It all starts with a touch, and so it begins with Shura: a performer, producer and video editor, whose debut track, ‘Touch’ suggests she may be one of the breakout talents of the year ahead.
Shura was born in London to a Russian actress and an English documentary filmmaker. One of her first memories is of walking around a snowy Red Square in a pink jumpsuit, otherwise occupied by the Soviet army. Her mother made a notable five-minute cameo in ‘Mission Impossible’ but turned down a role in ‘GoldenEye’, believing James Bond to be anti-Russian.
Whilst her early demos started at University in London, Shura’s passion for songwriting in fact came via her brother, who would DJ drum-and-bass at the weekends, and installed an early love of electronic music in his sister. Keen to impress him, Shura began building her own songs, refining her production skills and immersing herself in the textured sounds of Massive Attack. She took the decision to make music her life, but needed the fuel to write first. And it was in South America, where Shura worked for an extended period after her studies, that her confessional songwriting found its pop filter. Alone and unable to speak Spanish, she would walk pumas previously raised in captivity around the Amazon, contemplating past relationships, and future music.
What emerged was ‘Touch’. An effortless mix of hip-hop beats, lush synths, and Shura’s smooth and affecting vocal, there is an emotional resonance to the lyrics (“I want to touch you, but I’m too late. I want to touch you, but there’s history”) which lends the song an immediately-recognisable quality; the sadness of not being with someone anymore, but the infinite tenderness of your time together. Written and co-produced by Shura, ‘Touch’ assimilates a love of Blood Orange with the atmospheric pop of Janet Jackson’s ‘The Velvet Rope’. The results are warm and accessible, both perfectly at home in 2014 and also quickly distinguishing Shura from her peers.
Shura will announce further plans for ‘Touch’ and her first live shows shortly.