More diversity needed in music business, says Mercury-shortlisted Laura Mvula

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Mercury Award nominated singer Laura Mvula has warned against thinking enough progress has been made with diversity in the music industry.

Laura, 30, said she is still vastly outnumbered by men in almost every room she goes into and more must be done to balance the scale.

Laura Mvula attending the Hyundai Mercury Music Prize nominations at the Langham Hotel London
Laura Mvula (Ian West/PA)

Speaking after she received her second Mercury nod, this time for sophomore album The Dreaming Room, she said the diversity on the list was "a good start" but added: "It's like when a lot of black women say to me how good it is I have my natural hair.

"I want to say: 'Yeah but it's 2016, why should that be a huge achievement?' It's the same with music, we need to wake up and we have a long way to go with these issues."

The only other women on the list of 12 albums in contention are Bat For Lashes for her record The Bride, and Anohni, formerly known as Antony Hegarty of Antony And The Johnsons, for her album Hopelessness.

Natasha Khan, Bat For Lashes, attending the Hyundai Mercury Music Prize nominations at the Langham Hotel London
Bat For Lashes (Ian West/PA)

Laura added: "This is something that we can't be too loud about. We should be fearless about having the dialogue and being fierce with that because it is a problem and it is something that I don't like that it can be diluted.

"Let's be real and face ourselves and face the issue.

"It's still a majorly male-dominated industry. There aren't many rooms, be it studios, stage or labels where I'm not in the room with mostly men. That is my new reality, which is not accurate to what is possible in music.

Laura Mvula performing during the filming of the Graham Norton Show at The London Studios
Laura Mvula (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

"Most of the people that raised me musically are women, from my mum and my auntie Carol to producers, arrangers, composers, engineers, people in marketing, it's not cool this is still an issue."

Laura also said she was "slightly relieved" that grime artists Skepta and Kano were in the running for the prize, saying: "It means we are waking up. Let's begin to take ourselves more seriously, this is a really important year for music.

Skepta attending the Hyundai Mercury Music Prize nominations at the Langham Hotel London
Skepta (Ian West/PA)

"The world takes its cue from British music so it breaks my heart when it's not accurate. We have made a good start."

The singer-songwriter's 2013 debut Sing To The Moon was also nominated for the prestigious prize and she said getting the nod for two albums in a row was overwhelming.

Laura Mvula attending the Hyundai Mercury Music Prize nominations at the Langham Hotel London
Laura Mvula (Ian West/PA)

Shielding her eyes behind large sunglasses, she said: "I'm teary, but I'm trying to hide the mist.

"This is number two for me, can you imagine? It's so high profile, this is a music honour, not any showbiz bulls**t. It's who put effort into making good art and that is an amazing achievement."