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Need to Know: Shura's Shape-Shifting Neo-Pop

Andrew Whitton
Andrew Whitton

The queer singer-songwriter's new album, Nothing's Real, is a showcase of her diverse tastes.

Music's DIY revolution has mostly eluded the shimmering world of pop. But Shura is poised to bridge that divide, having released one of the year's most compelling debuts, made entirely in her bedroom. "With electronic music, the bedroom thing has been thriving for a long time," says the 24-year-old Anglo-Russian artist, born Alexandra Lilah Denton. "But things are different now. You can like Whitney Houston and the Rolling Stones at the same time, and nobody bats an eyelid."

The queer singer-songwriter's new album, Nothing's Real, is a showcase of her own diverse tastes. Its 13 hypnotic tracks marry glacial 1980s synthesizers with the organic lite-rock glee of Haim, connecting the dots between indie-blog appeal and radio-friendly accessibility. Shura started turning heads in 2014 with her self-directed video for the aching track "Touch," in which couples from all over the Kinsey scale lock lips against a foggy, seductive backdrop. However, completing her first full-length has been a drawn-out labor of love. "I feel like I'm eight months pregnant," she quips, "and I'm walking around thinking, Get this thing out of me!"

The hardest part may be yet to come. As she tours Europe this summer, she's hoping to build her international fan base without all the glam and swagger of the next Taylor or RiRi. "People would be like, 'She wears denim jackets all the time and doesn't dance -- I want to be just like that!' " she says sarcastically. Still, Shura believes there's plenty of room in the pop landscape for experimentalists like her. "Kids these days aren't as tied to a tribe," she says. "Everything's wide open."

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