Shura: "I’m not flowery. The whole mystery thing wouldn’t work for me."

Neu Shura: “I’m not flowery. The whole mystery thing wouldn’t work for me.”

Honesty’s the best policy for this rising pop star in the making.

“Snogs were really hot that week,” concludes Shura, on the runaway success of breakthrough single ‘Touch’. It started out as a quietly self-released demo. The video was a group effort made with friends, mainly serving as a processing tool to get Shura through the break-up that inspired her song. ‘Touch’ ended up on radio waves and being whistled by total strangers on the street; completely out of nowhere. It’s probably because Shura’s music taps into feelings that everyone can recognise. ‘Touch’ and follow-up ‘Just Once’, have honesty at the centre, with a treatment of delicious, straight-up pop gold. Love might be a popular topic, but Shura isn’t into laying it on with a trowel of vapid, poetic faffing. She’d much rather tell it how it is.

“I think I am quite matter of fact,” agrees Shura without hesitation. “I’m not flowery. The whole mystery thing wouldn’t work for me. Talking about how shit relationships are; that’s just a boring fact. Maybe it is the directness of me as a human, or the bolshiness of youth - assuming people want to hear what you say. My directness is the hangover from that.”

Love has been Shura’s topic of choice since she played open mic sessions as a teenager ”talking about love as if I even knew what it was. My music did start off at least trying to be earnest,” she says. “I wrote loads of love songs, like, ‘Isn’t my life shit’, but then that’s the kind of music I was listening to; PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Alanis Morissette – all the music any teenage girl listens to. [My music] slowly became more electronic, just from me broadening my musical horizons.”

The idea of being interviewed and photographed, she openly admits, still bemuses her no end, and Shura also hesitates to call herself a musician. “I don’t know if I believe it yet, that’s the thing,” she says, fiddling with a vaporiser and methodically taking it apart. “I don’t think you ever feel like a real human anyway, in your life. I say [I’m a] spy straight away because I kind of wish I was,” she adds, looking quite serious about her ambition to become an undercover sleuth.

"I can sweat everywhere, but if it hits the upper lip…"

This project is the first time in Shura’s musical life that she’s been away from the stage. She’s not especially nervous about returning, because like the ballistic reaction to her first releases, it doesn’t seem tangible. “It’s really hard to imagine,” she nods. “I know that five minutes before I’ll be absolutely shitting myself right now it feels like I’m going concept gigging.” She pauses for thought. “I’m more nervous about the sweating. I can sweat everywhere, but if it hits the upper lip…” She lets out a squawk. “Shura, afraid of S.U.L.A. [Sweaty Upper Lip Attack]. Oh god, don’t!”

Composing herself, talk turns to the future. “I’m still writing [my debut album],” she says, and it’s due for release “definitely next year. Autumn or Winter, so I can do the tour in my puffa jacket. There will be shows this year, too. I’ll be doing a lot of travelling, adventuring, exploring. I’m excited for it. I guess it’s the spy in me.”

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