Lava La Rue
Talks music, fashion & inspiration.
“Wash The Streets”
From the early days Lava La Rue knew school wasn’t her thing, opting to follow the path less taken by graduating from the “School of Life” and growing up quickly with odd creative jobs here and there to pay the bills, the all-around artist soon began to realise that music was her true passion. Now with popular hits like “Burn” and “Widdit” under her belt; London, and the world, is her Oyster. We sat down with the rising creative to see what’s next…
Lava la Rue, is that your real name?
It’s an anagram of my real name, Ava Laurel. You get the ends of Laurel put it in front of Ava it makes Lava. I did that just by playing around with my name at the back of class and it turns out that La Rue means the street and Lava means to wash so when you say Lava La Rue it means to wash the streets, which goes with everything that I represent which is seeing the positivity and empowerment from where I come from – the streets. Rather than glamourizing the negative aspects of it which is us killing each other off, I don’t believe in that I believe be proud of it and look after your community.
So Erykah Badu is number one?
I’m a big fan of Erykah Badu, she’s always been a bit weird and cookie, I think there’s been a second generation of young people picking her up now, but they forget people in the 90s when they actually saw Erykah Badu come out she was always cool but she was always weird and spiritual very proud of her blackness she’d start talking about aliens and stuff like that, now we just think that’s cool we see her as a legend but I love following her journey I love watching back. She didn’t put her first album out till she was 27, I put my first project out when I was like 19 so I understood that there’s a lot of learning and a journey to become a woman.
So you just released your first track?
So I’ve released Burn the first track off my next project. I dropped my debut EP around this time last year when I was just turning 20 and now I’m dropping another mixtape. It’s not quite an EP its not quite an album but its this tape and its more like a scrapbook of sounds of the different stages of me starting to make music and I’m talking about different parts of London and my identity and relationships and sexuality so it’s cool.
Why did you call it Burn?
So burn is the name of the single, the mixtapes tape is called stitches. It’s called Burn because it’s quite political, it’s a lot about identity I didn’t want it to be a sad song because most people think a lyrical song has to be sad I wanted it to be like you want to dance, you’re burning inside the fire in your belly.
How do you get to that point where you detach yourself? Because some people would just keep tweaking.
I focus myself on a bigger and better project I’ll put something out and that’s the worlds to listen to and while they’re listening I want to be working on the next thing that’s going to top the last thing. Because I like the idea of always progressing. I don’t believe any artist can hit their peak if they’re really in love with what they do you find another thing, there’s always a different way to take things and turn it into something else
Describe your style in one word.
Can I have three? 2000s cartoon character. I didn’t even know I dressed like a 2000s cartoon character and then loads of people started saying it. I spent so much of my childhood watching Cartoon Network, Powerpuff Girls, Nickelodeon I realized the way I dress is quite animated to the character I’m embodying. Actually if you want one word I’d say fluid. Sometimes I can feel proper tomboyish I feel like Bart Simpson on my skateboard, sometimes I feel like Kim Possible and I’m on a mission and I’m going to finesse drinks off a rich person it just depends who I want to be that day. I don’t think anyone should ever dress one way, that’s just boring switch it up go through phases that means your growing. I don’t want to look at what I was wearing last year and be like I’ll wear that tomorrow, you’ve always got to develop and grow.
What do you think about brands like ASOS doing unisex collections?
I think on the face of it the commercial world is recognizing it but its always been a thing. Look at punk women in the 70s they were dressing unisex they were dressing in leather and men’s clothes and I just think now people are really letting it be accepted. There’s always people that have been rebellious look at Frida Kahlo she was dressing in suits then she’d be dressing all floral. There’s always going to be a world where people are fluid whether that means style wise, creative wise or in terms of their identity that’s always been a thing since ancient times but I think now people are recognizing it and that’s only a good thing and it means we can take it to more places and people can feel safe. That’s the most important thing, for people to walk out into the street and whether that’s someone who identifies as a male but their wearing a skirt of if that’s someone who identifies as a female but they may look androgynous or someone that doesn’t identify as either, that they can walk down the street and feel safe in what they want to wear. If brands like ASOS doing gender fluid stuff is a way to make people more acceptant of it then let them do that.
How important do you think it is to be yourself when you get into your career?
To keep artistic integrity you have to feel like yourself otherwise you simply wont be happy, but its easier to be like: ‘just be yourself’, the first step into that is finding who yourself is there’s this whole thing like be yourself especially to younger people but they don’t even know who they need to be to get there yet so you need to go through the whole process of who am I? what makes me uncomfortable? Otherwise they skip that process and they might think just being a type of way is not caring, like being really rude. Some people think being themselves and not giving a fuck is going to someone ‘honey that’s not it’ – that’s not being yourself that’s being mean, that’s hurting people’s feelings. Really being yourself is to not feel any type of way because you know who you are and you know what your path is and you know what you need to do to get there. It takes a lot of experience to do that, it’s easier said than done. Especially if you’re a young person, I’ve just turned 21, it takes a while to be like this is who I am. As with any artist I can say the first thing to do is go on that mission, travel, meet people, never be apologetic for things that make you happy, kiss people slowly, go to that party you weren’t sure you wanted to go to, don’t go to that party and stay home and read that book if that makes you feel better, just do what you need to do in that moment.
What are your dreams for the future?
I’d just like to do what I’m doing now but on a bigger scale. I’m very blessed that I’ve just been playing festivals and shows, I’ve been performing to people who know my lyrics, I’ve been making my own clothes, I’ve been wearing my own clothes, I’ve been paying my rent with my music – that’s all I ever really dreamed of. I’m very happy with the life I have now I just want to elevate it to a bigger scale because I know I haven’t shown the world everything I can do yet I know in due time they’ll see, timing is key.