Mabel has unveiled a brooding Shura remix of second track ‘My Boy My Town’, which is available today . Having gone Top 10 on Spotify and been playlisted this week across Radio 1, 1Xtra and Spotify, the 19-year old has also confirmed details of her first London live show, with an AMP Collected date at the ICA on March 10th (alongside Formation and Bonzai). This follow’s Mabel’s nomination for the BBC Sound Poll, the Blog Sound of 2016, and Spotify’s Ones to Watch for the year ahead.
Though far from your average teenager, Mabel’s songwriting draws vividly on the vulnerability and growing pains of Coming of Age. Soulful and contemplative second single ‘My Boy My Town’ was written following a move back to London from Stockholm, and soundtracks those struggles to adapt to wider change thereafter. “Every city has a character and just like people you have to get to know them,” Mabel writes. “My Boy My Town is about how a relationship and the complex relationship you have with a city can so easily become interlinked.”
Even before the plane touched down, it had already been quite the journey. Mabel started playing piano at the age of five, as inspired by emerging R&B – choreographing routines to Destiny’s Child or Lauryn Hill with her sister – as the discipline and emotional honesty of Jazz (with local Swedish musicians frequently filling the house). Exposed to life on the road and frequently falling asleep to the vibrations of heavy bass, Mabel soon realised that her family weren’t as ordinary as she’d always thought (her Mum and Dad are Neneh Cherry Massive-Attack producer Cameron McVey).
Intimidated by their reputation and keen, like any would-be rebellious teen, to follow her own path, Mabel made out she wanted nothing to do with music throughout her childhood. Then, she quietly enrolled to study production and music theory at college in Stockholm, refusing to play anyone bar her best friend her songs and teaming up with fellow prodigal-producer Josh Crocker in Leeds to complete debut offering ‘Know Me Better’. Further spurred on by her grandmother’s advice to her Mum when she was pregnant – to never separate life, and that family and creativity can work together – ‘Know Me Better’ has since become one of the standout introductions of 2015: an affectingly-fitting request to let your guard down, and not judge a book by its cover. ‘My Boy My Town’ confirms Mabel as a refreshing, positive voice in Pop, still grappling with the teething problems of growing up – but with music inescapably in her blood.