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Rachel Chinouriri live in London: rising indie star proves she’s on path to greatness

At a sold-out KOKO, this rising star proves why indie stardom is surely imminent.

4.0 rating

By Nick Reilly

Rachel Chinouriri live at Koko (Picture: Lauren Harris)

For the last few years, the South London singer Rachel Chinouriri has been extremely open about the struggles of being lazily mislabelled as an R&B artist in the press.

“Black artists doing indie is not confusing. You see my colour before you hear my music,” she succinctly put it on social media in 2022.

If any of those lazy labels still exist, Chinouriri’s biggest ever show at London’s KOKO last night was surely the moment they were finally blasted out of the water. Here, in all her glory, was a star who could well go on to become an indie hero for a new generation of music fans.

It was evident from the moment when, a mere two songs into her set, the driving guitars of Chinouriri’s alt-rock indebted hit ‘The Hills’ kick in – prompting the kind of rabid singalong that stadium-slaying guitar artists could only dream of.

From herein, it’s a show that proves why Chinouriri is already getting the seal of approval in all the right places – Florence Pugh appeared in a recent music video and Adele has vowed to go and see her in LA.

Throughout a lean hour-long set, it’s clear to see why they’ve fallen in love with Chinouriri’s talents. Here’s a performer who can effortlessly tackle the light and dark of music. ‘My Blood’ sees her overcome by emotion as she hails her parents who have come from Zimbabwe to see the show, while ‘Never Need Me’ sees Chinouriri go full rock god – throwing herself into the crowd who have sung back every word at her.

It’s a chance to get up close and personal with a fervent following who have allowed her to sell out the North London venue and – you suspect – will follow her to the bigger rooms that will follow when her debut album What A Devastating Turn Of Events arrives in May.

And by the time she closes the main set with ‘All I Ever Asked’, the roof of the Victorian venue feels primed to blow straight off. It’s the mark of a true indie star in the making, right at the beginning of a breakthrough year that – all being well – should see her stellar talent being exposed to the masses. Huge things surely await.