Shura Is About To Release Her Debut Album ‘Nothing’s Real’

Shura, the British synth-pop phenom is just about to release her debut album, Nothing’s Real, on July 8, so we celebrated with an exclusive photoshoot and an interview with the singer-songwriter. Check out what Shura had to say about her upcoming new record, and see the photos — featuring a cool take on the French braid — taken by Rachel Talia Fisher below.

How has the past year been for you? The new album sounds amazing. Was it important for you to create such a diverse sound for your debut?

I don’t think it was important so much as a direct result of loving so many different styles of music. The record is diverse because I’m inspired by so many artists and genres. I think the 80s influence is a result of the record dealing so much with themes of nostalgia. Those were the records I listened to when I was a child and it felt completely natural for those records to shape the way my album sounds.

When did you first realize you found your sound? Is it always changing the more you write?

I feel like my sound is constantly evolving and shifting. The songs I write now sound incredibly different to the records I was writing as little as three ears ago. Will my next record sound similar to this record? Who knows? It is so dependent on what interests and inspires me. I think that’s what I love about Madonna. She wasn’t afraid to tackle totally different sounds with her records. The same is true of people like PJ Harvey. It’s important to explore your creative boundaries and push them.

Has the meaning of any of these songs changed for you in the past years? What new song are you most excited for people to hear?

The meaning doesn’t change but the way I feel about them evolves. I find it very difficult to listen to songs after I’ve finished them. In a way, completing them is a little like going through a break up. You need time apart to really look at them in a balanced way. When I finished touch, it wasn’t till several months later that I could listen to it. Not because it made me emotional, but because I couldn’t help but analyze every element. Whether the shaker was too loud or the white noise was at the right level. Now, I can listen to it and be proud of what I created and love it for its flaws as well as its strengths.

Did you ever think you’d be soundtracking so many people’s lives with your music? Do you have any memorable fan encounters you can tell us about, either on the web or in real life?

When I write music, I definitely don’t think about it soundtracking anyone’s life. In fact, I’m constantly amazed by how far my music travels. It’s incredible to hear stories from people. A 50 year old paramedic sent me a note to tell me that the first time he heard “Touch” he was on shift and his shoulders relaxed, which is something that didn’t happen often to him, which was amazing.

You’ve played so many shows and some epic festivals in the past year. What are you looking forward to playing this year? Do you have an upcoming US tour we can look forward to?

I will definitely be playing a lot of shows in the US later this year – around September/October time, which is really exciting. I’m super looking forward to that actually. Mainly because I’ll get to visit more of the U.S. in a month or so than most people would in an entire lifetime. That’s definitely one of the coolest parts of the job.

What does your live set up look like? Do you have a hand in the lighting and production aspects of your live show? Do you have a favorite song to play live?

I’m not massively into big production. I love lights and some smoke! Just to make it as mysterious as possible. But there are no rotating stages or LED screens. I kind of like it being like that. Just a band. A few people on stage jamming out. My favorite song to play live is probably “White Light,” just because the outro is so much fun!

How important is it for you to be a part of the full creative process of your music including music videos, art, etc.? If so, are you looking forward to creating and collaborating on new art to represent your songs from this album?

It’s massively important to me to be involved creatively in everything. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m the genius behind it. Just that I really enjoy planning and creating stuff. Whether it’s collaborating on the artwork with Louise (the illustrator) and Mat (the designer) or directors on music videos. Working with Chloe Wallace on the music video for “What’s It Gonna Be?” was awesome. I’m hugely excited for what’s to come as well.

Besides the release of your album, what are you looking forward to for the rest of this year? Are you writing or recording any new music?

I’m constantly working on music. Not always my own. Sometimes it’s remixes. Other times it’s side projects. I’m looking forward to writing new stuff for another record but right now I’m just focussing on expanding my creative horizons and playing a ton of amazing festivals!

What artists are you listening to right now? What is your favorite new album release?

There’s a Danish band called Liss who are freaking awesome. And a new duo in the UK called Ider who I love. They put out a song called “Sorry” and it blew me away.

Photographer: Rachel Thalia Fisher

Assist: Victoria Nadler

Hair: Erin Taylor

Makeup: Sarah Salice

Styling: Samantha Rex

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