One of the most highly anticipated artists at this years Live At Leeds Festival is Manchester born singer/songwriter and producer Shura. Having made the longlist on the ‘BBC Sound of’ poll back in 2015, Shura has released a string of successful singles including ‘2Shy’ and ‘Touch’, and her debut album Nothing’s Real is set for release on July 8th. We caught up with Shura before her performance at Live At Leeds to find out how she’s looking forward to the festival.
Q: Hi Shura! How are you feeling about playing Live At Leeds this year?
A: Super excited about returning to Leeds! I had a great time playing the city before so it’s gonna be mega!
Q: Which artists are you hoping to see perform at the festival?
A: My mates Dahlia Sleeps are playing so I’m definitely gonna try and catch them. I’m also really up for watching Pumarosa again – they’re sick live! So are Clean Cut Kid! And it would be wicked to see Kelly Lee Owens play, as I’ve never seen her live show.
Q: Live At Leeds is a festival that helps promote emerging artists rather than just hosting lots of well-known and successful musicians. Do you think it’s important that festivals such as this are providing a platform for musicians such as you?
A: Of course! We have to start somewhere, right? Some of the best shows I’ve been to at festivals are from new bands as they can often capture a moment in a way that’s totally different to seeing an established act play. There’s room for both of course.
Q: You’ve got experience at playing large festivals and much smaller solo shows – which do you prefer and why?
A: It depends so much on the vibe in the room. I’ve had an amazing time playing to a hundred people and playing to a few thousand. It’s amazing to play intimate shows of course but it really just depends on your vibe with the audience that day.
Q: You have a very unique sound – what influenced you to create music like this?
A: I listen to so much music and tend to be influenced by whatever it is I’m listening to at the time. I think having an incredibly diverse set of influences has helped me carve out what is hopefully a distinct sound!
Q: You come from Russian and English parents. Do these two cultures influence the kind of music you create?
A: Realistically I don’t think that being bicultural has influenced my music that much – it’s possible but it doesn’t feel that way. My Mum, who’s Russian, listened to a lot of music from the UK and America when I was growing up, which definitely had an effect on the music I made. I suppose indirectly it’s had an effect but it’s not as if I’m influenced especially by Russian music.
Q: You write and produce all your own music – what makes you want to do this rather than getting other producers to help you? It must be a lot of hard work being a part of all the different processes!
A: Production is the fun part! It’s basically as close as I can get to flying a spaceship without doing a degree in physics so it’s a no brainer. Of course it’s hard work but it’s so much fun that it never really feels that way. When I write a song I have a really strong idea of how it should sound and seeing that process through, both the failures and the successes, is something I love.
Q: Your long-awaited debut album Nothing’s Real is out later this year. What’s the inspiration behind the name of it?
A: There are a few different meanings. I guess it has a lot to do with my obsession with time – that the past has happened so it doesn’t really exist – that the future is yet to happen so it also doesn’t really exist, and that it’s incredibly difficult to live in the present. But it’s the title of the first song on the record and the meaning there is slightly different.
Q: What can we expect from the album?
A: Hopefully a few bloomin’ surprises! Ha!
Q: Finally, what have you got planned for the rest of the year?
A: Lots of festivals and a headline tour! I’m planning to not really have a life for the next 365 days which is gonna be mega fun. I love travelling and seeing different places so it’s the perfect kind of ‘having no life’ for me!
You can catch Shura perform at Live At Leeds on Saturday 30th April at the O2 Academy from 7.30pm – 8.15pm. Tickets can be bought here.