- Words Notion Staff
Renowned musical chameleon Aluna takes us through her musical firsts and shares an ethereal music video for “Kiss It Better”.
Known as one half of multi MOBO and Billboard nominated outfit AlunaGeorge, Aluna is a renowned artist redefining herself with a solo project. Two years in, she continues to develop inclusivity throughout the dance music scene by reiterating its Black pioneers.
Dropping her solo debut album ‘Renaissance’ in 2020, Aluna described the project as a day in the life of “a black girl in an all-white British suburb back in the day”. This September saw the artist drop an infectious new dance track “Kiss It Better” with acclaimed deep house DJ MK. Since the release, the artist has continued to tease a music video and recently partnered up with BBC Radio One for a live session performance including an exclusive version of “Kiss It Better” at Maida Vale Studios.
Currently on a journey of evolving her sound and music industry persona into an even bigger, more vibrant project, Aluna talks to us about the moment she realised she wanted to be a musician, collaborating with esteemed producer and artist Pharrell, and the moment she met her childhood musical hero Thom Yorke. Dive in!
First song you ever made?
When I was about nine, I wrote a song called “Sunrise” on the guitar. It was very yearning “my heart is broken and my souls flown away, wish I could go with them and disappear for a day”. At that time I had moved a lot and missed my friends from childhood…it took me a really long time to break out of writing sad songs!
First song you released officially?
It was a song called “Sick Couple” in my band My Toys Like Me. It was about when a couple is in that PDA point of a new relationship so everyone around them feels sick when they see them canoodling, I always thought that was a funny reaction (that I personally had cos I was cynical, unromantic and super single).
First CD or record you owned?
My mum got me Michael Jackson ‘BAD’ and I decided immediately that I was MJ. Me and my best friend used to fight about that all the time, no-one wanted to be MJ’s girlfriend, go figure.
First time you realized you wanted to be an artist?
I was on my way for an interview for a supermarket job. In the car park my mum asked me what I really wanted to do with my life and seemingly out of no-where I blurted out that I wanted to be a music artist. She said go for it and then quickly forgot we ever had that conversation when I actually took it seriously and the prospect of having a poor musician daughter forever became a reality.
First gig you went to?
It’s hard to say, there was so little live music where I grew up, but the boys in the year above me played at the local pub once when I was 17.
First time you faced an obstacle in your career?
We (My Toys Like Me) had signed a ten year publishing contract for £3k at a bar so that we had the money to make a music video. Later when AlunaGeorge had a serious deal on the table we couldn’t take it until I sorted out my previous mess!
First instrument you owned?
My mum got me a guitar when I was 8, all I ever wanted was to learn the piano but we couldn’t afford one or get one up to the top floor of the council flat we lived in. I had a really boring teacher and my dad would make me play only the start of “Greensleeves” over and over till I went mad. I was pretty resentful about that so it took me years to fall in love with the guitar.
First time you felt like giving up?
When I first started making music I really wanted to make indie-rock, my influences were Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, The Strokes, Kings of Leon, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. However, soon I had to face the reality that I would never make it because I was Black and I was a girl. I had a roommate in a band who sealed the deal by telling me I would just never be convincing. I struggled with that for a while then carried on and eventually carved out a niche genre that was so original that nobody could tell me I wasn’t “convincing”.
First time you felt starstruck?
I’m a Radiohead stan so when I was at a fashion show and Thom Yorke was Djing I completely embarrassed myself by yelling down the hallway that I loved him and other cliché embarrassing stuff. He rolled his eyes and escaped my lame craziness.
First time you ticked off a bucket list goal?
I had the opportunity to work with Pharrell, it was three of the best days of my life. We would start at 6am and I tried to impress him by bringing a strange vintage mic I bought at a flea market in Paris that sounded terrible. We made some really weird and awesome stuff that lies in the “Golden Vault of unreleased songs”. You can hear them in another dimension.