interview: afropunk paris performer laura mvula talks new music, finding balance on the road

July 14, 2017
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British Alt. R&B Queen and AFROPUNK vet, Laura Mvula took a break while touring to speak with us ahead of her performance at AFROPUNK Paris this weekend! The busy musician opened up about finding balance on the road, wearing her composer hat for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and post-show noms.

See Laura Mvula perform live this weekend, July 16-17, at AFROPUNK Paris.

1. You recently composed music for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2017 production of Antony and Cleopatra. How differently (or similarly) did you approach this project compared to working on a new album?

In was both similar and different. The differences were that initially Anthony and Cleopatra was a foreign stimulus – I didn’t know the play or story that well and even when I sat down to read it I was struggling to get my head around what was even happening in the Shakespearean dialogue! The first time I felt a grasp on it was when I went to a read-through with the actors and it all came to life just watching these supremely talented people take the words off the pages and bring out all the emotions and dynamics.
Once I had that the process was in a way familiar – I was tapping into the themes and using that to compose the music. I still have a huge interest in composing for film and TV so Theatre was a great place to explore the process.

2. Speaking of which, can we expect to hear any new music during your performance at AFROPUNK Paris?

It depends what you last heard! My performances are always about me expressing where I am emotionally at the time so in that respect they are always changing.

3. Being on tour right now, what grounds you through potential creative and personal restlessness?

Tour for me can actually be quite grounding. It’s often when I have the most consistent routine because there’s only so much you can do around a show. It helps a lot that I have my brother and sister in my band because there’s a part of performing and being together which is very familiar. My whole team are like family now as well. Every time I get on stage I’m creating – it may not be a new song or lyric but I do live through each performance and so much feeds into that – my mood, the audience, the sound and general vibe so there’s a certain adaptation that occurs naturally.

4. What stereotypically British comfort foods do you crave on the most on the road?

I don’t really crave anything too specific. Sometimes after a show I’m so drained I’ll have a burger and hot chocolate! I’m more likely to crave Caribbean food – Ackee & salt fish, plantain, rice and peas and fried dumplings!