Founded in 2007 by Thomas Sterchi and Marco Godat, Zermatt Unplugged has grown to become an important date on the European music scene. This year’s edition included 80 concerts that were held over five days on 14 different stages across Zermatt and its surrounding mountains.
Hublot is no stranger to the music scene. In 2014, the brand partnered with British band Depeche Mode for a charity concert and later an exclusive series of 250 watches. Its partnership with Zermatt Unplugged continues the brand’s love for music and makes perfect sense as it already has strong ties with the Zermatt Tourism Office and has the sweetest chalet-boutique at the foot of the Matterhorn.
Revolution joined Hublot for the last day of concerts to experience the unique atmosphere that Zermatt Unplugged brings to this ski resort. We also got the opportunity to chat to Greek/Jamaican/ British singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas just before she picked up her Hublot Classic Fusion and her guitar to deliver an electrifying performance.
Have you been to Zermatt before?
Never, but I love it. I arrived yesterday and it is just the most gorgeous little town.
Your songs are all very unique and different, how would you describe your particular style of music?
When it comes to recording, there are so many different possibilities and I respond to so many different textures. I think I’m quite an eclectic person, so I like to inject that into my music. Each song is about a different subject too, so I like to make the textures about what each song is about. Obviously when I am playing on my own, it is all just guitar and voice, so there is a thread with that, but I just like a lot of stuff. At the heart of it I really like nice cords and melodies and try to make the lyrics good and truthful too.
How does the creative process work for you?
Sometimes it happens all at once where I’ll be just playing something and then a song quickly unfolds with a whole subject and words and everything. Other times, I’ll make the music first and I’ll just have it playing. Maybe I’ll go to the bathroom and I’ll be hearing it in my head and I’ll think of a melody that way. Sometimes, I sing a bunch of nonsense at it and see what feels right, so there are different ways, but again, if the cords feel good, it has the right rhythm and it makes me feel good then I find that the melody happens quite quickly.
You grew up in the UK with a Greek father and a Jamaican mother; do you think these multicultural influences help you creatively?
I think it is interesting creatively because I love music from many cultures and listen to so much stuff. I love Brazilian music. I love Jamaican music, obviously, but not just reggae, there are a lot of other delights to be had in Jamaica. Greek music is beautiful to me too, as is Turkish, Middle Eastern and Indian music. I also like American music with jazz, soul and gospel that are all so appealing. So, I don’t know if it is because I’m mixed that I respond to all this stuff, or if it is just a musician thing. A lot of musicians I meet just like different weird stuff, and I discover things from talking to them too. I feel like it could be both aspects.
Who inspired you growing up?
Lauryn Hill, I loved the Fugees, she could sing and I just loved people who could sing really well and I loved funky stuff that I could dance to. But I did find that I responded a lot to female singers like Gill Scott, Erykah Badu and Ella Fitzgerald, who is probably my favorite singer of all time. There is Billie Holiday too, but I think that I appreciated her much later, and also Sade, who has a stunning tone, so elegant and sophisticated. She always picked the right notes in her songs, which I loved about her music. When I was about 11 or 12 I loved India Arie; I was obsessed with her voice and the fact that she played guitar was amazing to me too.
Is there anyone you would like to do a duo with?
Yes, Sade. I would love to sing with Sade. I would also love to sing with Emiliana Torrini, an Icelandic singer, who has the most pure-sounding, angelic, heavenly, siren voice. She is amazing.
What part of being a musician do you enjoy the most? Performing or the creative side?
The creative side, probably because I am recording and writing at the moment, I’m in that mind set. I love performing too, but it is very different. When you are writing, you are discovering things that didn’t exist before and then you get to take it where you want to. With performance, you get to express yourself in a different way.
What do you have planned this year?
I am just writing until I have enough material that I can call an album. I’m doing as much as I can, learning lots of new and different cords as I want to break away from habitual chord progressions. I want to expand my mind and learn stuff. I am also listening to a bunch of music.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I am listening to a lot of Brazilian music right now, I love Bossa Nova and Samba. Portuguese is just a beautiful language to sing in. Right now, I am listening to a woman called Elza Soares. She has an album called Nos Bracos Do Samba that came out in 1975 and I have it on repeat all the time. It is amazing and so joyful. Her voice is beautiful and the melodies are stunning.
What advice would you give to a young girl wanting to follow in your professional footsteps?
Work really hard, if you want to play an instrument then really play that instrument. If you want to sing, then find as much inspiration in the voices that you like. Zone in on that thing and immerse yourself in it and don’t look back.