From her 2012 debut to collaborations with heavy-hitting artists like Prince, Lianna La Havas has had quite a ride over the past few years. Her sweet, soulful sounds, takes an eclectic turn, but stays true to what first made her fans fall in love with her in her latest album, Blood.
She began work on this record while visiting family in Jamaica, and has said that in nearly every case, a single rhythmic phrase served as the trigger or guiding idea. She engaged many top shelf collaborators for the project, including dancehall producer Stephen McGregor, Adele co-writer Paul Epworth and producer Mark Batson. All of them seize upon and work to magnify the dramatic contrasts that La Havas leans on in her writing. Perhaps the most vivid example arrives late in the record, on a song called “Never Get Enough” co-written with Batson. It’s another affirmation of a lover, and though it starts out all sleek, in a seafaring Sade mood, it goes much stormier when La Havas begins shouting, as if through a bullhorn. She’s all the way in it, doesn’t seem to care if she sounds unhinged. Her sudden unhingedness might be the point.
La Havas recently premiered the album exclusively with NPR, have a listen to some of the tracks below.