British singer-songwriter; Taura, is a remarkable musical talent. Being the sole force behind her music, as singer and multi-instrumentalist, Taura writes and produces all her music independently, deeming her as a strong female, who bosses a male dense profession. Today marks Taura's 'Lucky Girls' music video release, a track released on January 9th which quickly racked up just shy of 500,000 streams. In a Modèle interview below, Taura uncovers her musical journey and creative inspirations behind the beloved single 'Lucky Girls'.
Influenced by musicians such as Sabrina Claudio, Syd and Dua Lipa - Taura experiments with a pop-like, Rnb rhythm. Also possessing a background in jazz piano, Taura's tracks leave a stripped-back production approach alongside her unique multi-layered vocals. Studying music Goldsmiths Taura built up production experience leading to her completely independent hit 'Lucky Girls'.
Transporting you between the 7 deadly sins, the visual fantasy video re-creates an Alice in Wonderland aesthetic in which Taura acts out. Directed by Oscar Award-winning filmmaker who goes by the name Moon; ‘Lucky Girls’ was the first and only music video to be directed by Moon, "who is extremely particular but felt an imminent connection to Taura and her music."
What has your journey been like so far, building yourself as an artist?
My journey so far has been slightly more turbulent than expected, as I guess most people’s always are! I started out by songwriting, and it was kind of my plan to stick to that. After a few tracks had been released, I realised I wasn’t so in love with someone else being in creative control of what I’d written. I also really missed performing (which I had been doing with me and my guitar in bars around Birmingham since I was about 15) and everything else that comes with being an artist. However, as I was going through this transition I managed to get Silicone toxicity which made all my small joints extremely swollen - including my jaw, which ultimately meant I found it too painful to sing for about a year. During this time out, I put all my efforts into learning how to produce and I basically went from knowing very little to finishing the Lucky Girls EP entirely by the time I was better. I just had to add the vocals and it was done! This was such a positive thing to come out of a negative situation, and in a way, I’m very happy it happened. From that point onwards the journey of building myself as an artist has been amazing. I’m working with writers and producers who are insanely talented, and who I might never have come across had I not released the EP by myself. I feel like both the music and myself as an artist are really growing and I’m super excited to see where it goes.
What have been the most cherished moments within your music career?
A standout moment for me was during the Lucky Girls video shoot. I was there with so many incredibly talented people working around me as we got ready for the next shot when I got an email through saying I’d had my first radio play. As a completely independent artist releasing a self-made EP it was just the most rewarding feeling ever. We were about 19 hours into the shoot by this point as well, so it was definitely a good pick me up! Some other special moments have been reaching number 1 in the French iTunes chart for the first track I’d ever had released as a writer (Tied Up, by Julian Perretta and The Magician), and of course the release of the Lucky Girls EP. At one point it felt like it was never going to happen, so when it finally did it felt like a very momentous day!
How do you try and distinguish your individuality in your music?
I grew up on a bit of a weird combination of R&B, pop and choir music. I was in every choir available to me including the CBSO and NYCGB because I was just obsessed with the harmonies and the sound of 4 or more separate melodies coming together. I think I’ve brought this love into my pop/R&B sound as I am constantly layering vocals over and over, everywhere I can. I’m also always trying to add more bluesy elements into my music. I grew up listening to my Grandad playing clarinet for his Jazz band, learning jazz piano myself and playing gigs in the Yardbird Jazz Cafe in Birmingham. I think this has influenced me more than I thought, as even when I don’t really try to, a lot of jazz elements often find their way into the tracks. I think my music is really a combination of all these influences mixed together with my obsession with pop.
What messages are you trying to explore in your single ‘Lucky Girls’?
Lucky Girls is probably the most personal song I’ve ever written. I was going through a very tough breakup and listening to breakup playlists pretty much 24/7. I was feeling specifically fed up with being ‘strong’ and not going back to the relationship, as I felt as though I was acting as the lesson my boyfriend needed to learn, and was ultimately the biggest loser in this scenario. Lucky Girls is about every person who has the opportunity of being your ex’s next big love, but they get the very best version of that person, who has already learnt all the tough lessons of love through you. At the time I felt very confused about a very complicated situation, so I tried to focus on this one aspect of sadness, and write a very simple and specific love song. I felt pretty exposed releasing this track, but it has been the one with the most feedback in terms of people going through a similar frustrating thought process. So I’m glad I wrote when I was most down, and hopefully it will help some people listening to those breakup playlists put feelings into words.
‘Lucky Girls’ EP has got just shy of 500,000 streams, describe what that feels like?
I feel very proud. I never initially would’ve dreamed I could write, record, produce and release a body of work that other people would actually listen to! So it feels pretty amazing. I had James Reynolds and James Cunningham who mixed the final versions of the tracks, and Kevin Tuffy who did the master of the EP as well, so I’m sure they’ve played a big part in the success! It’s always such a confidence boost when people let you know they love your music, and it definitely makes it feel worth the ups and downs of releasing independently.
What inspired the fantasy aesthetic of the music video for ‘Lucky Girls’?
We had always planned on having a slight fantasy aesthetic for the shoot as the song has always felt quite ethereal to me, with the soft piano and panned layered vocals. However, when filmmaker Moon came on board and suggested the ‘7 deadly sins’ concept, the fantasy aesthetic really developed. We were initially playing around with the word ‘lucky’ and the stereotypes around it, when Moon suggested the idea of ‘lucky number 7’, and the concept of 7 deadly sins, each packaged with a stereotypical element of bad luck, came to light. The video is encapsulating the mood and emotions that come with the deadly sins in a very conceptual way, so the fantasy world aesthetic worked really well to bring that alive. I also had Leannah Carer and Eleni Bantra working with me on makeup and styling before and during the shoot, putting together the perfect aesthetic for each scene and sin concept, which I think really brought the whole aesthetic together.
Explain what it was like working alongside Oscar-Winning Filmmaker, 'Moon'?
I felt incredibly lucky to have Moon on board, and it was so great to work with someone who’s creative vision I could completely trust. As this was my first music video, it’s safe to say this blew my expectations of a few scenes filmed on a crappy camera in my living room out the water. We had a pretty tight budget, so I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to achieve something to Moon and his teams usual standard, however he immediately came in with a new creative concept and vision that I could never have created on my own. What made the biggest difference was probably the curation of such a talented group of people. Absolutely everyone Moon brought on board made such a huge impact to the end result and I find it ridiculous that I was able to work with a team like that on my first video. It’s set the bar pretty high!
The video is said to “transport you through 7 deadly sins”, how did you mould yourself into each sinful character?
I think the styling and hair and make up really helped. Dressing up in the specific colour assigned to each sin, normally with the coloured eye contacts to match, made me feel like I was playing more of a character and embodying a concept than playing myself. I also think it was easy to access a lot of the emotions held by the 7 deadly sins through the music - I know I felt a lot of wrath, envy, and gluttony during the period it was written in! The whole thing was shot in almost double time, so that it could be slowed down to give that fantasy, almost slow-motion effect, so I had to really pay close attention to what I was singing. The fact I could link a lot of emotion into the lyrics really helped.
Where do you see yourself & your music in 2 years?
The Lucky Girls EP created a lot of opportunities for me, and I am now able to write with a few amazing producers who’s style I adore. Although I love producing, I definitely have a lot more to learn, and I normally prefer to co-write anyway, so I feel very lucky to be working with such gifted people. Obviously, during the corona lockdown, I am still writing every day but on my own, so being able to produce a little has come in very handy! I think the new music is developing in exactly the way I’d hoped into something really exciting, and it’s so fun working with people and merging your creative ideas together. You can definitely hear more of a contemporary R&B influence in the new music, which I’m very happy about. As I mentioned earlier, the journey up to this point has been a little all over the place, so I really have no idea where I’ll be in two years. But I’m planning on writing as much as possible whilst we’re in lockdown, doing as many shows as possible once we’re free, and continue developing as an artist in every way I can.