Seraphina Simone is a beguiling mix. On the one hand, she’s a hard-working London nerd, who studied at Oxford and has done every crap job under the sun to support her music.
On the other, she is musical aristocracy, although the term makes her cringe. Her father is the musician Terence Trent D’Arby aka Sananda Maitreya. Holidays, when she was a girl, meant long trips through California, brushing shoulders with everyone from George Harrison to Billy Idol, or being babysat by Pamela Des Barres. Some artists might claim their ‘godparents’ were Prince, Miles Davis, Christie Hynde, Pete Townsend and Mary Greenwell. Seraphina’s actually were.
A childhood only takes you so far. From all these influences, from her deep-South pastor grandfather, and a heritage that is black, Greek, Irish and Cherokee, Seraphina Simone has created a sound that’s wholly her own. These are smart, sun-drenched tales of heartbreak and longing, queer sultry odes to the bad decisions you wished you hadn’t made and the ones you wished you had.
If you listen out for BANKS or Lana Del Ray or Bat for Lashes or Lorde, then you might hear traces, as well as the ghosts of Human League, Blondie, New Order and Cyndi Lauper. These are the songs of a young woman finding a path through an impossible 21st century.
But she is also none of the above: wholly sui generis. In her hands the ordinary becomes uncanny.