Mercury Prize contender 2013: Laura Mvula


Laura Mvula

The artist

Laura Mvula is a singer-songwriter from Birmingham who caught the music world's attention with her track Green Garden released in February.

She has been singing in gospel groups for years, which is evident in the music she is releasing now.

Mvula was working as a receptionist when she was discovered and eventually signed to RCA.

The 27-year-old made it onto numerous ones to watch in 2013 lists, including the BBC's Sound of 2013 and The Brits Critics' Choice.

She lost out to Tom Odell and Haim respectively.

The album

Laura Mvula's Sing To The Moon is one of five debut albums on the shortlist.

It was released in March this year and got to number eight in the official UK chart.

She said she was completely surprised.

"Of course I wanted it in a sort of way, if this happens it will be a dream," she explained.

"In the moment I felt really tense and lots of people think I'm going to get nominated and, 'What if I don't?'"

"But yes it is such an honour, it's fantastic."

Sing to the Moon
Image caption Laura Mvula's debut album went to number nine in the UK album chart

What the judges say

"This is what I think of as a musician's record," said Simon Frith, head of the judging panel for the Mercury Prize.

"She's a great musician. You can hear something of the many great musical elements that go into how she thinks about music.

"Whether it is having gone to do classically-trained composition at college but also having come up through gospel singing.

"She is somebody who seems to me to command the things that are necessary to make sophisticated popular contemporary music.

"You get a record which on the face of it would seem fairly standard, what contemporary British pop music sounds like.

"But it is endlessly fascinating how she makes it more complex in the way everything is woven together."

The odds

Laura Mvula is joint favourite to pick up the £20,000 cheque with Disclosure.

She has always been one of the frontrunners for the prize. If she wins, Mvula will be the fourth female solo artist to have taken home the prestigious award.

The winner will be announced on 30 October at a ceremony at London's Roundhouse venue.

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