Rachel Chinouriri: Five Essential Albums

Rachel Chinouriri (photo by Dean Ryan McDaid)
by Kara Manning | 02/02/2023 | 2:18pm

Rachel Chinouriri (photo by Dean Ryan McDaid)

Throughout Black History Month 2023, FUV is reaching out to musicians we admire to learn about the albums that are most essential in their lives.

The songs of London's Rachel Chinouriri deftly negotiate hard-to-discuss feelings: brooding love, awkward longing, profound loss, and that slow crawl from sorrow to stability. Her observant eye (and ear) has given her a depth of lyrical perception that encompasses the lives of her friends, her own quandaries, and a broader socio-political mirror of the Black experience.

Connect Chinouriri's savvy songwriting with her gently mellifluous voice — as sweet as birdsong — and her innate knack for catchy hooks and you have one of Britain's most intriguing and fast-emerging artists. She's also very funny and disarming. Via a a tipsy Instagram DM that she instantly regretted (there are threads!), Chinouriri has landed a major support slot with Lewis Capaldi on his European arena tour, beginning later in February. She also quickly sold out a series of her own headlining shows at London's Hoxton Hall from May 9-12.

A Brit School alumnus (yes, the school that gave Adele, Amy Winehouse, Loyle Carner, and Kae Tempest early footing), Rachel's third EP, 2022's Better Off Without, included her hit single "All I Ever Asked," a "New FUV Faves" pick.

As she looks ahead to a debut album, she released a "I'm Not Perfect (But I'm Trying)" last fall and a brand new single, the spare and beautiful "Maybe I'm Lonely," on February 1. An early demo of "Maybe I'm Lonely," which she shared on social media on Christmas Eve, gleaned over 1 million views on TikTok and over 25,000 streams — and the track wasn't even finished.

These are busy and hopeful times for Chinouriri, but when FUV asked if she'd write about her "Five Essential Albums," she quickly responded with a personal playlist that reflects her own expansive range as an artist.

Rachel Chinouriri's "Five Essential Albums"

Coldplay, A Rush of Blood to the Head
This may be my favorite album ever. It's hard to say, as the energy albums give all vary, however the writing and emotion I feel when I listen to this album is unmatched. Coldplay is one of my biggest inspirations and this album is the project which made me want to become a writer.

Sampha, Process
I don't think I have heard such a well-put-together album. It's a perfect combination of textures, tone, and lyric. Each song takes you on a journey, but it's still all so cohesive. This album has influenced how I approach music and how I always want to find interesting ways to adapt my songs.

Daughter, If You Leave
This album changed my teen years. I cannot express how much deep emotion this album unlocked for me. It was such a game changer for me because the style/tone of the vocal influenced how I adapted my own style in singing. It's mesmerizing how delicate and fragile a voice can be, but still be so powerful. The ambience in this one always gets me.

Rihanna, ANTI
Rihanna is basically my mum so how could I not include this album? It’s such a big moment for pop and for Black women. The energy/vibe is something all the girls needed to hear. I listen to this and feel untouchable and more reassured in myself. If I feel low and need to remind myself who I am, I can rely on this album to do exactly that.

SZA, Ctrl
I didn't know which album to put, however I picked the first one because it's impacted me more as an artist. I am still obsessing over the new one. This just changed my perspective on how a more alternative artist can still keep who she is as a Black woman and still be experimental with her sound and look. Also the writing in this is phenomenal.

- Rachel Chinouriri
January 2023

Find all of FUV's "Five Essential Albums" here.

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