Denai Moore

The neo-soul crooner talks inspiration.

All clothing EMPORIO ARMANI AW17

All clothing EMPORIO ARMANI AW17

June is already shaping up to be our favourite month of 2017. Why? Because our Summer 17 Issue has arrived and Denai Moore – the incredibly talented musician who graces several pages – has just dropped her latest album, We Used to Bloom, today!

Already an in-house favourite, full of raw emotion and profound lyricism we’ve been playing it non-stop and were desperate, then, to learn more about the creative process that produced it. Lucky for us (and you) the Jamaican-born east Londoner has whipped up a killer playlist of the songs that inspired her.

Have a listen below and be sure to dive deeper into the mind of your new fave singer by checking out what Denai had to say in our latest issue, here.

All clothing EMPORIO ARMANI AW17

All clothing EMPORIO ARMANI AW17

Solange – “Losing You”

The spirit of this song really inspired the production for the first track “Let It Happen”. Which is a song that has changed so much sonically over the past 1 & a half years, and never really felt right. I wanted “Let It Happen” to feel uplifting and fun, so I knew i had to step out of my comfort zone and try something different completely. The harmonies at the end of “Losing You” totally inspired the first verse.

Sufjan Stevens – “Too Much”

Age Of The Adz in general as an album really moves me. The textures on this song “Too Much” is so bold, assertive and uncompromising, it’s definitely not the most easy listening song, but sonically everything really blends together so well. This is something I wanted to explore more, I love the idea of there being audible juxtaposition, I don’t like making easy listening music. I really pushed myself on this record to toy around with more synths and really finding a balance between harsh and softer sounds.

Beyoncé – “Formation”

Lemonade came out right in the middle of me writing this album, what really floored me the most by this song is just how free her flow is. It inspired to play with rhythm more, something I’m still doing in my writing now.

tUnE-yArDs – “Water Fountain”

There’s something about the balance of the drums/percussion in this song that is impactful. I played a lot of percussion on the album, including me rolling a stick on the floor. As well as a bit of drums on a few tracks, I really wanted to play around more with beats on this album.

Kanye West – “Ultralight Beam”

I grew up listening to gospel music, especially Kirk Franklin so, when I heard this track I took me back to my youth. There’s something about distorted choirs and making them sound more powerful as opposed to tender and spiritual that I wanted to capture.

St Vincent – “Rattlesnake”

St Vincent to me is the best modern day guitarist! Her tones had a stamp to it, she sounds like herself.. almost as identifiable as her voice. I wanted to find my own tones on the record in terms of guitar. It was the first time I really messed about with riffs.

Elliott Smith – “Let’s Get Lost”

I was late to the Elliott Smith party, his melodies and lyrics are so potent. I covered “Twilight” on the album after we had extra time after finishing vocals for another track really early on. I didn’t have any intentions of doing it, but it felt so right, and fit perfectly into the rest of the record.

Radiohead – “How To Disappear Completely”

Kid A in general was a massive inspiration for this album. They are masters of creating a balance between their familiar sound and something new. This is definitely the record that started that for them in my opinion. I wanted to do that for this record. I wanted it to sound even more like me, but new and different like how I felt.

Angel Olsen – “The Intern”

I really appreciate how close this vocal feels when you hear it. I’m also definitely a part of team ‘minimal vocal reverb’. I wanted my vocals to feel a lot brighter and intimate, as opposed to being drowned in reverb. This song is special because of that to me.

Jono McCleery – “Painted Blue”

I feel Jono is massively underrated ! I think the string arrangement on this song is so unique and interesting. I’ve never recorded strings before, it was one of the most special sessions I’ve ever done. I worked with this incredible string arranger Fiona Brice, who totally captured the emotion/colour I wanted from the strings without it being too predictable!

Perfume Genius – “Longpig”

This album got introduced to me by attending a live show of his. I was instantly obsessed. This song has a very interesting chorus ending that you don’t really expect. It feels like an explosion. For this record I really heavily wanted mini explosions. Recording the song “does it get easier” was challenging but once we worked out that mega Tom [drum] fill the song took place. We recorded toms in a massive live room and distorted it to have an explosive effect. It was the funniest thing to make.

All clothing EMPORIO ARMANI AW17

All clothing EMPORIO ARMANI AW17

All clothing EMPORIO ARMANI AW17

All clothing EMPORIO ARMANI AW17

Read the full interview with Denai Moore in the Summer 17 Issue, out now and available to buy here.

Louie Banks
Nicco Torelli
Hair and makeup
Kim Kifer at Frank Agency using Bumble and Bumble and MAC Cosmetics
Photography Assistant
Tinatin Shaburishvili
Fashion Assistant
Abigail Hazard
Thanks to
GAS Production Hire Ltd.
Denai Moore

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