The debut solo single from British/Russian singer, songwriter and producer Shura titled “Touch” might easily be the best piece of music you will hear this week and that is being modest. Premiered on The FADER recently, “Touch” sees a glorious mix of a groovy bassline, lush synths and Shura’s buttery smooth and captivating vocals to great effect, while drawing subtle influences from 80’s Pop, 90’s R&B and Hip-Hop music. On this record, she draws some comparison to Blood Orange and Solange Knowles but its the uncanny resemblance to early Madonna and Janet Jackson on Velvet Rope that sticks with you.
Born to an English film maker and a Russian actress who once turned down a role in a James Bond movie, Shura is not entirely an “exciting new artist” as one might presume, exciting? 100 times yes but new? Not quite. We first heard of Shura in 2010 when she released a bevvy of smart Trip-Hop/Post-Dubstep records with producer Hiatus as Hiatus & Shura which caught the attention of BBC Radio 1, XFM and BBC 6 Music among others. The producer/singer duo were even branded as the next Massive Attack, with Bonobo, Jamie Woon and Rob Da Bank all noted as huge fans. They released a 3-track EP in 2011 titled Fortunes Fool to critical acclaim and continued to work together on several more Haitus releases well into the back end of last year, most notably “We Can’t Be Ghosts Now” and “Iran Air”.
However lets get back to the matter at hand – Shura in 2014 and this very stunning solo offering “Touch”. Apart from the dazzling musical backdrop and glorious vocal display from Shura, one thing that cannot be highlighted enough on this record is the compelling songwriting. Honed reportedly for a year in South America where “alone and unable to speak Spanish, she would walk pumas previously raised in captivity around the Amazon, contemplating past relationships, and future music“, her songwriting skills shine bright all over this new offering. With lyrics like “I want to touch you, but I’m too late / I want to touch you, but there’s history” and “there’s still love between us but something is changing (and) I don’t know why”, she is as emotive, passionate, affectionate and stirring as can be and it makes for compelling listening, such that this record resonates with you long after you first heard it.