Mabel’s breakthrough came with the song “Don’t Call Me Up” and the album “High Expectations”. The Corona crisis stopped concert plans for the summer. The rise of the young singer, who comes from a family of famous musicians, will hardly stop her.
Mabel knew that one day she would pursue a career in the music business when she was a little girl. “I never really considered another career,” says the British pop singer in a telephone interview with the German press agency in London. No wonder – after all, the musician gene in the 24-year-old Mabel Alabama-Pearl McVey, who recently received a Brit Award for the best British artist, is in the family.
Her mother is the singer Neneh Cherry (“Manchild”, “7 Seconds”), her father the musician and massive attack producer Cameron McVey. The singer-songwriter Marlon Roudette (“Big City Life”) is her half-brother, the soul and rock musician Eagle-Eye Cherry her uncle. Mabel, who has British and Swedish citizenship as well as Spanish, no longer met her step-grandfather, the legendary jazz trumpeter Don Cherry. He died a year before she was born.
The career path was thus pretty much mapped out by the family tree. While Marlon is involved in her debut album “High Expectations”, Mabel’s parents are not involved in professional matters. “We keep family and work separate,” assures the young woman. “Although it is incredibly great and I am really proud of what both have achieved, we definitely separate it.” No career tips either? “There is only advice that other parents give to their children.”
She did her own thing very early on when it came to music, says the singer, who landed a top 10 hit in several countries last year with the single “Don’t Call Me Up”. She wrote her first songs at the age of five. “I learned to read and write when I was very little, and I’ve been playing the piano since then.”
Diary for song ideas
One thing led to another – entries in her diary, which she kept very eagerly, became the first song ideas. “The feelings and emotions that I wrote down and the chords that I played on the piano – that’s how you make a song,” says Mabel. “I would say that the creative process is still exactly the same for me today.”
After an EP and two mixtapes, their debut album “High Expectations” was released last year. In addition to danceable pop hits in the trendy R&B sound such as “Boyfriend” or “Don’t Call Me Up”, which primarily appeal to a younger – and according to Mabel not only, but mostly female – audience, you can also hear thoughtful songs.
In “OK (Anxiety Anthem)” the singer deals with her own psychological problems – “personal struggles with fear”, as she says. The song is a statement against the “misunderstanding” that pop stars have to be perfect. “It is my responsibility not only to show the shine, but also that life is sometimes hard. And I’ve been struggling with it since I can think. ”
Always under pressure
With “High Expectations” – high expectations – she has no problem, says Mabel. “There is always a lot of pressure in my job. But the only person who can put pressure on me is myself. At the end of the day, it’s about doing things that make me happy. ”
With this maxim, things are currently going uphill for Mabel. In addition to commercial success and much praise from the British music press, she was also able to receive the coveted Brit Award this year. Mabel accepted this award in front of her proud mother’s eyes – a special moment, especially since Neneh Cherry had received two “Brits” exactly 30 years earlier.
Shortly afterwards, Mabel’s career plans were stopped by the Corona crisis. She was able to finish her sold-out tour, but planned appearances at major music festivals in summer are canceled. She isolates herself at home in London and keeps herself and her fans happy with vocal performances and videos on social media.
A tour of Australia and New Zealand is planned for the fall of her buddy Harry Styles. By then at the latest, Mabel wants to be back on stage and “look people in the face,” she says. “Because I think that’s what I miss most about this whole thing.” (Philip Dethlefs, dpa)