Shura finally unleashes stunning debut album
This one has been a long time in the making! Shura broke through in 2014 when her very first single ‘Touch’ became a huge internet sensation. The self-directed video for the track has over 26 million views on YouTube and made record labels who did not want to sign her before, knock on her door to offer a contract. The sudden success had her suffering from panic attacks, but she regained her will to make music and released a string of equally brilliant singles which are now combined on her first LP, called Nothing’s Real.
Shura, who was born as Alexandra Lilah Denton in Manchester, has a Russian mother and an English father who were both active in the movie industry. Some footage of her as a child forms the album’s intro, including her father asking where Shura is. In an interview with V Magazine she explained how time was an important element in recording the album and that explains the inclusion of these sentimental youth moments. The singer-songwriter and producer bravely tried to intertwine her past, present and future on this record, which makes it a personal and moving body of work.
Title track ‘Nothing’s Real’ is about one of the panic attacks she experienced, wondering what is going on, while doctors declared there was ‘nothing wrong with her’. She describes this experience in a thrilling 80s synth pop banger that is one of the absolute highlights of the record. While the synths of the 80s inspired her throughout the album, it is not hard to tell she also has a soft spot for the R&B of the 90s. The single ‘2Shy’ for example, breathes this style from start to finish in a moden production that brings the past into the present. Shura uses the higher pitch of her vocals on the infectious chorus of this one and the result is gorgeous to say the least.
Another sad, but inspiring event in the life of the young artist was the end of the long term relationship with her girlfriend, which inspired her to write the slow burning electronic pop ballad ‘Touch’, the track that started everything. On ‘Kidz ‘N’ Stuff’ she vulnerably wonders: ‘How could I not be everything that you need?’ The production of this track magnificently builds towards the intro of next track ‘Indecision’, again serving some quality 80s synths. Such a moment! Shura delivers her most poppy melodies in her latest breezy and fast paced single ‘What’s It Gonna Be’ and ‘Make It Up’ with an undeniably strong chorus.
Towards the end of the album Shura leaves herself some more room to experiment on lengthy tracks like the extended version of previous pop banger single ‘White Light’ and ‘The Space Tapes’. There is literally no weak track to be found here. Nothing’s Real is hands down the richest debut record in terms of production, lyrical depth and melodies I have heard in quite a while!
Must listen: 2Shy, Nothing’s Real, What’s It Gonna Be, Kidz ‘N’ Stuff, White Light, Make It Up (and if you are not one of the 26 million, check out ‘Touch’ too)