A young artist well on her way to international pop stardom, Mabel has spent the last couple of years carving out her own sound, her own way. 2017’s breakthrough single, ‘Finders Keepers’, grew across several months into one of the biggest songs of the year, having spent five weeks in the UK Top 10 and seen Mabel nominated for the BRITs Critics’ Choice Award. It barely scratches the surface, however, into Mabel’s extraordinary personal journey thus far, and where she may go next…
Born into a musical dynasty, it is safe to say that music quite literally runs in the blood of singer-songwriter Mabel McVey. The daughter of producer Cameron McVey, best known for his seminal work with Massive Attack, Portishead, Sugababes and All Saints, Cameron remains one of British music’s most cherish guardians. Mabel’s mother is Neneh Cherry, the cross-generational music and style superstar who went onto defy then-musical genres.
Having been brought up in the mountains of Malaga, Spain, Mabel’s childhood was spent zig-zagging the globe with her sisters, with time spent in Notting Hill and Stockholm, Sweden where she studied at the prestigious Rytmus Musikergymnasiet music school which counts singer Robyn and Tove Lo as some of its alumni. A self-confessed loner, Mabel found solace in her music. “I didn’t have many friends growing up. I wasn’t into other kids that much. I used to hate when adults would leave me alone. I would already know that we didn’t have the same chemistry, I almost feel like I didn’t have the innocence of being a child in that sense,” she explains. It is there Mabel found the confidence to indulge and explore her songwriting abilities, drawing on these life experiences to craft early material such as ‘Know Me Better’, ‘My Boy, My Town’, ‘Thinking Of You’, and the ‘Bedroom’ EP (which spawned the unstoppable rise of ‘Finders Keepers’).
A child of the golden-age of 00s R&B, Mabel harnesses the energy of her idols Beyonce circa Destiny’s Child, as well the vocal stylings of musical legends like Stevie Wonder and Minnie Ripperton. Lyrically, too, much of what Mabel does explores everything from feminine independence and control in modern relationships to growing up, and into your own skin – as vividly dissected on her debut mixtape, ‘Ivy To Roses’. Along the way, Mabel has blossomed into one of British pop’s most refreshing and positive young role models. She is an outspoken advocate on mental health and her experiences of anxiety and depression, whilst retaining an ability to move effortlessly between the worlds of music, fashion, dance and art. Here, in other words, is that rare artist who’s at home collaborating with Stormzy or Tate Modern as she is touring with Harry Styles or Bryson Tiller, not to mention featuring in the brand new Converse 2018 campaign.
Full of attitude, energy and seemingly buoyed by newfound confidence, Mabel kicked off 2018 with a bang, collaborating with Not3s on his Top-20-charting single ‘My Lover’, and recruiting the young MC on her own rapidly-rising new single, ‘Fine Line’. “Blazing a trail that’s all her own” (Guardian) and “flipping the music-world’s male gaze without missing a beat” (Dazed), Mabel is a once-seen, not-forgotten talent who, startlingly, has also only just begun.