Blending '70s soul and '80s funk with contemporary quirky pop, singer/songwriter Zarif has been described as the lighter, frothier alternative to Amy Winehouse. Born Zarif Davidson in Harrow, London to a Scottish father and Jewish Iranian mother, she grew up listening to Prince, Michael Jackson, and Teena Marie, started writing songs at the age of seven, and formed her first band, Girls of Tomorrow, while still at school. After graduating from University College London with a degree in Human Sciences, she became a backing singer for funk revivalists Retrogression and indie pop collective Scarlett's Well, while holding down various nine-to-five jobs. While performing at an open-mike night, she was spotted by a Sony BMG talent scout, who offered her a deal with RCA in 2007. Following support slots on Taio Cruz, Chris Brown and Beyoncé's U.K. tours, she sang with John Legend at a London showcase, and released her debut single, "Let Me Back," in 2009. Due to various record company wranglings, she eventually released its parent album, Box of Secrets, independently through Bright Pink Records a year later. Zarif has also guested on albums by Danny Byrd, Breakage, and the Nextmen, and performed at Prince William's 21st birthday party. ~ Jon O'Brien
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