Laura Mvula (née Douglas) is a British soul singer-songwriter from Birmingham. Her debut album Sing to the Moon was released on 4 March 2013, with an orchestral re-recording released on 11 August 2014.
Early and personal life:
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 2005, Mvula sang with Black Voices, an a cappella group set up by her aunt. In 2008, she formed a jazz/neo-soul group called Judyshouse, singing lead vocals and writing material for the band. Laura was Director of the Lichfield Community Gospel Choir, founded by Black Voices and Lichfield Festival in 2009. She has also previously directed the Alvechurch Community Choir. Laura graduated from the Birmingham Conservatoire at the Birmingham City University with a degree in composition. While she was working as a supply teacher in a Birmingham secondary school, she started writing songs on her laptop. 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 Laura's manager. Laura is married to singer Themba Mvula. In a podcast for The Daily Telegraph, Mvula admitted to suffering from "crippling stage fright".
2012-14: Sing to the Moon:
After several showcases, Laura Mvula was signed by Colin Barlow to Sony subsidiary RCA. She released her debut extended play, She, on 16 November 2012. The title track, "She" is the first song Mvula ever wrote. Her debut studio album, Sing to the Moon, was released on 4 March 2013. She worked on the album with producer Steve Brown and mix engineer Tom Elmhirst. Paul Lester from The Guardian described her music as "gospeldelia", calling it a new musical genre. The album was preceded by the single "Green Garden". The song is an elegy to her home in Kings Heath. On 6 December 2012, Mvula was shortlisted for the Critics' Choice award at the 2013 BRIT Awards. On 9 December, she was nominated for the BBC's Sound of 2013 poll, and finished in fourth position. On 1 February 2013, she gave her first live TV performance on The Graham Norton Show on BBC One, singing "Green Garden". Mvula stated her influences include Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill.
Sing to the Moon reached number 9 on the UK Albums Chart and within the top 100 in seven other countries and has so far reached 173 in 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.
In March 2014, Mvula re-recorded an orchestral version of her debut album Sing to the Moon in collaboration with the Metropole Orkest, conducted by Jules Buckley. This was released on 23 June 2014 as a high quality download via Bowers & Wilkins' Society of Sound and on CD on 11 August 2014. 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.