The daughter of a Russian actress and English documentary filmmaker who first began writing songs during a six-month stint working in the Amazon rainforest, Aleksandra Denton, aka Shura, arrives equipped with a slightly more interesting back story than most of this year’s hotly-tipped newcomers.
However, the string of 80s-indebted synth-pop gems she’s released over the past twelve months proves that the English literature graduate can grab the public’s attention with her early sensual featherlight vocals and early Madonna-esque sound alone.
Indeed, as well as being championed by the likes of Pitchfork and Radio One, the 23-year-old can also count Hollywood star ChloëGrace Moretz and Mercury Prize nominees Jungle and Jessie Ware as celebrity fans, with the latter recently inviting her to remix her hit single, “Say You Love Me.”
Having left a promising partnership with trip-hop producer Hiatis (she provided vocals for six tracks on his 2013 album, Parkland) over her lack of creative control, it’s little surprise to discover that Shura also takes just as much interest behind the scenes, joining Athlete frontman Joel Potts as co-producer, and using her experience working at a video editing facility to create a number of eye-catching promos.
The montage of kissing couples that accompanied “Touch,” a sensual slow jam about the spaghetti junction of a relationship, first got the blogosphere talking last spring. Since then, she’s released “Indecision,” a gorgeous piece of gossamer synth-pop inspired by her dilemma over which label to sign with (she eventually plumped for Polydor), the heartbreak anthem “Just Once” and the doe-eyed PBR&B of current single, “2Shy.”
Shortlisted for the BBC’s prestigious Sound of… poll earlier this year, and with a string of festival appearances and her as-yet-untitled debut album scheduled this summer, 2015 looks set to be Shura’s for the taking.