Singer Laura Mvula: Why feeling grass between your toes is a city essential

“I’ll fly on the wings of a butterfly, high as a tree top and down again, putting my bag down, taking my shoes off, walk in the carpet of green velvet,” sings rising British star Laura Mvula.

The spellbinding singer-songwriter’s single Green Garden, taken from her debut album Sing to the Moon, is a breath of fresh air in more ways than one.

Birmingham-born Laura told the National Trust the track was inspired by memories of getting outdoors and playing in the garden as a child with her two siblings at their family home.

Laura Mvula

Recent studies have shown that parks, gardens and green space in urban areas can improve the wellbeing and quality of life of people living there.

The National Trust’s co-founder Octavia Hill fought for the protection of woodland, parks and green spaces for urban dwellers in the nineteenth century.

Now with the government’s current drive to boost housing figures under the National Planning Policy Framework and “growth duty”, coupled with cuts to park maintenance budgets, the protection of these valued green spaces are still at risk.

Laura told the Trust how important it was for her to have green spaces to play in while growing up in a city landscape…

Lickey Hills in Birmingham, managed by Birmingham City Council

Lickey Hills in Birmingham, managed by Birmingham City Council

Growing up in Birmingham, what did parks and green spaces mean to you? 

“It’s so important to have parks and green spaces in cities, especially for children who don’t have outdoor space at home. Just having somewhere to run free and explore can make such a huge difference to your childhood.

“It would be such a shame for people to lose out on communal parks and green spaces!”

 Where is your favourite/most inspiring outdoor place in Britain and why?

“One of my favourite places is the Lickey Hills in Birmingham. This is where my husband Themba proposed.”

What can we expect next from you? 

“I’m off to America for a couple of weeks to do some shows there and then this summer I’ll be playing lots of festivals in the UK, which I’m really excited about!”

Laura Mvula’s debut album Sing to the Moon was released on March 4 and is available to buy online and in stores now.

Find out more and watch the Green Garden music video at


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