Updating pop and R&B sounds from the ’80s and ’90s, West London-based singer/songwriter/producer Shura made an impression with the gauzy ballads “Touch” and “Just Once.” The daughter of an English documentary filmmaker and a Russian actress, Shura began making music at age 13, when her father taught her to play some chords on the guitar; inspired by her DJ brother, she began recording her songs on the family’s mini-disc recorder when she was 16. During her studies at university, she played in a band and collaborated with producer Hiatus, who remixed her song “River” in 2011. The pair also worked on several other tracks that appeared on the producer’s 2013 album, Parklands.
After returning from a gap year spent in the Amazon rainforest, Shura taught herself how to use music production software by watching YouTube tutorials while working the night shift as a video editor. She began working with co-producer Joel Pott (also of Athlete), and her official debut single, the breezy, bittersweet “Touch,” arrived in February 2014. The like-minded follow-up, “Just Once,” was released that July, and “Indecision,” a lively dance-pop cut, appeared in October. Late that year, Shura was longlisted for the BBC Sound of 2015 poll (which Years & Years eventually won). Shura’s first official release, the White Light EP, arrived in July 2015, about a year before her debut album, Nothing’s Real, appeared.