Hailed as “the best thing since Patti Smith” by Brian Eno, as well as being included on the BBC’s Sound of 2011 list, the hype surrounding London-born Anna Calvi came to fruition during late 2010. Gaining critical acclaim among music journalists, Calvi drew comparisons with the passionate and brooding musicianship of the likes of Nick Cave and Polly Jean Harvey. The dense and rich musical influences that inhabit Calvi’s world are broad and distinctive strokes of sultry flamenco, smoke-filled blues, and seductive goth pop/rock. Adding to this tapestry of influences, Calvi has claimed to have been inspired by the films of David Lynch, Gus Van Sant, and Wong Kar Wai; the cinematic element to her music contributes a mysterious and unyielding undercurrent to her work.
At the age of 17 and after eschewing art school in favor of a music degree, Calvi began to learn her trade and started to assemble musical partnerships. In 2006, she met percussionist and harmonium player Mally Harpaz and later recruited drummer Daniel Maiden-Wood. The release of her debut single, “Jezebel,” in the fall of 2010 was an electric cover version of the Edith Piaf standard. The young Calvi soon captured the attention of Domino Records’ boss Lawrence Bell after a glowing reference from former Coral guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones, who had witnessed one of Calvi’s gigs in Manchester. Bell quickly signed her to his label. Ryder-Jones was not the only celebrity admirer of Calvi’s, an acquaintance with the aforementioned Brian Eno similarly urged him to listen to this emerging talent. After hearing Calvi’s raw and unplugged performances on The Attic Sessions (the early demos that she recorded on an 8-track in her parent’s attic), the distinguished producer soon became her mentor and unofficial cheerleader.
Calvi entered Black Box studio in France with the much-lauded producer Rob Ellis to record her self-titled debut album in 2010. Using vintage analog equipment, Calvi created a velvet Wall of Sound that justified the hype in the buildup to its 2011 release.