On a recent promotion tour in New York City, British singer-cellist Caroline Lavelle was taken aback by U.S. reaction to her ambient-pop album “Spirit” (Discovery/N-Gram).
“I think Americans are a lot more outspoken than English people,” Lavelle said, “and it’s lovely. I think I could come and live here. Everyone is enthusiastic, and it’s gone over really well.”
Produced by William Orbit, “Spirit” would fit well in a pop collection alongside Enya, Annie Lennox and Jane Siberry. Tracks like the atmospheric “Turning Ground” and a bold remake of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” are thoughtful and infectious and fortunately not blanketed in overly textured, intrusive techno-wizardry.
Enya is the comparison Lavelle hears the most, but she tries not to let it bother her.
“I can’t see it at all, myself,” she said. “It’s funny, the other day I did an interview and somebody said, ‘Before I heard it, people told me it was a bit Celtic and a bit Enya, but that’s not the impression I get.’ I was elated.”
Lavelle made her mark playing cello for such artists as Peter Gabriel, the Cranberries, Siouxsie & the Banshees and the Waterboys. Prior to that, she had taken vocal lessons from George Michael’s teacher, but she put that to the side in pursuit of orchestral success.
“At first, my voice was very pure and it sounded almost like a boy,” Lavelle said. “I just used a technique I learned and I would practice every day with my own songs, in my kind of singing, then my voice stayed how I like it, which is slightly hairy.”
Now she has turned into more of a singer than a cello player.
“What happened with this album,” Lavelle said, “I met up with William down at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios and he had heard a thing I had done, almost by mistake, with Massive Attack and he absolutely loved it and he asked if I wanted to do an album. He pursued the idea and I’m very glad he did.”