Laura Mvula, the acclaimed British singer and composer, will receive an honorary doctorate from Birmingham City University at a ceremony this month at Symphony Hall, marking her outstanding contribution to music.
The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire composition graduate and city native is set to receive the honour from the University’s Chancellor and fellow Midlander Sir Lenny Henry before an audience of music and art graduands at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on Tuesday 23 July (from 2.30pm).
I'm humbled and delighted to be receiving such an immense honour. From primary school through to Conservatoire studies, Birmingham - with its richness and diversity - was the soil in which the seeds of my formative years of music were sown. The Conservatoire gave me the tools and confidence to experiment and express myself. It's incredible to think that from this wonderfully inspiring place, so many amazing opportunities have been mine and I have developed into the artist I am today - and am still growing. I'm so grateful.Laura Mvula
Recognised as one of the brightest musical talents to emerge from the city in recent years, following a place on the Brits Critic’s Choice Award shortlist Laura achieved mainstream global success in 2013 with the release of breakout single ‘Green Garden’ and debut album Sing to the Moon that year, landing her first of two Mercury Prize nominations.
The songwriter and musician’s unique exploration of jazz, R&B, soul and pop – drawing on her classical training at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire - produced a now Gold-certified work described as ‘bewitchingly beautiful’, ‘the fanfare arrival of a unique new voice’ and ‘an extraordinary sensation of light, air, and space’ by international music critics.
Laura has gone on to record, perform and collaborate with some of the biggest names in contemporary and classical music including Niles Rogers, Tom Odell, London Symphony Orchestra, Jules Buckley and the Metropole Orkestra – including a concert as part of the BBC Proms – and released second album The Dreaming Room in 2016.
Crowned MOBO Best Female Act and Best R&B Act 2013, Birmingham City University Alumna of the Year in 2014, and Ivor Novello Album Award winner in 2017, the 32-year-old laid foundations for her career following her graduation from the prestigious Conservatoire as a member of a capella group Black Voices and in the role as director of Lichfield Community Gospel Choir.
In 2018, the world premiere of a new Laura Mvula work ‘Like A Lion’ at BBC Proms, which set three poems by the Nigerian poet and novelist to a gospel-inspired collection of three pieces of music, was warmly received by critics and audiences alike. Later that year, Laura performed in the world class Symphony Hall as the special guest of singer, musician and producer David Byrne.
The Birmingham City University alumna’s song ‘Sing to the Moon’, taken from her 2013 debut album, will feature in the 2019 Last Night of the Proms concert, with Sakari Oramo conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at the Royal Albert Hall. The concert will be broadcast across BBC One and Two.