Mabel was always going to be a star. With a father, Cameron McVey, who produced records for everyone from Massive Attack to Sugababes and a mother, Neneh Cherry, with fierce bars and an arrestingly soulful voice, Mabel is blessed with a versatile sound and a stylistic panache, which is both heard throughout her music and seen in the alluring prowess in which she carries herself.
As a Spanish-born Londoner – with immediate family hailing from Sweden – Mabel’s multicultural blend of R&B represents the progressive voice of young London. While the political climate in the UK post-Brexit breeds isolationism and a suspicion of multiculturalism, Mabel’s story epitomizes what young London is all about, and runs in direct opposition to that trend.
Moving to London helped her find her most natural groove, she says, “There’s more freedom in London. Without thinking, I embraced all the sounds and styles I’d tried to suppress.” The city’s style tropes resonated with the way she wanted to express herself, with Mabel donning high-waisted sweats and puffer coats or oversize denim and sport jackets along with the Converse One Star, a silhouette that mirrors the right blend of heritage and non-conformity Mabel looks out for when putting together a fit.
Even before her first foray into pop stardom with debut single “Know Me Better”, Mabel was immersing herself in the creative world. Her first project was a fashion blog cataloguing her style tastes, and she has previously opened up how important fashion is to her. “Outside of music,” she says, “it’s the only other way I know how to express myself.” Her fits are getting noticed by her fans, and whilst she’s already getting imitated, she’s low-key becoming a style icon for a new generation.
And she’s not just just turning heads on Instagram. Critically lauded almost as soon as she began her career, she’s now truly getting the plaudits she was destined to receive. Mabel has been honing her ability to craft big, room-filling pop bangers for just a few years, but she’s already rewritten the rule-book on pop music and smudging the boundaries between the underground and the mainstream.
Mabel takes a lot of her inspiration from the ‘90s, where she looked up to the likes of Aaliyah and Destiny’s Child who she imitated in her living room growing up; their sonic and stylistic imprint has definitely shaped Mabel’s aesthetic. Speaking on that era, Mabel asserted, “It was a time with a really strong female R&B presence. We need more of that.” She’s definitely reinventing their presence in her own idiosyncratic way this year, which resonates with the way in which the Converse One Star—another ‘90s favourite—has re-invented itself for spring 2018.
Now, having been nominated for the BRITS Critics Choice Award, her debut “Finders Keepers” with Kojo Funds hit number 8 in the UK singles chart and her remix of Not3s’ “My Lover” hit the Top 20 in the UK singles chart, while her most recent track “Fine Line” is already on its way to the top 20 in both charts. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s just been crowned the winner of MTV’s ‘Brand New For 2018,’ the first of what will be a long line of accolades for an artist with the world at her feet.
What does the future hold for Mabel McVey? Whether she jumps on wavey afrobeat or sultry R&G, or wearing thigh-high boots or the Converse One Star, Mabel is paving her own lane in the intertwined worlds of music and fashion – she's a perfect fit as the face of Converse's Rated One Star campaign, celebrating those who change the game.
Mabel fronts the new Converse One Star which is now available from converse.com.