Shura: Interview

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Image courtesy of vanyaland.com

For Shura, 2015 has been a full year of touring; I caught up with her ahead of her return to the UK this December.

Hello! How’s the current tour going?

Well actually we’re just having a little, little break because the dates got pushed back so I have had time to do my album. I’m remixing at the moment and then off on tour at the end of the month.

It’s a mainly British tour this time, isn’t it?

Yeah, absolutely, I mean we’re going to do a date in Barcelona at the end of the month and then we’ll be going to America, but yeah this one is a UK tour so visiting places that I haven’t gigged before will be really nice.

Have you any highlights of the year so far?

Oh there’s so many, I think playing Maida Vale is definitely one of them just cause of the history of that building. Going to America for the first time was really exciting because it’s like being in a movie, and my first festival season not as a punter and getting to go to more than one festival.

What do you think the next year’s going to bring?

Well hopefully an album, got to finish that at some point. It so hard to say, already everything has exceeded any expectation or desire that I’ve ever really had for myself so I’m just trying to live as much in today and just enjoy it, it’s just been crazy.

How’s the album coming along? Do we have a name yet?

I do but I’m not telling you. I want it to be a surprise, but yeah I’ve got a title. It’s probably about 80% done. I’m really super proud of it so far, just getting the last couple of songs together and making it the best it can possibly be and off I go. Just hope more than my mum and dad buy it!

What can fans expect from the album?

I guess a lot of it is sticking true to everything I’ve released so far, so I think more of the same but then with a few kind of left turns. It’s a very personal album to me so hopefully it’s a sort of window onto my universe and whether or not people are interested in that we’ll discover.

Your first single Touch is quite a personal song to yourself, is a lot of your music very personal?

Well yeah, I don’t know how to write about anything other than myself, it would be great if I could write about anything whenever, wherever, definitely would have an album by now if I could, but I just have to write about what it is that’s interesting or exciting to me in that moment, whether that’s about a relationship that’s just ended or a relationship just about to begin, or my family or my relationship with my twin brother. But yeah, it’s definitely an incredibly personal album, there’s no one other than me that could have written it.

Have you been working with Joel Potts from Athlete?

Yeah I have, pretty much done the entire album writing and producing with him.

What has that been like?

It’s been amazing, like I remember at the beginning, when I was sort of thinking about writing with someone else for the first time and opening up my world, I went for a drink with him at a pub and we just talked about the music that we loved and all the stupid stuff that we wanted to do with synthesisers and how we just wanted to write a bunch of beautiful songs but be super nerdy about how we produce them and do something very not polished at all. It’s not something I’m interested in doing, certainly not for a first album, I just want to make something that sounds kind of like shit but in a good way.

You’re obviously really passionate about music, where did it all stem from, what inspired you to write and produce your own music?

I guess I grew up listening to a lot of music, there was always music playing in the house. When you give birth to twins, you then have two children running around at the same time and you’re trying to keep them entertained, music was a really easy way of doing that. We’d just be plonked down in front of the television and watch the Immaculate Collection on VHS, me and my twin brother were absolutely mesmerised by that, so I always grew up with music. When music affects you in that way, and you’re that emotionally connected to it, it’s sort of quite a natural process to then decide you want to make it yourself because what music has given you, you want to give back.

Which artists have been your main influences?

It’s so wide ranging, I guess the True Blue era Madonna was a massive inspiration; Janet Jackson was another, but also people like Pink Floyd or War on Drugs, The Pixies and The Nationals, I really do have quite a range.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Well hopefully I’ll have at least two albums, so it means the first one did alright enough for me to be able to do a second, that would be grand. I’d love to tour South America, like obviously I spent a long time there after university; I’d love to have an excuse to go back. Hopefully I’ll still be writing music. That’s the thing, it’s so easy not to be, so many of us are around for just the one album, hopefully I’ll still be doing it and be a career artist. That’s what I want for myself, just to keep on doing what I’m doing. I don’t have to play stadiums, I have no desire to take over the world, but to just keep on bobbing along in this fashion would be nice.

What advice would you give to other aspiring musicians?

I was actually talking about this with my Dad yesterday, I think it’s really important to kind of ignore the outside world, just do what you do because you love it and then even when everything is telling you to stop or not do it or everyone’s saying you’re not good enough. It’s kind of being stupid enough to really ignore that and just carry on because in the end you will find a way. Whether  you’re writing your own album or you’re writing music for sound or just to keep going cause there’s so many people making music now, now you can just make it in your bedroom, so it’s just super important to never really give up. And that’s what I did, I never really gave up. I had a full time job for four years and just always made music – just because I wanted to. I didn’t do it because I thought I was going to get signed but just for myself. I think always doing it for yourself and just carrying on is really important. Like some people get lucky at sixteen and they get signed and you know that’s great, but for so many its climbing up the same mountain which takes time.