British genre-hopping singer-songwriter Rachel Chinouriri has already lived quite a life. From being born in London to Zimbabwean parents and raised on church music, to being accepted to and graduating from the world-famous Brit School, it finally feels like Chinouriri is having her voice heard.

Fresh off the back of the latest of a series of UK tour, this one including four sold-out nights at her hometown’s Hoxton Hall, and a January which saw her support Lewis Capaldi across arenas, she’s sat in the back of a car on her way to one of the first of many festivals she’s got lined up for the summer.

We’re just on the way to Reading for Wasing Festival” she explains when she jumps on the Zoom from the backseat, “it’s just outside of London so not too bad”.

The past few months for Chinouriri have been hectic, as she puts the finishing touches to her highly anticipated debut album. “Compared to what this past few weeks could have been it’s been lovely” she explains of recording during her hectic schedule.

I put a lot of pressure on myself so I thought it would be stressful because I’m a perfectionist, but I’ve had to make changes in my life to make sure I enjoy the process because the making music part should be the fun part because that’s the thing I got signed for”.

That’s the part I’m at now” she continues, “so while I know there may be a time in the future when it gets really stressful and busy I’m enjoying it”.

Signed to Parlaphone in 2018 off the back of posting covers on SoundCloud, Chinouriri has been one of the most consistent artists of recent years when it comes to dropping music. Her debut single on the label, ‘What Have I Ever Done’ was released in June of 2018, and was promptly followed by her debut project Mama’s Boy EP a year later.

After a hiatus in 2020, one more imposed than requested, she returned inspired in 2021 with the release of her mini-album Four in Winter. The Better Off Without EP followed, inspired by the end of a five-year relationship, and featured some of Chinouriri’s most heartbreaking songs to date, in particular, the incredibly catchy ‘All I Ever Asked’.

‘All I Ever Asked’ was triggered by a conversation she had with her best friend one morning, who seemed a bit down. “I asked what was wrong and she burst into tears” she recalls, “then she told me her boyfriend broke up with her while she was in Paris and I went back into the studio and wrote what that must feel like”.

I knew what it was like because I’d just left a five-year relationship” she adds, “so it was still very raw so I tapped into that to write about her story. It all just happened really, I didn’t really think about it”.

When she finally released Better Off Without into the world last year, she immediately felt ready to tackle the mountain that was her debut album.

I was ready to do an album before my last EP; but I was in that weird era where I didn’t know what I was doing  and what type of music I wanted to make” she notes, “it wasn’t until I put out this EP that I realized I wasn’t ready at all, and that I wanted to change direction and do what I want fully from the album”.

I always feel pressure when it comes to making music” she admits when asked of her creative process, “I put music out there for people to have opinions about it, and they are allowed have opinions it’s just about not being offended about those opinions. Everyone critiques art to some degree, so even if I made the most amazing music in the world people would still find a way to critique it so it’s just about understanding you can’t please everyone”.

I’ve had to learn that if people are giving constructive criticism, it can be helpful” she adds, “and if people are just being nasty they are sad within themselves”.

A large portion of the upcoming album, the most recent single from which ‘Ribs’ was just released, was written and recorded in LA. With her struggle with pressure to create, was it made even more daunting when jettisoned across the world?

I’m used to it” she says, citing her years in Brit school at teaching her how to be professional. “The transition from going to school to being in the industry, I already knew how to be around people because I was already used to it to a degree”.

The past few months have been a whirlwind not only for Chinouriri’s career, but also for her reputation online. Firstly, the acoustic version of her song ‘So My Darling’ went viral on TikTok before Chinouriri herself went viral online for her hilarious story of drunk texting Lewis Capaldi, asking him to let her support him on tour.

To her deepest surprise, he said yes, and what followed was a month of touring the UK’s biggest arenas, before the tour was cut short due to Capaldi’s health.

It was a lot of fun” Chinouriri remembers of the experience, “We did 4/10 shows because he got ill but what was impressive to see as an artist from an artist a little further along in their journey is, even though he was ill, he was lovely.

"He came to the dressing rooms to say hi, when he cancelled, he came to talk to us about it, he went to his fans and how he carried himself whilst probably stressed out he remains really calm and professional which is an incredible work ethic to have”.

I know that the more you have to do the more pressure it is because more people rely on you, so being that kind and calm was amazing”.

I love intimate gigs but being on that stage with so many people in front of me was incredible” Chinouriri remarks, “and it was a beautiful way to see how he would interact with a room of 16,000 people and joke with them and translate his music to so many people, it was great. Being in the support slot can be difficult but his fans were amazing”.