Hello and welcome to DIY’s new introducing feature, Get To Know… With two new acts a week, the feature pretty much does what it says on the tin: getting you a little bit closer to the buzziest new acts that have been catching our eye as of late, and working out what makes them tick.
After speaking to Chastity earlier this week, today we’re with Rachel Chinouriri, a 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Croydon. The video for her latest single ‘So My Darling’ is directed by Rachel herself and features clips of her friends talking about love and loss. It’s a theme that runs through her music (she also put out ‘What Have I Ever Done’ last month) - emotionally-charged alt-pop/R&B that feels extremely personal whilst still retaining its universality.
Listen to ‘So My Darling’ and get to know Rachel better below.
Describe your music to us in the form of a Tinder bio.
Intelligent, cheeky and will leave you wanting more! Looking for a man to mend this broken heart. ;) ;) <3
What’s your earliest musical memory?
Using my uncle’s piano from church and singing VERY badly over the top until I got told to stop. Also buying myself a violin and playing very badly but thinking I sounded amazing.
Who were some artists that inspired you when you were just starting out and why?
Coldplay was a major one. I love how I could escape in songs like ‘Fix You’ and really feel the depth of the songs and lyrics. Daughter also had a very cinematic and unique sound which I loved. Their song ‘Tomorrow’ has such beauty which I’ve never experienced with another tune before and that’s when I realised I loved the sound of atmospheric guitars.
You’re from Croydon, South London - how is the scene there at the moment? Are there other artists breaking through at the same time that you take inspiration from?
I can tell the inspiration and hunger of the Croydon youth is immense. We all know of Stormzy and his continuous hard work is a big thing that inspires me to stick who you are. Also not being scared of trying new things (for example his collab with Ed Sheeran) shows he’s fearless and open. I think my music is different from what you may suspect ‘Croydon’ music to be. There is a lot of drill, rap and bars which I have been surrounded by through high school and I think it’s helped me to focus on trying to make my own lyrics and melodies unique.
Can you tell us a little about your new single ‘So My Darling’? What’s it about? What inspired you to make the music video with your friends?
I made ‘So My Darling’ about a boy I had a crush on for 3/4 years and I wanted to tell him I loved him but no matter what he felt, he will always be my best friend and I will love him always. I wasn’t scared to admit I love him, as I say his name in the first word and wanted to show people it’s okay to express their love for people. That’s why for the video I got loads of people to send voice messages speaking about people they love and have lost. I think the ghostly sounds of the voices are a reminder we aren’t here forever and that we need to express how we feel to people while we are still here. It’s a sound of love. A sound of emotion. A sound of passion which I am proud I was able to make. This is something wanted to replicate in the video. A montage or memory of something. I wanted people to look at the video and remember the days you look through old pictures of your parents or relatives and feel something.
Who is your dream collaborator and why?
‘Ladysmith Black Mambazo’ would be my dream collaboration. Especially being a traditional South African group I can say they definitely have had a massive impact on my process. I work harmonically and they’ve inspired me from a very young age to use my voice in all its ranges and more as an instrument. The way they work perfectly in unison as a group is something I would think would be beautiful over some acoustic guitar.
Musically or otherwise, what are you most looking forward to in 2018?
Musically I’m very excited to release my EP (woiii) otherwise I’m actually looking for to watching Incredibles 2.
If people could take away one thing from your music, what would it be?
My naive but endearing take on love. My innocence of my experiences with love. I wrote many of these songs when I was 16-18 so you can see I write from a relatable lack of experience.