Three writers Millie Woodrow, Beth Lee and Cristina Maino tell us what’s on their musical wishlist this Christmas. What’s on yours?
New Music from Laura Mvula! Millie Woodrow
Contemporary soul performer Laura Mvula has spent the last three years crafting her third album, and I cannot wait to hear her labour of love. The multi-instrumentalist from Birmingham has been releasing clips from the studio since May, and Mvula’s new album, the title of which is yet to be revealed, promises to cement her status as a master storyteller. The released clips and live streams show signs of her characteristic blend of spirituality and powerful vocals, bass hooks and big feelings.
When Laura Mvula returns with new music in 2021, we’ll wonder how we ever lived without her
Mvula recently posted to her Twitter, saying “singles culture is lit but let’s get back to the art of album making. We need heavier meals…especially now.” Social media response to Mvula’s teasers seems a testament to this; people are reaching out to Mvula’s work as a lifeline.
While we wait, though, I would recommend Mvula’s first album to anyone who, like myself, is feeling uncertain of how to approach this Christmas against a background of instability. Sing To the Moon is the most beautiful album about isolation and loss. As Mvula herself puts it; “true music has actual healing power”. When Laura Mvula returns with new music in 2021, we’ll wonder how we ever lived without her.
Recognition for Smaller Female Independent Artists! Beth Lee
At the top of my musical wish list is recognition for smaller female independent artists, specifically Lizzy McAlpine and Avery Lynch. Now, I will embarrassingly preface this by admitting that I found both of these artists on TikTok. Lizzy went viral on the app with her short song ‘you ruined the 1975’ a few months ago and since then her following has grown massively. Avery posts songs on the app inspired by the comments of her followers who request that she puts her brilliant songwriting into specific scenarios, e.g. falling out of love with someone.
I may be greedy, but one big project from each of these women is simply not enough for me
Both have independently released music this year. For Lizzy, it was her debut album Give Me a Minute, a beautiful compilation of mostly acoustic pop songs carried by her soft but diverse vocals. For Avery, it was her first-ever EP To Love Someone Else, a 6-track pop journey through the highs and lows of romance. I may be greedy, but one big project from each of these women is simply not enough for me. In 2021 I want to watch them develop into bigger and better artists. I suppose if I was being really wishful we might even hear a collaboration between the two.
New Music from Ama Lou! Cristina Maino
Ama Lou is a North London-based R&B singer-songwriter who wants you to know she’s “serious about her sh*t!” Her sound is soulful, rich and effortlessly bounces between delicate piano and bass-heavy trap-hop. The cherry on top? Her consistent, mesmerising and unmistakable vocal performance.
Although she was only 19 at the time, the film boasts an impressively grounded musical and visual identity
She turned heads with her self-directed debut EP-short film ‘DDD’ in 2018, which documents a fictional Ama Lou in an LA crime ring amid breath-taking shots of her navigating the Californian desert. Although she was only 19 at the time, the film boasts an impressively grounded musical and visual identity, which she has carried forward into other projects since.
2019 saw her release the brilliant 5-track EP Ama, Who? which she was set to tour in early 2020. Of course, given the mess that was this year, I’m hoping 2021 will be a little more obliging and that maybe I’ll finally be able to see her perform live. After two EPs and a handful of singles, it would be incredible to see a full LP from Ama, which will hopefully be accompanied by more of her signature visuals.