An iconic blue plaque was unveiled at the historic Birmingham recording studio, Grosvenor Road Studios, on Friday 22 September by Olivier Award-winning actor Adrian Lester and Ivor Novello Award winning singer-songwriter Laura Mvula.
Since the 1950s, Birmingham Civic Society have erected more than 100 blue plaques which recognise individuals connected to Birmingham who have made a significant contribution to their local community or excelled in their career, along with places of historical interest in and around the city.
Grosvenor Road Studios, formerly the renowned Hollick & Taylor Studios, has been operating as recording studios since the late 1940s and during that time many firsts have been recorded there including all the original sound effects for Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds and Stingray, the fabulous brass band rendition of Brighouse and Ratrick’s The Floral Dance and the first Brum Beat album, Jasper Carrott’s Funky Moped. It was acquired by the all-female a cappella quintet Black Voices in 2001, who continue to bring their diverse skills and knowledge of the music industry and community development to the studios.
Speaking at the event, Laura Mvula said:
This building and Black Voices pretty much raised me in music. It was here I learnt to sing, to arrange, to teach and to grow in ways I never thought possible. It’s a profound honour to be here in this moment and to be a part of the rich tapestry of talent of this great city.
As one of the most exciting musical talents to come out of the UK, Laura has previously won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Album, has been nominated for the Mercury Prize (not once but twice), BBC Sound Poll, the BRITs Critics Choice Award, two BRIT Awards in 2014 (British Female Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act) and won an incredible two MOBO’s in 2013 (Best Female and Best R&B/Soul).
Having caught the attention of her musical hero Prince while performing for the first of two times on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, Laura has gone on to travel the world, selling out shows and captivating crowds at every destination. Crowned “Queen of the Prom” and given a five-star review from the Evening Standard for her Proms 2014 Late Night performance at the Royal Albert Hall, Laura’s critically acclaimed career has led her to work with real-life inspirations Nile Rodgers and touring with David Byrne.
Award winning actor and director Adrian Lester CBE started his career with a string of successful West End productions including Company and Sweeny Todd. He played Hamlet, directed by Peter Brook then Henry V and Othello at the National Theatre and Ira Aldridge in Red Velvet in London and New York. Other credits including Guys & Dolls, Cost of Living and Hymn. He made is Broadway debut in The Lehman Trilogy on Broadway, New York in October 2021, for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Movies include Primary Colors, Day After Tomorrow, Loves Labour’s Lost and Oscar nominated Mary Queen of Scots.
Adrian is also well known for his TV work including the BBC1 series Hustle, Undercover, Trauma, Trigger Point, Riviera, BBC One drama Life and the forthcoming Disney+ series The Ballard of Renegade Nell.
Grosvenor Road Studios boasts one of the largest recording studios in the West Midlands as well as a workspace of seven offices for creative, cultural and community businesses, a centre for arts training and development, a hub for arts and community development, and a woodland garden for local children and their families.