Meet a Stunning British Singer Who Mixes McQueen With High Street Finds

This year's seen a major British invasion sweep the music industry. Just consider 2013's Coachella lineup, with performers like Jessie Ware, Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes and the xx's Romy Madley-Croft sharing top billing. And don't forget Little Boots, our current fave female DJ. Or Adele. Or Kate Nash. Or One Direction. And now, we've found our latest style crush in the beautiful Laura Mvula.

This Birmingham-born singer/songwriter made her U.S. debut back in March at SXSW. She's since released her debut album, Sing To the Moon (which you can buy online now or snag in stores on May 14) and was nominated for a 2013 BRITs Critics' Choice Award. “It’s been really wonderful," Mvula tells us. "I feel as though the whole thing has been such an interesting journey up until this point. I’ve always had the encouragement of family and friends listening to things before, but I’ve never known this kind of exposure.”

The 26-year-old, once a substitute teacher in a Birmingham secondary school, holds a degree in composition from the Birmingham Conservatoire. She combines this classical training with her Caribbean background for smooth, soulful sounds that, while current, have a bit of an old-timey feel. Our office favorites are "She" and "Green Garden."

Her music may have complexities, but Mvula's style is clean and simple. "I like things to look neat," she says. Anything muted or pastel is an option—think peachy, nude colors—but emerald green is a favorite, too. Mvula admits that she's still experimenting with different designers, but tells us she loves Alexander McQueen. "Designers are cool, but I’m very much into affordable, inexpensive, accessible clothes,” she says. "I think I’m still a high street girl at heart. I love my high street stores." She also likes vintage shops, especially Tow in Birmingham. Mvula also told us that her sister is her favorite shopping partner. "She’s about four years younger than me and we have similar taste,” she explains.

Mvula's closely-cropped hair is another example of her no-fuss style. “I think that kind of defines my look,” she says of her hair, which "is a result of having experimented over many years." She adds, "I used to wear a lot of hair extensions, a lot of weave, and would dye my hair and had a lot of braids. So for me, about three years ago, it was a welcome change. I haven’t looked back since.”

Dramatic eyes, just like neutral colors and a manageable 'do, are indicative of Mvula's style. You'll rarely see her without winged eyeliner and a set of false lashes. "I like my makeup to be bold,” she says.

Click through to shop some of Mvula's essentials.

Photo: Josh Shinner

“Strong eyeliner is very important to me.” Mvula prefers those by Bobbi Brown and MAC.