ALUNA RELEASES HIGHLY ANTICIPATED DEBUT SOLO ALBUM ‘RENAISSANCE’ TODAY
Today marks the release of RENAISSANCE, the highly anticipated debut solo album from Aluna, available worldwide today via Mad Decent. RENAISSANCE, which Aluna co-produced alongside executive producer Lido, features contributions from Princess Nokia, Jada Kingdom, SG Lewis, KAYTRANADA, Scott Storch, GRADES, Mr. Carmack and Rema, and represents the culmination of her journey of “a black girl in an all-white British suburb back in the day” to launching a rule-breaking revolution where rigid boundaries dissolve between culture, race, gender, and genre.
Listen to RENAISSANCE HERE.
According to Aluna, “The recent ‘Black Renaissance’ is so inspiring to me,” she explains. “There has been a pivot in all creative endeavors from film and television to plays and comics. Black people have begun involving themselves in non-stereotypical things regardless of who agrees. The outcasts have found each other. Renaissance sums up a defiant, rule-breaking, and transitional election of new culture. To me, this album represents that within its own small, individual world. I’ve gone through the process of owning myself, and this is the celebration. It’s not a party with tables where you’re popping bottles of champagne in high-heeled shoes. It’s in the woods, around the fire, and everyone looks sexy in the bloody fire-light. We might be a minority, but we have power.”
Aluna was involved in every aspect of the process for RENAISSANCE —from penning the lyrics, singing, playing drums, keys, guitar and co-producing the album. Through and through, she guided arrangements and directed the flow. Speaking to her hands-on approach, Aluna reveals, “It’s funny, but the album’s production is the most personal thing to me,” she goes on. “I’ve struggled with the very core elements of my cultural makeup and almost apologized for it throughout my life. I’m a really weird clash of different musical elements. I unapologetically embraced that. Songs on this record are actual pieces of my existence, especially on the production side.”
The first single “Body Pump” illuminates this unapologetic approach. Co-produced by Josh Lloyd-Watson of Jungle in London, glistening synths echo alongside a dancefloor-ready vocal crescendo— “Hold on, my body’s pumping all night long” —spiked by a funky tropical groove. As the energy explodes, it culminates on a manic proclamation, “I’m trying to be different, don’t try to make me feel ashamed.” “It’s about owning your individuality,” she states. “You’re owning yourself and challenging someone to accept you as you are. Lyrically, it talks about hiding yourself from those around you and then saying, ‘Don’t tell me to think about what I’m doing when I was just about to express myself. I don’t want to think about it. I just want to do it’.”
Meanwhile, “Get Paid” carries her into uncharted sonic territory. Working with Soko, she interpolated “Heads High” by Mr. Vegas—her very first interpolation. Her voice grinds over a glitchy beat as handclaps push towards the infectious and irresistible chant. “I’d never done an interpolation,” she says. “It was one of my ‘rules.’ The vibe felt so right for ‘Heads High’, and Soko was like, ‘Why the fuck not?’ He was right!”
Then, there’s “The Recipe.” Widening the sonic palette, Aluna, together with Kaytranada, fused afrobeat elements in with his trademark percussion and the mesmerizing vocals of Nigerian singer-songwriter Rema, giving the song an overall late-night club vibe. She croons, “I do something for me, you do something for me, if I like what I see, you’ve got the recipe.” “It’s quite a girl power track,” she exclaims. “As someone who has an inferiority complex and difficulty feeling confident, I’m introducing myself as a new person. I decided, ‘Be honest. Don’t pretend you’re a chill, low-key, and low-maintenance person, because you’re simply not. You’re an absolute basket case, and you need it all, or the relationship won’t work’.”
“Jealousy” marked a breakthrough. A collaboration with Lido in Joshua Tree, lush piano written by Aluna
glows underneath a show-stopping vocal performance. Her voice stretches from high register voices into a soothing refrain. “Jealousy is something I’ve certainly suffered from, only as a musician though,” she confesses. “In matters of the heart, I don’t indulge in jealousy. I can’t help it when I look at other artists, but I do find it inspirational. People often have asked me, ‘How do you feel now that you’ve made it?’ I’m always like, ‘I haven’t made it. This is not ‘it’.’ During the week I was in Joshua tree and we finished ‘Jealousy’, I felt like I made it.”
As the record came together, Aluna’s life changed forever. She became a mom…“I was like, ‘Okay, this child is actually going to be what I needed in order to get to the next level’,” she remembers. “For the rest of the writing process, my daughter was like a hidden spirit animal to me. It’s a really optimistic secret I had. She’s going to be a mixed child, so I wanted to show her through an album it’s okay to be a mixture of all these things, and it will be a gift to the world.”
In the end, Aluna remains on the brink of launching her own revolution with RENAISSANCE. “I feel like this is a time of rebirth for everyone,” she leaves off. “That can be both scary and really exciting
depending on which way you conduct your mind or your emotions. For me, music has always been able to shift me towards the future, positivity, and high energy in order to do more. When you listen to this, I want people to start believing in themselves and continue to from that point forward. It’s not a nostalgic album. It’s not looking back to the past; it’s all looking towards the future.”
Last week saw the release of new single “Envious”, the fourth track to be released from this incredible studio album. The new track is accompanied by her empowering official music video directed by Hamadou Frederic Balde. Watch HERE. Speaking about the new song, Aluna reveals, ”I think people really need this song right now because I believe it’s my best ‘cry dance’ song; a style I coined to describe that exquisite feeling when all your emotions are released while dancing so you cry at the same time. I feel like in these times people need that at least once a day!”
2020 has already been a momentous year for Aluna, her latest singles have amassed more than 16.5 million combined global streams, with over 2K global radio spins in 32 countries, garnering global support from some of the world’s most respected radio stations, including BBC Radio 1 (UK), Triple J (Australia), KCRW, KEXP, and Sirius’ BPM Station in the U.S. Spotify’s New Music Friday has championed her in more than 20 countries this year, as well as placing her on the cover of their flagship dance playlist Mint and Massive Dance Hits. Nectar (Amazon Music) and New Music Daily (Apple Music), along with support from radio staples, Zane Lowe and Ebro Darden, continue to amplify her solo project.
Back in June, British born, Los Angeles based Aluna also penned a powerful open letter to the global dance community, demanding the community re-assess the platforms and positioning of Black creators within the dance world. “When I started looking at all the challenges I face being a black woman making dance I realized I wanted to do more than just create a space for myself – I want all black people to know that the genre of Dance is their heritage and they should feel included and encouraged to create under that banner by expanding the genre to be culturally and racially inclusive.” Read the full letter HERE.
To celebrate the release of RENAISSANCE, Spotify has teamed up with Aluna to present a Renaissance Royal Rave on Friday 8/28 at 8pm ET. Fans are encouraged to dress to impress in their fiercest looks when joining Aluna for this special, first-time live performance of her new songs. After the show, fans can join Aluna for a private afterparty where they’ll celebrate the new album, ask their burning questions, and learn how the record came to life. The Renaissance Royal Rave can be attended via Mad Decent’s Twitch channel HERE.
RENAISSANCE is out everywhere now.
Stream/buy ‘Renaissance’ HERE
RENAISSANCE TRACK LIST 01 I’ve Been Starting To Love All The Things I Hate 02 Warrior (feat. SG Lewis) 03 Sneak 04 Envious 05 Don’t Hit My Line 06 Aluna, Princess Nokia & Jada Kingdom – Get Paid 07 Aluna, KAYTRANADA – The Recipe (feat. Rema) 08 Body Pump 09 Ain’t My Business 10 Off Guard 11 Back Up 12 Pressure 13 Surrender