Rising London talent, Tora, is as intriguing as she is relatable. Crashing onto the scene with debut single "Vein" in March of this year, Tora captured the attention of audiences even as the world turned upside down.
Whether on her debut or her recent follow-up “Call Your Name”, Tora left an indelible mark in the minds of listeners with her powerful voice, creative authenticity and her intellectual introspections of the world around her.
Now, Tora steps forward with powerful debut EP ‘Cavalier’. Made up of five brilliant tracks, the EP is deeply reflective and personal even as it decodes the complexities of humanity in general. Hinged on looking inwards and learning to stand up for herself, the EP is as much a journey of catharsis and self-discovery as it is about Tora’s relationship with others.
‘Cavalier’ dropped alongside a music video for closing track “Escape Room”, which perfectly reflected message of self-confident acceptance within the track. This particular track is a great example of Tora’s ability to learn and let go; as she peels back the layers of a relationship she has outgrown, letting go of a love that no longer held any significance for her.
Tora talks about the experience of recording and releasing an EP during a global pandemic, what she discovered about herself during the writing process, and much more.
How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard your music yet?
Soulful and electronic and pensive.
You mentioned that you learnt a lot about yourself during the writing process of “Cavalier”. What was the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself?
Finding out I’m a people pleaser was the most significant thing, I was quite distraught when I figured that out, still working on nipping that one in the bud.
What was the recording process for the EP and music video like?
Starting the song is the fun part because it’s new, you’re just playing around, there’s just less thinking involved. The shaping of the song can sometimes feel exhausting as you’re trying to accurately execute and describe something out of your head but it’s probably the most rewarding. It’s quite satisfying looking back on the first version to the fifth to the one you hear.
The video concepts for all the videos started with me and came naturally as they felt like extensions of the song. The videos (Vein and Escape Room) were made with my friend (Aliyah Otchere) so it felt so organic and easy – if anything it did feel a bit weird initially watching them back and seeing myself in that light.
What’s one memory from the experience of working on this EP that you’ll always fondly recall?
The day I wrote “Pisonia Prologue” was one of my favourite days of writing, it was my birthday so we were in high spirits anyway but also I just knew right away that it was going to be on the project. For the rest of them, there were points where I wasn’t so certain as I’m incredibly indecisive but that one I was just sure from the get-go that it was right.
The EP is very reflective, based on your own feelings and experiences. Do you usually approach songwriting from such a personal perspective, do you draw from the stories around you, or is it a mix of both?
Generally, my writing comes from a mix of both my experiences and those I’m in close proximity to, because I would’ve seen and felt it firsthand.
You launched your debut in the middle of a global pandemic. Did you find your motivation to create challenged by the unexpected shutdown of the world?
It was hard! It definitely takes a certain level of discipline to focus whilst the world falls apart and for me, it was better to just process everything around me rather than forcing myself to create. I’m definitely coming out of lockdown a better cook though.
What’s one piece of advice you’ve been given that applies well to both your life and music?
Don’t take everything on.
When people listen to your music, what message do you hope for them to take away from it?
The best thing I could hope for when people hear my music is for it to feel so relatable and understanding that they hear themselves.
What’s on your bucket list as an artist?
I can’t say everything on the list- evil eye & etc. First and foremost is to not lose myself, to be free in everything I do, to design or customise a trainer for women as women’s trainers always seem to be lacking and sell out Bush Hall.