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A trip to visit her family roots inspired this British singer

British singer/songwriter Lianne La Havas describes how her heritage inspired her latest album in our series My Music.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Last year, British songwriter and singer Lianne La Havas was nominated for a Grammy Award with a style that combines folk and soul.

    Here's another installment in our series My Music. Have a listen.

  • LIANNE LA HAVAS, Musician:

    Everyone's experience of love is completely unique to them, and yet so widely experienced by everyone.

    But, honestly, I just write how I feel, and I try to figure out the essence of what I'm feeling, and that is normally the stronger part of the lyric.

    My name is Lianne La Havas, and I'm a musician from London.

    My mom's family are from Jamaica, and we always wanted to go, so I went with her in 2014, and had an amazing time. It was very moving.

    It's because my family are from there, but I have never — I had never seen it before. So that kind of inspired a lot of the content on the album, "Blood," which is now out.

    Touring in the U.S. has been, like, completely different from any other kind of touring. It's amazing. And you do feel really appreciated.

    But I guess in the press more so regarding how they see me and what they would categorize my music as, I do find it interesting to be categorized, but it feels like by my race, rather than what my music actually sounds like. You could say that my singing style is perhaps like R&B in certain places, or soul, which is fine.

    But, in other places, I don't think it's like that at all. And I think then they just have these words that describe you based on your skin color, and whereas, in England, I'm — I'm just called mixed race, or just Lianne.

    But over here, I'm black. And I guess I have never grown up being called black before. And I also don't see why you have to — why you have to call yourself anything, you know, or why you have to choose, because I'm just as much Greek as I am Jamaican, 50/50 exactly.

    But I hope, one day, the way we see race and the way we see being mixed and the way we categorize people's music will change, because it's all closely related, and it's something that I find very interesting, which I'm always, always talking about, always studying, always thinking about it.

    (MUSIC)

    (APPLAUSE)

  • LIANNE LA HAVAS:

    Thank you.

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