Afropean Artist of The Month: Shanaz Dorsett

By Richard Bamford

According to OkayPlayer, Shanaz “is but the latest addition to the UK’s burgeoning organic soul roster”. Her biog tells us she draws influence from a diverse musical menu: Sade, Santigold, and Björk are all sprinkled into her brew. Okay, so not bad opening credentials, but, who is she and what is her sound, really?

She’s bubblier than a shaken bottle of Cristal and as sweet and soft as Cadbury’s chocolate buttons. This young lady is beaming with all the excitement and nervousness I loved to see in Chaka Khan when she was fresh-faced, young and shy. Yeah, sure, Shanaz has her influences, who doesn’t?  Hey, she grew up in South East London and her parentage is of Turkish Cypriot and Montserrat origins and both of her folks brim with charisma, creativeness and courage – of course this has rubbed off on Ms Dorsett.  Her upbringing, straddled between Houston, Texas and South East London, meant she drank up all she could that was on tap: Blackstar, Mary J, Amy, Kanye, Lauryn and Mike Skinner lubricating her thirst and igniting the light of her poetic passion.  You’re getting the picture, yeah?

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But wait, don’t assume our Shanaz is the Ronseal concoction as a guarantee; oh no – there’s a uniqueness in both the conviction of her story-telling and the pureness and clarity of her vocal pipes. Shanaz is auditory wash-and-go Floetry: why take Marsha Ambrosius and Natalie Stewart when you can have one Shanaz Dorsett. That’s not to half-measure her potency: a brutal honesty and sharp-wit, like Amy Winehouse’s pen and a vocal tonality that Dorothy Ashby could tune her harp to provide sufficient concentrate and soul bursting strength.

Still not convinced?  Well, it just so happens we have a lil’ exclusive for y’all. Shanaz’s first EP is released tomorrow (the 7th October), but she’s let us have a little sneaky peak and you can catch the video for Four Walls and a Garden here:
Shanaz is currently touring New York with a band but will be back in the UK soon with promotional dates upcoming.

The EP, Mother Tongue, is released on 7th October; available at all digital outlets.

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