class of 2016: 10 things you need to know about mabel

Being musically gifted comes as second nature to Mabel.

by Lynette Nylander
24 November 2015, 4:16am

The offspring of the Queen of the Buffalo Stance, Neneh Cherry, and influential music producer Cameron McVey was always destined to be pretty special -- but no one could have predicted Mabel. The 19-year-old who's based both in Sweden and London has seen her star shoot into the stratosphere when she became Annie Mac's Tune of the Week on BBC's Radio 1 with her first single Know Me Better, a gold star for the most seasoned in the industry, never mind a young upstart on her first single. Having just released the video for her second song, My Boy, My Town. The soulful songstress sat down with us to talk Beyonce, being herself and what she's trying to bring to the music world. Here's 10 things you need to know about Mabel..

1. She's still really afraid of the dark…
"I have this whole ritual now because I've realised I can't fall asleep when it's too light so basically the room has to be quite light but I sleep with sleeping goggles on, that's like my weird diva thing. I just need to know the room is light."

2. Her dad told her about her big break…
"I was at a gig and my dad sends me a text like 'I just got a text from my friend and he says your Annie Mac's Tune of the Week' and I said 'Dad your friend's obviously stupid, I'm obviously not Annie Mac's Tune of the Week. I put my phone away, watched the rest of the gig and I picked my phone up afterwards and it had like 50 messages, loads of tweets and I realised it was truer. I just started crying so much."

3. She's obsessed with avocados...
"I eat a small harvest of avocados a week. I eat like 10, maybe more. at least one for breakfast and then guacamole for dinner."

4. Know Me Better is about someone she knows…
"It started as a love song to my boyfriend at the time, but then basically as I was writing it for myself. I was really nervous about releasing music and I suppose because of who my parents are, I wanted to do something that will really expose myself and say 'this is who I am.' I just wanted to do it because I was so scared of the music thing, and actually releasing something. I was just like I'm going to go all the way. So it's about letting your guard down and letting people see the real you so I feel like I wrote it for me too."

5. Her musical parents were brought over with emotion by Mabel's music...
"I was so nervous to play them my music, my dad was really honest. I started playing it and I didn't realise it at first but I looked up and my dad was crying. My mum doesn't cry, she just started sobbing. I was just being honest with that first song. I think for some people it works to create a persona and a whole thing around them, But for me I just want to be honest and open. I want people to literally know me better, that's kind of why we went for that track first, I want people to get to know me through my music."

6. The best thing about growing up in Sweden was...
"Security. It's so safe. You can go on the trains on your own when your like 8/9, there's not really any crime in that sense. It's so small as well."

7. She was largely unaware about her unusual upbringing...
"When you're really small you think everybody's families are like this, everybody's family goes on tour, kids fall asleep in the studio. Then I got to a certain age and I was like 'okay this isn't completely normal'. I must of been like 14/15 when I was like 'shit my parents are so cool.' Not only are they musicians but they're really good musicians and I think that made me not want to do what I do. l am very much their daughter."

8. She took a detour on the way to her music path..
"For a while, I was still trying to like deny the fact that all I wanted to do was music. I started doing a yoga teacher training! It actually sounds so weird to say because it really doesn't suit me. I used to be a dancer so I'm quite like flexible. so I was going to do that but then I was like actually i just want to make R&B music, so i did that."

9. The worst thing about being a musician to Mabel is...
"I suppose putting all my lyrics and everything that's personal to me out there, and they're all real emotions. You have to let go that people are going to make their own interpretations and people are maybe not going to like the stuff that you do. I've had people say stuff and comment on things. It's difficult at the beginning because you're like 'you can't tell me how I feel like, that is how I feel'. It's important to just let go of that because you can't face every single person."

10. She hails Queen Bey…
"Beyonce is everything and I'm not ashamed to say that. I went to a music school and everybody listened to indie and I could not say that I like Beyonce but she's just incredible, Destiny's Child album The Writing's On The Wall is probably one of the two most important albums of my life. I listen to a track from it basically everyday, anytime I feel lost. I just think she's amazing. She's just one of those people that's sort of grown with me, I've had her my whole life, she's always been in the background. Having her as a role model has been so good, she has made me feel like I can be the boss of my life, maybe."

Find out what you need to know about the rest of Musical Class of 2016.


Neverland Clan

Zak Abel

Connie Constance






Text Lynette Nylander
Photography Olivia Rose
Hair Jose Quijano at D+V Management using L'Oreal professional
Make-up Thom Walker using MAC
Photography assistance Rowan Hall
Styling assistance Bojana Kozarevic, Siobhan Wood, Issy Martin
Hair assistance Nicola Harrowell-Browne
Make-up assistance Famida Ayub, Ruth Coutinho
Mabel wears jacket Christopher Shannon. Rollneck Kenzo. Bracelet model's own.

neneh cherry
Cameron McVey
Class of 2016