Daughter are an English indie folk band originating from London in 2010. Originally the solo work of Elena Tonra, they are now a trio with the addition of guitarist Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella. After releasing three EPs in 2010 and 2011, they were signed by 4AD and are set to release their first full-length album, If You Leave, in March 2013. Of Irish-Italian parentage, Elena Tonra (b. 1990) was raised in Northwood, London, with her older brother, Kieran. Through her Dublin-born grandfather she experienced traditional Irish music from an early age. Her interest in music began when she received a copy of the album Grace by Jeff Buckley. After being bullied at school she used writing to "deal emotionally with life". Changing schools at the age of 12 had a great impact and since then Tonra writes "about things I feel difficult talking about in adulthood”.
Tonra began her career in music, performing acoustic shows under her own name around London, she found that this "didn’t suit me at all. As a musician, I’m self-taught and felt I was restricted by my abilities". Haefeli attended one of the acoustic shows that Tonra was performing and found that "she had this power which drew everyone in". Originally from Neuchatel, he also attend London's Institute of Contemporary Music Performance. They began performing together with Haefeli adding electric guitars. After their first demo started word of mouth on the band, Daughter self-released their debut EP, His Young Heart, on 20 April 2011, recorded in Haefeli's bedsit. Later that same year, they released another EP, The Wild Youth, on 2 October through artist-led Communion Records. The latter EP earned praise from British website For Folk's Sake who described Daughter as "one of the unique sounds in the pop landscape today." BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens also invited them to perform a Maida Vale Session for his show.
Tonra and Haefeli became romantically involved and the guitarist insisted that they "keep our couple life and our band life separate, I don’t want Elena to stop saying things in her songs that are personal songwriters need to be expansive and they need to be unafraid”. While Tonra concurred with "Igor doesn’t question my lyrics. He regards what we do as an art form. He certainly doesn’t try to rewrite my words. I never tell anyone what my songs are about, not even him. I feel they are direct enough, anyway. They aren’t especially obscure".
In 2012, shortly after headlining a 700-capacity show in London, Daughter announce their signing to UK label 4AD. Speaking of this, Elena commented "we couldn't be happier to be working with 4AD, a label that has released so many inspirational records and whose ethos we hold in very high regard. It really is a privilege." Their first single proper, "Smother", was released in October of that year. It was playlisted by both BBC Radio 1 and 6Music, while being awarded Single of the Week by long-time supporter Huw Stephens. In December 2012 the band appeared on the David Letterman Show prior to the release of the record, which Tonra described as "perhaps (...) a cart-before-the-horse situation". Fanart Banner