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  • Rachel Chinouriri Releases Debut Album “What A Devastating Turn of Events”

  • London-based singer-songwriter Rachel Chinouriri released her highly-anticipated debut album “What A Devastating Turn of Events” on May 3, 2024 via Parlophone Records.

    The album comprises 14-track (deluxe edition 18-track), produced by Rich Turvey, apob, Aaron Shadrow, Daniel Hylton, Oli Bayston, Leroy Clampitt, HYLNU, Josh Scarbrow, amd Jonah Summerfield.
    The album's creative process took place between Forestdale, Hereford and Los Angeles.
    She began writing and recording songs in England before traveling to Los Angeles to finalize the album in 2023.
    She stayed in Los Angeles for over a month to work on the album, but she struggled to settle down in Los Angeles with her mental health problem.
    Eventually, she returned to her hometown of London and completed the album.

    Rachel Chinouriri said of the album in a statement, “'What A Devastating Turn Of Events' should feel like discovering a personal journey of all the hardship and struggles that have ultimately made me the person I am today. I was lost when I first made this album, when I felt so lost within myself, but also in London. I was on a search to find myself and I can say I've managed to do that by the end of this process, and have found a love for myself that I never thought was possible.”

    She continued, “I feel fortunate enough to be able to document that process and have it in physical form and sound. Hopefully it'll help other people realise that it takes tough times, self accountability, betrayal and uncomfortable moments to finally get to a point of true self love.”
  • Rachel Chinouriri said, “The writing process began as a journey to find 'home'. My family moved out the country in 2019 and I felt lonely and just wanted to go back to my childhood home despite how desperately I'd fought to leave it. I felt exposed. The nostalgia of home is something I weirdly missed. I found comfort in being in chaos or fear but music gave me the opportunity to change that for myself and begin a new journey of peace.”

    She added, “I hated myself, self sabotaged, got in pretty terrible situations, had to deal with the battle of being black in Britain but learned to find a beauty in being lucky enough to experience this as it's what has made me and I can't change that, therefore I love every struggle and battle. It feels nostalgic for me but I don't miss home anymore because I now treasure it in a music form. In the form of a fucking ALBUM... my new home is wherever this journey is that music will carry me on, and I'm so happy to be sharing a piece of my home with you.”
  • Rachel Chinouriri shared on social media, “13 year old me in from Croydon is screaming. The oldest song on this album was written 8 years ago! I'm grateful I can finally let it all go in such a beautiful way. This is just the first of many more albums (Manifesting)!!! I feel so lucky that creating music is a gift the universe gave me, but I'm even more grateful that it's something I get to share with you . So thank you!”

    She continued, “In early 2023 I had pulled out a lot of hair, I was very insecure, I had burns across my stomach, I felt unloved and used to overthink a LOT. I had been in such a dark and scary place mentally for a while but something had changed when I recorded the final parts of my album in Hereford and I regretted ever being so cruel to myself. I felt so at home (thank you Glen, Mary and Aaron). When album shoot day came I felt self conscious… and kind of like… why did I do this to myself??? But my team made me feel so special that day and I realised this album and everything I'd written was the start of a very healing personal journey.

    She added, “I don't really know what that feeling is, but feels nostalgic listening to this album and I hope it becomes something important and meaningful to you!”

    Rachel Chinouriri explained track-by-track for the album via Apple Music.

    “Garden of Eden”
    “I wrote this after my big LA trip feeling like, 'This [the UK] is home for me.' I'm just adamant I want a house in the countryside. Where I grew up in Croydon isn't that, but it was quiet, and I would always hear birds and see fields and grass. We were in a room [in a studio in the UK countryside, where Chinouriri went after LA] and would always have the recording on, and the birds were that loud. I was like, 'Let's just maybe make it a soundscape where you're just falling into this situation.' It's setting the scene.”

    “The Hills”
    “We've left the Garden of Eden now and I'm like, 'Right, I don't belong here.' The music video shows [me], a Black woman, walking across some flags, and people have said, 'Oh, she's talking about how she doesn't belong in the UK,' but I'm actually talking about how much I do belong. It's almost seeing those street parties where they've got all the flags and being like, 'I'm as English as you guys, so I belong here and I'll be staying here whether you like it or not.' The song is definitely a headbanging, screaming moment—it has a bit of an American-boy-band-in-a-basement, kids-in-a-garage vibe. It felt like a relief to have something after a trip where we didn't have much, especially after five weeks.”

    “Never Need Me”
    “After I wrote this, I didn't even send it to the label. A few days later, I was at a festival and my manager came to me and said, 'Why didn't you send us this song? Oli [Bayston, one of the song's co-writers] sent it to us.' I said, 'I don't like it, I think it's a terrible song.' I think it was because of its meaning. And in the session, I was just so angry and annoyed and in such an agitated mood. I felt uninspired. But later, I said, 'If I can do it however I want, I'll finish the song.' So I went to [songwriter] Glen Roberts and changed all the production—I was thinking Kings of Leon and heavy guitars.”

    “My Everything”
    “This song is about giving your all to everyone. My project before this album, Four° in Winter, was very experimental and wonky. I knew I was hitting some pop territories with this album, but I think there are still wonky elements to me. I really love Ladysmith Black Mambazo and how they use their voice almost as the instruments. I just liked being in the studio and coming up with weird sounds with my voice. I don't even want to know how many vocal tracks are on that—but it was a lot! I don't know if people will like it, but I wanted to show all the different parts of who I am.”

    “All I Ever Asked”
    “Again, I didn't want it on the album. But now I realize this song is important and a way people discovered me [it was a single in 2022]. I think I'm actually quite a dark person because I'm a Scorpio. Whether you believe in star signs or not, I've always gravitated towards dark lyrics to a point where I don't think sad lyrics really hit me anymore. But there's also a degree of making light of situations. Because as much as [what inspired this song] is sad, it's also like, 'You'll live. He was an asshole. There are plenty more people you can meet in this world.' There's light that can come to those situations.”

    “It Is What It Is”
    “When I was doing [the speak-singing here], I was like, 'Maybe I'm going to sound a bit like a loser.' I'm not really rapping, I'm talking, and then obviously I have this English accent. I don't want to say I have a boring voice, but when I'm speaking, I think I sound quite monotone. But what I'm saying is, 'You are a fucking arsehole.' This one's for my girls and boys who have definitely felt this multiple times. Mae Muller is on this track. She is that person who will be like, 'Absolutely not.' I'll go out and look at someone slightly questionable and be like, 'I fancy him.' She'll go to the bathroom and be like, 'Rachel, love you so much. No, no, you're not doing that.' And I'll be like, 'OK.'”

    “Dumb Bitch Juice”
    “This was very much Amy Winehouse-inspired—I know it's not Amy Winehouse at all, but she had this ability to sing in quite a free and melodic way, but you can hear every single thing she says. When I wrote this, I was like, 'I'm here to insult today.' Not just insulting someone else—insulting myself too. Because sometimes men are terrible, but there's also a degree of 'You have allowed someone to treat you like that.' Of course I've been heartbroken by an absolute idiot because I'm drinking dumb bitch juice!”

    “What a Devastating Turn of Events”
    “All my siblings were born in Africa, I'm the only one who was born in the UK. There's a set of relatives who know I exist, but I've not met most of them—I have no clue who they are, but my siblings grew up with them. And when she [Chinouriri's cousin, the subject of this song] died, my siblings were devastated. I was sad about someone I didn't know. I constantly thought about it and wondered how it had happened. I had gone through something similar; being able to write about it has been kind of helpful for me to understand my own situation and stuff that I've gone through. Sonically, I never thought we needed a big chorus. It's a different verse and different chorus every single time. Then there's just this kind of chanting thing—I think that's maybe where my African influence is coming, the marching and the pace of the drum and everyone singing as a group. We all sat in the studio with a mic and just screamed, 'What a devastating turn of events.' I think there's a degree of sorrow that comes along, kind of trudging through this very sad story. This is a very important one.”

    “My Blood”
    “I wanted a song where there's not necessarily continuation, but which speaks about things which people might do as a cry for help. You should always watch when things like that happen to people. I went through a phase where I was pulling out my own hair—it was a stress thing. It started making me think about when I was younger and there was self-harm things. It was visualizing looking in a mirror and being like, 'Why am I doing this to myself?' But it's also these invisible wounds. The strings here add so much to the song—the cinematic-ness of it is definitely influenced by Daughter. I wanted to get people to feel. It sounds very sad from top to bottom, but I hope people listen to it and think, 'Wow.'”

    “There was a baby in our family who passed away, and I felt like I was robbed of them. I was a bit more poetic in this song, but it's almost considering people I'd not met that had such a massive effect on me. You can be robbed of time sometimes, with people or family. When stuff like that happens, the people around you are always like, 'It'll be OK. I'm sorry that happened.' And actually, sometimes it's OK to just be like, 'That was fucking shit. That was horrible and this is unfair.' That was the kind of emotion I wanted to translate in these songs.”

    “Cold Call”
    “I was really inspired by Coldplay's 'Politik.' It's just mind-blowing. I'm quite obsessed with Coldplay and I asked my team to show them the song. I know that they liked it—it meant a lot. They are my inspiration for a lot of things. I think it feels like a universal song. It's kind of like, 'I've had enough of this now, I'm not doing that anymore.'”

    “I Hate Myself”
    “I like how this ends with me reflecting on the positive. I've felt some very negative things, which I've been lucky enough to stop in their tracks. I mean, 'a victim of your mind' is one of the lyrics here. I wrote this with [producer and songwriter] Jonah Summerfield and he was like, 'Oh, this is pretty deep.' But sometimes when you put your thoughts on paper, you can read it back and think, 'That was ridiculous.' I looked back at this and thought, 'That was a really stupid thing for me to even put myself through.' You have to learn to love yourself—and hope that as a society we can really unlearn the treatment of people for being different sizes. Being able to write music has been a combination of me unlearning and learning so much about myself. And I think I can see how my self-esteem really skyrocketed the song in many ways.”

    “When I wrote this, I'd gone through all my phases of being like, 'Men are trash, men are toxic.' Then I was kind of like, 'Well that's just BS. I was just choosing terrible men. And there are actually nice ones if you allow yourself to be loved. So I'm going to write a song about how I would like to be loved.' I thought, 'When I find someone, I'm going to give them this song.' And when I started dating my boyfriend, I said, 'There's this song I have.'”

    “So My Darling (Acoustic)”
    “The song is like six years old, so it's a nostalgic way to end the album. You've gone through this journey of [mostly] new songs, and then you get thrown back into one that everyone knows. I wanted the whole album to sound and feel nostalgic for being a Black Brit, so to end on something nostalgic for the fans was really important. I think the whole album is very nostalgic of maybe my home life, but for the fans, it's nostalgic for them.”
  • source : Apple Music
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