It’s unlikely that there are many artists who celebrated appearing in a number one single whilst still working in a role as distinctly unstarry as that of an investment banker. Yet despite contributing vocals to Gorillaz’s 2005 UK chart-topper, “Dare,” it would be a further three years before Londoner Roses Gabor would leave the City’s financial district behind for good.
Step forward another half-decade; the electro-soul singer is only now gearing up to record her debut album. Speed obviously isn’t of the essence in the Gabor household, but if the results are anything like the plethora of collaborations she’s put her name to recently, then it looks as though the British soul scene could have another contender for its leading lady.
Raised on her Grenadian parents’ collection of soca music, Motown, roots reggae and New Wave, Roses Gabor fell in love with music from a young age. But it was the 90s hip-hop of A Tribe Called Quest, Jay-Z and Notorious B.I.G. that inspired her to pursue a career as a performer herself.
After a chance meeting led to an appearance on the second album from Damon Albarn’s animated side-project, Gabor then toured alongside Dennis Hopper, Snoop Dogg and Bobby Womack on Gorillaz’s well-received series of 2010 shows, ticking off the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury and New York’s Madison Square Garden on the list of venues she’d played at before even landing her own record deal.
But before she eventually signed to Toddla T’s Girls Music label, Gabor had built a reputation as the go-to guest vocalist for the UK’s thriving bass scene, performing on the shimmering chill-out of SBTRKT’s “Pharoahs,” the waspish dancehall of Redlight’s “Stupid” and the disjointed two-step garage of Jakwob’s “Sailing.”
The two solo tracks unveiled so far suggest that Roses Gabor’s own career is going to be less dancefloor-heavy. The gorgeous “Night Sky” is the same kind of sensual spacious electro-soul that has earned Jessie Ware every plaudit going this last twelve months, while first single “Stars” is a brilliantly eclectic melting pot of chopped-up cosmic R&B, industrial electronica and slow-motion house. Let’s hope she gets a move on with its parent album.