21-year-old east London based singer/songwriter Rachel Foxx could easily be described as something of a soul diva in training. There's a taste of Jill Scott with a dash of Sade and a sprinkling of Erykah Badu. She's no carbon copy however; it's just not difficult to hear those influences.

'Before You,' for example sounds reminiscent of something from Jill Scott's debut album. Intertwined into the distinctly throwback beat and Foxx's sensual vocals, is the same inventiveness, same hunger and same eagerness to impress that Jill Scott began her career with. In comparison to some of her musical counterparts, Rachel Foxx's debut feels distinctively old school and slightly out of place for her time; it's easy to forget that she's just 21 and to her benefit, it helps her stand out from her crowd of other young female singer/songwriters.

It's an unusually warm September afternoon when we speak to Rachel. She's just returned from a trip to New York where she spent much of her time recording in hip-hop collective Pro Era's studios (up-and-coming rapper Joey Bada$$ is a member of the collective along with a number of other rappers, photographers, directors and much more). She's chirpy, quick-witted and if you ever forgot she's just a 21-year-old East London girl, it all immediately comes flooding back when in discussion.

What's the reaction been like to the release of your new EP?

I like it! It's not been too forced or heavily promoted. It's one of those things where "if you know you know!" It's gradually getting more and more plays every day, it's quite steady and not forced in people's faces, which I like!

Was that an intentional move?

Most definitely. I really wanted to do it naturally and not forced like "Hey guys, check this out!" I just want it to be organic and just grow by itself.

Some people would probably know you from some of your feature work in the past. The EP's sound is quite different to what you've released before. Is it a reflection of where you're at now, musically?

I've always loved soul and R&B, but when I first started taking singing seriously all I wanted to do was sing! Any song that was playing, I would sing to it. I just wanted to record. But as I got older I started refining my sound and really finding myself. Maybe that's why everything might sound a bit different to what I had before.

How long did it take to put the EP together?

Well, I did a lot of it at different times. I recorded the intro when I was about 19. 'Before You' - I wrote half of it when I was 18 and finished it this year. It's been a long time [laughs]. it's basically a body of work that I put together over time. I wasn't working on it throughout I was taking pieces from before and mixing them with new bits. The outro I made two weeks before I put it out. There's old and new music but I think it all goes together because they've all got a similar sound.

Would you say it's a good representation of who you are now?

Yeah, I'd say that. In my music I talk about love, hate and feelings but when I'm talking to my friends, I don't talk about that kind of stuff. In music, I say things I normally wouldn't say. I don't like talking about love and feelings and that kind of stuff. I try to avoid those kinds of things [laughs]. I love music because I can truly express myself.

What would you say is your earliest musical memory?

Probably when I was in primary school; we used to have these handwriting books and I'd always write songs in them. I always used to forget the melodies and I'd think "Oh, this is a waste of time! I can't do this!" I'd write songs, forget the melodies, go back to it and it wouldn't be a song anymore. It would just be words on a page. I thought I'd never be able to write a song, that's probably my earliest musical memory [laughs].

Who are your musical influences?

I love Sade, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Maxwell... the OG's, the veterans of music. But I also love TLC, Aaliyah, Donnell Jones, Michael Jackson... everyone loves Michael Jackson!

You're quite an active social media user. What's your opinion on social media and your fans being able to interact with you so easily?

I think it's amazing that someone can listen to your music, hit you up about it ask you questions about it, like "What does it mean?", "Where can I hear more of your stuff?" I think it's so good. Years ago, artists were so closed off from their fans and now you can get really close to them. I always reply to people who ask about my music. I know some people don't reply and try to keep up this "image" online, but for me I think it's really good and people can get to know you and you can see what people think of your music straight away. People don't hold back online so you get to know the real reaction.

What is your long term goal? Where would you like to be in 10 years time?

I want to do a lot more writing. Hopefully in the next 10 years I would have made an album or a few albums at least. I just want to make more music and reach more people and places. Right now, I'm making music on a smaller scale, but by that time I hope it's on a bigger scale so a lot more people can hear it.

Now that your EP is out, have you started working towards a new project yet?

Yes, I'm working on my new EP called Gold. It's going to come out in 2015. I don't want to change anything too drastically but it is going to be different. Maybe this one will be a little bit more up-tempo but I want to keep my sound consistent so people know it's me. I don't think I'll change it up completely and do a pop EP or something. I want to keep it consistent but a little more up-tempo.

Is there anyone you'd like to work with or collaborate with?

I'd love to work with SBTRKT. I really want to work with him, I love him!

What about becoming more of a behind the scenes writer? Is that something you've ever wanted to do?

I've always wanted to be a singer. Well, I've always wanted to be involved in music and fashion but I was always really shy so I'd never do it ot take them seriously. Even now, I still want to do a lot of behind the scenes creative stuff. I've studied art in the past and I've always been creative. I used to write novels when I was younger and feel comfortable in that creative place. When you're in the front, there's a lot of pressure but I do love to sing and perform as well.

When the music is all said and done, what would you like your legacy to be?

I don't mind, I'm not really fussed about that. I just want someone to feel something and relate to me when they hear my music.


You can listen to Rachel Foxx's self-titled debut EP by heading here.