As soon as you press play on Fabienne's beautiful 'City of Shadows', an immense wave of old school Soul and R&B nostalgia will hit you - and yet the British singer has only just released her debut EP, City of Shadows. We caught up with Fabienne to understand the influences behind the incredible melodies we hear on her recent release, especially the title-track.


Here's what Fabienne had to say about it:

No one in my family is musical in the sense that they don't sing or play any instruments, but I've always been lucky to be surrounded by great records growing up. My mum is fully responsible for how much I love R&B. Mary J Blige's What's the 411 album was pretty much the blueprint for how I thought women in music should be; strong, raw and brutally honest.

I've always had a weird thing about how R&B likes its women. When I was at school it definitely seemed like being 'sexy and super sweet,' was the way. I remember Ashanti, Ciara and Mya being at the forefront of commercial R&B for a while, kind of like they had picked up from Mariah in the 'Dreamlover' days, and although I bought the records and sung along I always wanted something that felt more real and not as polished and perfect. So went through the 'everything is shit and fake' stage and stopped watching MTV Base and listening to the radio, and rooted around my stepdads records for a bit instead.

Then the moment I heard Aretha Franklin 'Chain of Fools' I swear my heart just burst, I fell in love with her voice, the pain in it, how honest she was was empowering to me, even if the lyrics were vulnerable she still had the balls to say it as it is. Then Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, his tune 'I've been loving you too long' was the first song that made me cry, it never registered in my mind that the music was much older than I was.

When I was 14 I wrote to Atlantic records in NYC and asked if I could do my work experience there, I'd got obsessed with the Atlantic sound back in the '60s, so when they said yes (I just made the tea btw) I spent the summer blagging my way into open mic venues. One of them led on to meeting Ms Betty Wright who invited me to stay with her for the summer, and I guess that's when I felt like I wanted to start writing my own songs.

When I'm in the studio I still always listen to those artists like Aretha and Otis, that raw soulfulness in music is the main reason I ever wanted to sing. But I look at others like Kanye and Janelle Monáe and they are just as important, I rate that they make music that's forward facing, a new classic.

'City of Shadows' is the title track taken from the debut EP out now (Super Recordings).