Calvi sings out in a big way


Special To The Japan Times

Endorsed by Brian Eno, asked on tour by Nick Cave and doused with critical acclaim, Anna Calvi is the little woman with the big voice winning admirers at her every turn.

London born Calvi’s eponymous debut, a beguiling mix taking cues from goth-pop, classical composers and film soundtracks, has captured imaginations across the globe. Though just 152 cm tall, the power of Calvi’s voice is awe inspiring: impressive for someone who didn’t start singing until her mid-20s.

“I felt I didn’t have the personality for it. I’m a shy person. Once I got over that shyness, I could practice. I didn’t really know how it would turn out, I just give it everything. I find music allows me a strong personality, it is natural for me to play onstage.”

Calvi’s first single was a cover of the staple “Jezebel,” made famous by Edith Piaf. “I wanted people to hear the album as a whole, so I put that song out first. Piaf was a genius, it was my way of saying thank-you”. It proved that Calvi is “not worried about being fashionable or following trends” and she believes the “passionate” nature of her music has drawn people in.

“I see music very vividly. It is nice to tell a story as much with the music as with the lyrics. A lot of the time I try to create a picture with the music, a conversation between vocals and the guitar.

“That it has connected with people is really pleasing.”

Anna Calvi plays Billboard Music Club in Tokyo on Feb. 17 (7 p.m., 9:30 p.m.; ¥3,500-¥5,500); and Hostess Club Weekender on Feb. 19 at (3:315 p.m.; ¥7,900 for a one-day pass). For more information, visit