Talent 2010: The pop star, Coco Summner

Fiona Sturges
Saturday 26 December 2009 01:00 GMT
(Immo Klink)

You might think that Coco Sumner – frontwoman of the band I Blame Coco – has an unfair advantage over her indie-pop rivals this year. Coco is the daughter of Sting and Trudie Styler, one of the wealthiest, most famous and eminently slappable celebrity couples on the planet.

But don't judge her just yet, as 19-year-old Coco has slummed it with the best of them. Having started writing songs at the age of 13, and cut her teeth singing at open-mic nights from 14, Coco graduated on to the illustrious London "toilet venue" scene and was eventually discovered three years ago by an Island records A&R playing in the back of a barbershop in London's Kentish Town.

If, with her furiously kohl'd eyes and grubby mane, Coco's aesthetic is Eva Green meets Harry Enfield's Kevin the Teenager, her singing voice reveals a greater maturity – a husky, tormented wail much like her dad's. She describes her music as "disco-punk", which is a fitting description of her first single "Caesar", a terrific duet with the Scandinavian electro-pop singer Robyn, which will be released early next year.

Coco's influences are fairly disparate: Chet Baker, Kate Bush, Depeche Mode loomed large throughout her early teens – while Cole Porter, Dr Dre, The Doors, The Roots, Toots and the Maytals, Lee Perry and Benjamin Mcildowie all feature as influences on the band's website – but her greatest admiration is reserved for David Bowie, not just for his songs but because, she says, "he never lost himself in that fame world which happens to so many brilliant musicians".

So now Coco has her work cut out trying to convince the discerning music lover that she's not some over-indulged, paparazzi-baiting It Girl trading on her daddy's name to get ahead in the music business. "This is not about my parents," she says firmly. "I love them, they're amazing people, but what I'm doing now is nothing to do with them."

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