Pop Shop Podcast: Shura Turned Her Madonna & Tegan and Sara Influence Into a Dazzling Synthpop Debut

Jessica Xie


Attention pop fans: get into Shura while she’s still under the radar. This is considerably easier in America, where the rising U.K. synthpopper is still breathing through, though recent tours with Tegan and Sara and M83 are expediting that process. Just a couple years ago she was making music in her bedroom; then, all of a sudden she’s working on her Polydor Records debut with people like Greg Kurstin -- who’d produced plenty of her idols.

“It’s really weird when you realize the people you look up to -- who have influenced or inspired you -- start to realize what you do,” Shura confesses on the latest episode of the Pop Shop Podcast. “I was in the studio with Greg [Kurstin] and he said he played Sara [Quin] some of my songs and she was a fan… Inside I was exploding, trying to keep it cool.” 

There's a good chance she's already caught the ear of your favorite alternative pop artists and producers. Plenty of people (including Shura) have pointed out her Madonna influence, and it’s not at all improbable to think her 2016 debut Nothing’s Real has already reached the pop legend's ears.

Much like her current tour partner M83, she’s a John Hughes devotee, and the songs on her debut play out like alt-pop audio equivalents of his timeless coming-of-age stories, albeit with much-needed updates. Case-in-point, her music video for “What’s it Gonna Be?” is essentially a Hughes high school film, only with queer characters in the spotlight, a theme that rules her already-extensive videography.  

Get inside the mind of Shura -- her songcraft, her plan for a Hughes-inspired feature film, even her memories of being a teenaged soccer star -- in the latest Headliner Interview on the Pop Shop Podcast. 

Every Thursday, a new Headliner Interview features a longform chat with Billboard staff writer Chris Payne and someone from the world of music with a story to tell. Past episodes included Jimmy Eat World and Butch Walker. Next Thursday’s will feature Vampire Weekend drummer Chris Tomson chatting about his new solo project Dams of the West and the future of his main band. 

Listen above, and click here to subscribe to and/or rate the Pop Shop Podcast on iTunes.