Singer Coco set to step out of father Sting's shadow
Fresh from a debut appearance at Britain's Glastonbury Festival, Coco Sumner, daughter of megastar Sting, is out to show she is more than just famous offspring as she embarks on her own pop career.
The 19-year-old British singer fronts her band, I Blame Coco, and is already making waves with her own blend of electronic pop.
She has a debut album due to be released later this year and her second single, "Self Machine", is out this week.
While being the daughter of a famous musician has helped breed a sense of familiarity with the industry and has doubtless opened a few doors, the downside is it makes her an easy target for critics.
"It's definitely a challenge," the multi-instrumentalist told AFP in an interview after her Glastonbury appearance.
"Especially in the United Kingdom, people are very sceptical about things like that. I think and I hope I've got a chance to prove that wrong."
Sumner, who plays piano, guitar, bass and drums, clearly benefited from growing up in a musical environment, but admits that she often kept her precocious talent hidden from her father.
"There were instruments around the house but I kept playing my music very secret, I was ashamed of playing music," she said, before adding: "Actually, it wasn't that. It was something I could savour and hold to myself" without it being scrutinised by Sting.
The occasional actress and model for British fashion label Burberry said she had received encouragement from her father, but he never pressured her to play instruments.
"I just picked up a guitar and started learning it. I just wanted to be in a band and started writing songs," she said.
As well as writing the tracks on her upcoming record, Sumner also plays all the instruments. She sticks to singing and guitar duties when playing live, despite claiming that being a vocalist was never part of her plans.
"I didn't ever want to be a singer, I thought singing was lame," she said. "I only started when I was 15 or 16 and I'd never sung in front of anyone before because I thought it was rubbish.
"I just wanted to be a drummer and a guitar player," she added.
Another famous father and daughter team, Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne, scored a British number one hit in 2003 with their re-working of Black Sabbath track "Changes", but Sumner ruled out any future 'Coco and Sting' projects.
"I think my dad's cool but that won't happen. I don't think either of us could get away with that," she explained.
The recording of her debut album "The Constant" took shape when Sumner moved to Stockholm and teamed up with producer Klas Ahlund, best known for his work with Swedish pop star Robyn.
"I went to Stockholm and made a big turning, to make Swedish punk music," Sumner recalled. "I went to get out of London and it was the middle of winter so it was permanently dark, quite isolating but comfortably isolated.
"That's when I met up with Klas and we started writing. I'm a huge fan of Robyn, I think she's got a brilliant voice but also she's very ambitious and knows exactly what she wants, she's a good role model," Sumner added.
There are definite similarities between the pair's angular electronic sound which emphasises heavy basslines.
Major Lazer DJ and MIA collaborator Diplo has already remixed single "Caesar", which guest-featured Robyn, while drum and bass producer Sub Focus has called upon Sumner's vocal services for his track, "Splash".
Although clearly a fan of electronic music, Sumner is wary about moving in that direction.
"I don't think I'm cool enough," she said.
"I think doing that is very cool, and I'm not, but that's not a rule, so maybe one day."
© 2010 AFP