HAPPY Iva after
It's worth the four-year wait for Iva Lamkum's debut album. Tracey Cooper writes.
I t's been four years in the making, so it's no surprise that Wellington singer Iva Lamkum's overriding emotion at the release of her debut album is one of relief.
Black Eagle was released last week, and Lamkum says it's been a long time coming.
"I'm just glad that official day has come. I'm pretty stoked."
Lamkum is still relatively unknown outside of music circles, but she's been featured on several Sola Rosa tracks, notably Turnaround from the Get it Together album, and current single Bankrupt Visa - which opens the album - promises great things with its reggae-fused grooves.
Lamkum describes her music as "future soul" and she's drawn comparisons to Amy Winehouse from American website MTV Iggy, which included her in a list of the Top 13 Real Divas.
"I get that all the time," she says.
"Iva the Diva."
But she's far from that.
Taking a break from her day job at the Nursing Council - "basic admin" - Lamkum says she only really got into music from spending time with musicians.
"I hung out with them, I didn't really sing with them or anything, I just hung out and jammed in their bedrooms but not really gigged. I just thought I'd hang out with these musicians because they're cool, but I wasn't really singing or anything.
"It took me a while to figure it out. I did like music but it wasn't a big deal."
Next thing you know, she says, "I was the singer".
"I think it's just, when you have a great team who believes in you - especially big names who manage big bands - they obviously see something and want to work with you so it's hard to kind of give that a miss.
"So if people start believing in you, you better start believing it too."
Lamkum's unique style sets her apart form most other female singers and she says that's just how she is.
"It's not trying to be different or anything or trying to be the same, maybe it's just because I've listened to so much different music it just kind of purposely inspired me in some direction.
"It's my personality as well, it's how I dress too, if I get something real plain I just want to make it that little bit edgy, it's just how I roll. With an edge."
She says that individual style began emerging at school.
"In my young years I just listened to a lot of 90s hip hop, 90s soul, what teenagers listened too, I guess what's hot in your teenage years. But by my last years in high school I got into a lot more indie stuff and rock music and a lot of that kind of music. I started exploring my options in music and it's been a good experience.
"I just kind of decided to be a bit independent."
She's also honest and that comes through on the album.
"It's not really a hit record, it's an honest record," she says.
"It's what I went through in the last four years, I was depressed, heartbroken, family, all of the above. I was struggling quite a bit for the last four years so I just spilled it all over this record and now it's finally out. My diary is out there for the world to read."
And Lamkum is heading out there for the world to hear when she kicks off a five-date tour in Auckland in early September.
She plays at the Yot Club in Raglan on Friday, September 14 and says the four years it took her to make an album is about the same amount of time since she's been touring.
"It's good to be back on the road. And in Raglan. It's been ages, hopefully it's nice and warm.
"We did a winter tour there so we didn't get to surf or anything like that, it was just too cold."
She's also got gigs booked in Rarotonga, Melbourne and Singapore, and then wants a holiday.
"I think I'll just take a couple of months off to recover from four years. Then I'll continue on the passion, but I just want to take some time off and do the shows now. Then I'll keep developing my craft."