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Alexandra Lilah Denton (also known as Aleksandra Lilah Yakunina-Denton, born 17 June 1991), known professionally as Shura, is an English singer, songwriter and record producer. She is best known for her work in the genres of electropop and synth-pop.
Life and career
Shura grew up in Manchester. Her mother is a Russian actress and her father is an English documentary filmmaker. Her parents divorced when she was three. Shura has two brothers, including a twin, Nicholas, who has starred in four of her music videos: "Touch", "White Light", "2Shy" and "What's It Gonna Be?". She began playing the guitar when she was 13 years old and started recording music at 16. Shura had been a promising footballer in her youth and played for Manchester City from under 11 to under 16 level. While reading English Literature at University College London, she formed a band with guitarist Patrick Duncombe and collaborated with producer Hiatus (Cyrus Shahrad).
Shura took a gap year after her university studies and developed her songwriting skills while working in the Amazon rainforest.
Shura is an out lesbian. In summer 2014 she experienced a severe panic attack, which she described as "feel[ing] like I [was] dying." Her stage name comes from a Russian short form of her first name. Shura is also fluent in Russian.
Following her work with Hiatus, Shura decided to assume creative control over the production of her music. During night shifts at her workplace (a video editing facility), she watched YouTube tutorial videos on how to use music production software. Her single "Touch", co-produced with Joel Pott of Athlete, drew positive notice from internet blogs during early 2014; its music video was co-directed and edited by Shura herself. Two other singles, "Just Once" and "Indecision", followed the same year, and Shura produced a remix of Jessie Ware's single "Say You Love Me". Shura was longlisted in the BBC Sound of 2015 poll. Shura is also signed to Universal Music Publishing Group in the United Kingdom. She released the single "2Shy" in March 2015, followed by "White Light" and a performance film titled Three Years in June 2015. An EP titled White Light was released in the United States in July. The same year, Shura performed at music festivals including Bestival, Festival N°6, and Latitude.
Shura's "Touch" was released on 18 February 2016 alongside a version featuring Talib Kweli. The Original Mix was released on Record Store Day 2016 as a limited 12" single featuring remixes from Canvas and Delorean.
Shura's music has been described as "infectious but melancholy electropop" as well as "slow-burning synth-pop" but has said that pop music "didn't represent" her. The singer has said that "missed opportunity, regret, nostalgia" are some of her main themes in her work.