woman"
"Show Me Love"
"Ready or Not" The Dreaming Room: Special Edition
"—" denotes a single that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Promotional singles[edit]

Title Year Album
(featuring Wretch 32)
2016 The Dreaming Room

Music videos[edit]

Title Year Director(s)
"Green Garden" 2013 Wendy Morgan
"That's Alright"
"She" Alex Southam
(featuring Nile Rodgers)
"Phenomenal Woman"
"Show Me Love" Damian Willers

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Organisation Category Result
2013 BRIT Awards Critics' Choice Award[16] Nominated
BBC Sound of 2013[17] Nominated[A]
Barclaycard Mercury Prize (Sing to the Moon)[47] Nominated
MOBO Awards Best Female Act[48] Won
Best R&B/Soul Act Won
Best Album (Sing to the Moon) Nominated
Urban Music Awards Artist of the Year[49] Nominated
Best Female Act Won
Best Newcomer Nominated
Q Awards Best New Act[50] Nominated
UK Music Video Awards Best Music Ad - TV or Online (Sing to the Moon)[51] Won
Best Pop Video - UK ("She") Nominated
MVPA Awards[52] Best Choreography ("That's Alright") Nominated
2014 Brit Awards British Breakthrough Act[53] Nominated
British Female Solo Artist[53] Nominated
NAACP Image Award Outstanding World Music Album[54] Nominated
Ivor Novello Awards Album Award[55] Nominated
BET Awards Best International Act: UK[56] Nominated
2016 MOBO Awards Best Female Act[57] Nominated
Best R&B/Soul Act Nominated
Best Album (The Dreaming Room) Nominated
Best Video (Phenomenal Woman) Nominated
UK Music Video Awards Best Pop Video - UK ("Overcome")[58] Nominated
Hyundai Mercury Prize (The Dreaming Room)[59] Nominated
2017 Ivor Novello Awards[60] Best Song Musically & Lyrically ("Overcome") Nominated
Album Award (The Dreaming Room) Won
Jazz FM Awards Soul Artist of the Year[61] Won
A^ Fourth place

Concert tours[edit]



  1. ^ The Dreaming Room did not enter the NZ Top 40 Albums Chart, but peaked at number 5 on the NZ Heatseekers Albums chart.[44]


  1. ^ a b Lester, Paul (31 December 2012). "Ones to watch in 2013: Laura Mvula". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  2. ^ Collar, Matt. "Laura Mvula". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  3. ^ "'Genius' talent Laura Mvula wows crowds at her New Orleans Jazz Fest debut".
  4. ^ a b c Jones, Alison (22 February 2013). "Birmingham singer songwriter Laura Mvula singled out to be music's next big star". Birmingham Post. Trinity Mirror. Archived from the original on 28 February 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  5. ^ "Black voices".
  6. ^ "judyshouse".
  7. ^ "lichfield choir".
  8. ^ "alvechurch community choir".
  9. ^ a b "Laura Mvula to support Jessie Ware on tour". Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  10. ^ Louisa Poocock, "Laura Mvula: 'I still suffer from stage fright. I'm terrified I'll be found out’", The Telegraph, 14 March 2013
  11. ^ Bedian, Knar (9 April 2014). "Honesty Is Their Policy: PHOX And Laura Mvula". Sound of Boston. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Sing to the Moon out now".
  13. ^ Alexis Petridis, "Laura Mvula: Sing to the Moon – review", The Guardian, 28 February 2013.
  14. ^ Neil McCormick, "Laura Mvula, Sing To the Moon, CD review", The Telegraph, 1 March 2013.
  15. ^ MacKay, Emily (5 March 2013). "Album Mixing for Sing to the Moon". The Independent. London.
  16. ^ a b "Brits Critics' Choice tips three new acts for 2013". BBC. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  17. ^ a b "Sound of 2013 Profile: Laura Mvula". BBC. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  18. ^ "Laura Mvula performs 'Green Garden' live on Graham Norton". The British Blacklist. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  19. ^ Lachno, James (29 November 2012). "influences". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  20. ^ Sean Michaels. "Laura Mvula among the big winners at the Mobo awards". the Guardian.
  21. ^ "Laura Mvula on recording an orchestral version of her debut album – audio interview". Q the Music. Archived from the original on 18 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  22. ^ "Laura Mvula with Metropole Orkest conducted by Jules Buckley at Abbey Road Studios (Live)". Amazon. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  23. ^ "Laura Mvula with Metropole Orkest at Abbey Road Studios". Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  24. ^ Elias Leight. "Laura Mvula Teams Up With Nile Rodgers On "Overcome"". The FADER.
  25. ^ "BBC Radio 1 – Annie Mac, Laura Mvula + Nile Rodgers + Future, Laura Mvula – Overcome (feat. Nile Rodgers)". BBC.
  26. ^ "The Dreaming Room". 17 June 2016 – via Amazon.
  27. ^ "Laura Mvula, 2016, Glastonbury - BBC Music". BBC. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  28. ^ "Laura Mvula Performs At Landmark Chime For Change Event". 8 July 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  29. ^ "Week 6 Results, Series 14, Strictly Come Dancing - BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  30. ^ "Laura Mvula: Generation Anxiety, Woman's Hour - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  31. ^ "Composers for Rome season - Royal Shakespeare Company". Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  32. ^ "Zoe Ball to present The Queen's Birthday Party on BBC One and BBC Radio 2". 16 April 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  33. ^ a b c "Laura Mvula > UK Charts". Official Charts Company.
  34. ^ "Discography Laura Mvula". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien.
  35. ^ a b c "Discografie Laura Mvula". Belgium (Flanders) Charts Portal. Hung Medien.
  36. ^ a b "Discography Laura Mvula". Danish Charts Portal. Hung Medien.
  37. ^ Peaks in France:
  38. ^ a b Peak positions for Ireland:
  39. ^ a b c "Discografie Laura Mvula". Dutch Charts Portal. Hung Medien.
  40. ^ "Discography Laura Mvula". New Zealand Charts Portal. Hung Medien.
  41. ^ "Discographie Laura Mvula". Swiss Charts Portal. Hung Medien.
  42. ^ "Laura Mvula – Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media.
  43. ^ "Certified Awards". Archived from the original on 6 February 2013.
  44. ^ "NZ Heatseekers Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 27 June 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  45. ^ " laura mvula".
  46. ^ "Laura Mvula – Chart History: Japan Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media.
  47. ^ "Mercury Prize – 2015 Shortlist – Albums of the Year".
  48. ^ "MOBO Awards 2013 – Nominations List Revealed! – MOBO Awards".
  49. ^ "Urban Music Awards – UMA- The World's No.1 awards show for HipHop, R&B, Soul, Jazz, Grime and Dance music".
  50. ^ "Q Magazine – Music news & reviews, music videos, band pictures & interviewsQ Magazine".
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^ a b "Nominees". BRIT Awards. Archived from the original on 28 November 2015.
  54. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  55. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  56. ^ "Beyonce & Jay Z Lead 2014 BET Awards". Billboard. 26 January 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  57. ^ "2016 MOBO Awards: See The Full Winners List - MOBO Awards". Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  58. ^
  59. ^ "See the 2016 Shortlist". Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  60. ^ "Winners Announced for the Ivor Novello Awards 2017 – The Ivors". BASCA. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  61. ^ "Jazz FM Awards". Retrieved 30 March 2018.

External links[edit]