The enthusiasm with which Laura Mvula had promoted her Late Night Prom on the radio, in the press and on Twitter in the preceding few days was tangible the minute she walked on stage at the Royal Albert Hall, resplendent in a black gown with silver embellishments. She seemed genuinely as awestruck to have been invited to put on an entire Prom concert as her audience was excited to see her perform orchestrated versions of some of her most popular songs.

Laura Mvula with the Metropole Orchestra © BBC | Chris Christodoulou
Laura Mvula with the Metropole Orchestra
© BBC | Chris Christodoulou

Having been one of several performers at last year's Urban Prom, Laura Mvula's solo Prom enabled her more completely to fulfil a dream. As she sat down and wrote her songs, she always imagined that they had expansive orchestral accompaniment; she was nervous when, last year, conductor and arranger Jules Buckley orchestrated one of her songs, but was ultimately so impressed by the result that she asked him to arrange (and commission a handful of arrangers to orchestrate) others. Classically trained Mvula also arranged a couple of her hits. This concert was the culmination of her ambitious project, realised with the help of the Metropole Orkest.

Mvula opened with the exuberant, richly harmomised Like the morning dew, giving away none of the nervousness she admitted she was feeling. Harmonies shimmered as she sang soulfully above them, ably aided by Electric Vocals, a backing group of young singers. If this was anything to go by, we were in for a treat. A lone "We love you, Laura!" from the back of the hall was then heard over the dying applause, and was swiftly followed by a coy "That's my mum!" from the stage.

She dedicated her next song, Sing to the Moon, to her Proms audience as a thank you for coming to hear her sing. As the LED display showed a giant moon and moving stars, the lighting turned to blue and bright white, creating a magical atmosphere.

She, I don't know what the weather will be and Is there anybody out there? - which seemed particularly atmospheric in the Royal Albert Hall - followed, along with audience favourite Father Father, for which Mvula took to the piano. Throughout all of her songs, there was an indescribable energy, often latent, that kept an enthralled audience on its toes.

Esperanza Spalding and Laura Mvula © BBC | Chris Christodoulou
Esperanza Spalding and Laura Mvula
© BBC | Chris Christodoulou

This was never going to be a concert in which Laura Mvula would take the limelight. With Jules Buckley conducting a sizeable orchestra, she was already sharing the stage with her collaborators. Nor was she the only singer on stage: her "very special friend" Esperanza Spalding joined her to sing Spalding's fiercely jazzy Cinnamon Tree. Spalding's singing style sits somewhere between Nina Simone and Mariah Carey, with plenty of high-register scat singing.  They again joined forces for a very moving Can't live with the world, arranged by Mvula herself.

Mvula's jazz- and classically-inspired output sat very easily alongside Spalding's more folk-jazz style, and the two approaches came to a head in See-line woman, an American song made popular by Nina Simone in her 1964 album Broadway-Blues-Ballads. By now, the energy levels were peaking, and Mvula rounded off the concert with That's alright, a confident, care-free yet meaningful ballad.

It was now officially the end of the concert. Those who were foolish enough to leave the room at this stage missed out on a treat of an encore, a version of Michael Jackson's Human Nature in which Mvula was accompanied by her brother James on the cello. James proved himself as versatile on his instrument as his sister, using his instrument as percussion as well as playing pizzicato chords.

This was a concert truly like no other. Mvula has a very honest approach to performing - it all comes from the heart, and, for all her glamorous exterior, she remains thoroughly grounded as she sings. Someone once described her songs as a 'sonic breath'; they were absolutely right. The orchestrations worked in a most unique way, and I hope that Laura Mvula pens many more orchestratable songs. For now, the concert is on iPlayer under the playlists for both BBC Radios 3 and 1.