Going Focus: Shura
Over the past two years, there has been no artist who got us excited more than Shura. To celebrate the release of her highly anticipated debut album Nothing’s Real, we had a little chat with the London-based popstress.
Going Solo: Your debut album, Nothing’s Real, is going to be released at the end of this week, on July 8th. From the viral video of 2Shy to Make It Up, this has been an unbelievably journey. How do you feel right now?
I finished the record in January so it’s been a long wait for me. I’m super excited that people will finally be able to listen to it on Friday as much as it’s also been really fun to tease people over the last 2 years!
There are some curiosities I have on the record. I know you’re a control freak regarding the production of your music but you opened up to collaborate with Greg Kurstin, besides your usual writing partner Joel Pott. How did you handle this during the working of the album? Kurstin is like the real deal of pop music right now.
Working with Greg happened very late on in the record making process and I think at that point I felt very much that I had already finished the record so to have the opportunity to write with someone like Greg came with very little pressure to deliver something incredible. That was really liberating and why I think what came out was actually so good. For me I was very curious to work in the same room with him as he is so incredibly talented and I just knew that I would learn something from it. I wasn’t worried about opening up to a different process if anything I was super excited to try something new.
Inspirations behind your music have been discussed a lot. Some are quite obvious, i.e. Madonna, but I know you’re a hardcore fan also of total different stuff, for example The National. Was Nothing’s Real able to include all your several musical souls?
I think that Nothing’s Real absolutely reveals how broad my own musical taste is. It was very important to me to include as much guitar as I did synthesiser for example. That was the challenge I set myself. How do I get these two instruments that are so often pitted against each other to sit together. The same is true of live drums. As the record progressed I became more and more interested in incorporating live drums into what it was I was recording. Touch is very sample led but towards the end of the record I was listening to a lot of Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin and I fell in love with those drum sounds and the way they lifted records.
Another fascinating theme is your love for space. Not only from a scientific point of view, but also speaking in sci-fi terms. So we have NASA, but also shows like Star Wars or X-Files entering the equation and inspiring you somehow. I’m thinking of The Space Tapes of course, but also the visuals of White Light. Where does this passion come from? I thought you were a footballer in your youth 🙂
I was a footballer but from a very young age I remember being fascinated by space and time. I remember watching films like Aliens and Contact and being terrified and mesmerised all at once. There is something so exciting and terrifying about space and I think I love that fine balance. Of being interested and being afraid.
Speaking of the White Light’s video, your twin brother Nick is starring, as well as basically everything concerning the visuals side of your music. It seems as if he’s part of the band, even if we won’t see him on stage. I’m curious, how your relationship, artistically speaking, developed during all these years?
I love working with Nick on music videos mainly because I trust his judgement and he is a very calming and fun presence on set. He’s also a great actor which is very useful. Nick has helped me a lot over the last 2 years as a sounding board. He’s heard many of the songs long before they were finished and sometimes his opinions have helped shape the way I produce a song.
I just finished reading your interview with Tegan & Sara. Given that I think their latest is a great record and Boyfriend is an absolute banger, how is it touring with your myths?
I haven’t started touring with them yet but I’m super excited. I have paid to see them play so many times so it’s nice that I get to see them play for free in September and October! I’m really glad no one told me when I was 16 that this would happen because I probably would have exploded. Their new record is excellent and it’s been amazing to see their creative journey.
I think that Nothing’s Real absolutely reveals how broad my own musical taste is. It was very important to me to include as much guitar as I did synthesiser for example. That was the challenge I set myself.Shura
You built a loyal fan base through your social pages, where you’re not afraid to speak your mind freely. You actively supported the “Remain” position in the campaign that anticipated the recent UK’s vote to leave the European Union. Did you feel betrayed when you woke up the day after?
I think betrayed is the wrong word because I’m not at war with those that voted differently to me. I felt sad. I felt as if the remain campaign hadn’t engaged properly with the people who swung the vote in favour of leave. There are some people in the UK who have some very nasty views and there was no way that they would ever vote differently. But there is a portion of the public who mean the best who were taken advantage of and lied to and voted a certain way because of that. It’s shocking to me that so many politicians who campaigned so hard for Britain to leave the UK have since resigned because actually they’re too afraid to implement what it is they campaigned for. If we have been betrayed by anyone it is by those Politicians.
You recently said: “I couldn’t be a Taylor Swift. I would really suck at being Taylor Swift.” We’re cool with that but let’s pretend you’re T Swift just for a moment. Who would be part of your squad?
Hahaha. This would have to be an equal squad though… as in I wouldn’t want to be the leader, this would just be a list of people I wanna hang with, The Big Moon, Marika Hackman, Laura Marling, The Japanese House, Grimes, Courtney Barnett, SOAK, Hinds, Oscar, Mabel, Ider… I could go on.
I saw you playing one of your very first gig in Paris two years ago. I remember it was a lil bit messed up, but the general vibe was absolutely great. Ahead of your upcoming gig in Milan, what Italy should expect from Shura’s gig?
That was so freakin’ terrifying. I learnt at that gig that no matter what went wrong I wouldn’t die though, which is a great lesson to learn. You can expect some more song than I played in Paris, That’s for sure. I’ll probably talk about accidentally eating my own hair too.