TO SAY Anna Calvi’s stage performances are transcendental is not merely metaphorical.
The operatic indie singer’s parents – both therapists – taught Calvi how to quieten her mind through hypnotherapy.
“Hypnotherapy’s about listening. Some people really like the sound of their own voice but my parents taught me to stand back and observe and listen.
“You need to listen when you’re making music – I know that sounds obvious but I really like to create space in music and don’t like to go out guns blazing when I go out on stage.”
In accordance with her therapeutic/aesthetic philosophy, Calvi’s shows can start with instrumentals, followed by tracks so fragile that vocals are reduced to a whisper.
It’s an intense spectacle and one that endows Calvi with a seductive aura – something she, rather modestly, denies: “I don’t think about it like that. I just give everything I have. I am passionate and emotional about music and some people take that as being sensual but it’s not intended to be like that.”
Calvi was catapulted to success after making it on to the BBC’s Ones to Watch list for 2011. She will be supporting the Arctic Monkeys on tour later this year and her debut album, Blackout, has already been critically acclaimed.
“Her sound is distinguished by operatic-style vocals, Jeff Buckley-like dynamics, intricate guitar picking and epic pop melodies – features she puts down to her eclectic listening habits.
“I grew up listening to a lot of classical music, such as composers like Ravel but I also listen to Robert Johnson – it’s quite a variety.”
And it’s this rich input of sounds perhaps that has had the music industry twitching in its seat. “It is slightly weird now that it’s all happening.” she says, “I feel like I don’t have much control over what’s happening to me.”
She is, however, in complete control of her music. And tonight Calvi plays at The Harley on Glossop Road.
But you’d better get down there early as the speed at which she has ascended the pop ranks thus far means this may be the only chance to catch her in such an intimate setting.