#WomanCrushWednesday: Shura

#WomanCrushWednesday: Shura


Text: Adibah Isa

If you're heading to Neon Lights this weekend, Shura's saccharine, lovelorn sounds should not be missed. Here are 5 things you should know about this newcomer

1. She's half Russian
Born in London, the 25-year-old's full name is Aleksandra Lilah Yakunina-Denton. Shura's a nickname that her Russian mother and English father coined up from the Russian abbreviation of her first name. She also speaks Russian, and has revealed that Russian folk had a slight influence in her work. "If you listen to Russian folk, where things are recorded onto tape and have this weird detuned quality, I do try and get that into my music," she shares. 

2. She's a huge fan of Tegan and Sara
A queer woman herself, it's no surprise that the music duo (whom we saw last July) remains a huge inspiration for Shura. "There is no doubt that my experience of making a record as an out queer woman is markedly different as a result of Tegan and Sara's career; because they were pioneers," she revealed. "Maybe in many years to come, someone will say the same of my records." 

3. Her debut album comes from a place of pain
Like the greatest of artists, Shura writes from the heart and mind, even if the latter's playing dangerous tricks. The title track of her debut, Nothing's Real, is one of the coming-of-age album's more upbeat numbers — but it has painful roots. The song brings to life Shura's intense panic attack (masked as a heart attack) she experienced which led her to hospital in the middle of the night, ultimately being told by the doctor that everything was normal: "I see my heart beat inside a television screen / My body's not connecting, no / They're telling me that I'm fine / They're telling me there's nothing wrong"

4. She created a website, to deal with pressure
After releasing her first single, Touch, in 2014, Shura faced ongoing pressure from labels and peers (that somewhat resulted in the panic attack) that she created a tongue-in-cheek website for all the questions. 

5. She's a massive sci-fi fan
"I'd much rather be inside watching X-Files and eating Domino's pizza than be at a party feeling awkward," she shared in an interview. Interstellar, 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Alien series are some of her favourite films. The Scarlett Johansson-starring film Under The Skin was an inspiration for Shura's White Light video. "I had just finished watching and was really obsessed with the idea of science fiction presented as normality," she gushed. "I wanted to do something that was super normal yet surreal all at once."

Neon Lights runs from 26 to 27 November at Fort Canning Park. For tickets, click hereFor last week's #WomanCrushWednesday, click here