12 Days of Music: A Review of Shura’s Album Nothing’s Real

Artist: Shura

Album: Nothing’s Real – Polydor 2016

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The alias of British artist Aleksandra Lilah Denton, Shura first emerged in 2014 with the immediately arresting song “Touch,” the first in a string of singles that confidently introduced her sultry 80s-steeped R&B/pop sound. Last year she unveiled a few more stellar singles, appeared on an excellent single from fellow up-and-coming UK talent Mura Masa, and anticipation for her debut album consequently increased to a fever pitch. Fortunately, her debut album Nothing’s Real delivers on the promise of those early singles, yielding one of my favorite pop albums of 2016. Stacked with all of her prior standout singles and seamlessly sequenced to paint a full, cinematic, and expansive sonic landscape in just under an hour, Shura’s first full-length album offers a mature yet playful spin on the nostalgic and romantic tropes of 80s pop with a slick, refreshing, contemporary R&B touch.

Alex Ruder

About Alex Ruder

Hi, I am Alex Ruder, a music supervisor at PlayNetwork with over 15 years of experience in the music industry.

I have had a passion for music since I was a kid, growing up listening to Seattle’s KUBE radio station (RIP) and creating mix tapes from radio recordings that I would then share with my friends. Thanks to the Internet, I soon found a passion for finding underground artists that weren’t played on the radio, and my obsession for discovering and sharing music by artists from all over the world blossomed.

My love for electronic music enabled me to break into the radio world: first volunteering at the UW’s Rainy Dawg Radio, and later interning at KEXP in Seattle—both experiences that ultimately led to hosting a weekly overnight variety show on KEXP in 2008, a time slot that I held down for over 8 years. I’m still involved at KEXP, hosting variety and electronic on-air shows, assisting the music director with reviewing new music, as well as booking and producing KEXP’s weekly guest DJ mix show ‘Midnight in a Perfect World.’ With this background, it’s natural that I landed at PlayNetwork. I love the ability to listen to music from the unique perspective of what works for retail, from up-tempo club music to spacious ambient music, all depending on the brand’s sonic direction. Plus, it doesn’t get much better than working with a bunch of other music nerds that share the same passion for music that I do.

When I am not at PlayNetwork or at KEXP, you can find me every now and then mixing it up in nightclubs under the alias DJ D’Nelski (a play on my middle name) or overseeing my independent electronic music label called Hush Hush Records, which unveiled its first release in August 2012.

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