ALUNA TAKES THE REINS AND STEPS OUT SOLO, EMBARKING ON A NEW CHAPTER WITH ‘BODY PUMP’
SIGNS TO MAD DECENT
CONFIRMS SOLO ALBUM IS ON ITS WAY
Aluna makes her mark as a solo artist with the release of her spectacular debut single ‘Body Pump,’ out everywhere today. One half and front-woman to the internationally renowned British duo AlunaGeorge, the critically acclaimed singer, songwriter and performer is stepping out on her own having inked a global deal with Los Angeles based record label Mad Decent and confirming a debut album is on its way.
“Having enjoyed being the main ingredient to many successful dance records, I started wanting to create the whole dish. In the past when performing on the stages of my white male peers, I always felt like a visitor being one of the few Black women I could see, so it never fully occurred to me to claim dance music as my music, as an artist, even though it was at the heart of my connection to music.” Aluna admits. “Then I looked at the history of dance music and saw how, for example, Chicago House, known as the invention of house music, was pioneered in the Black and Latino LGTBQ+ communities which gave me inspiration to stake my flag in the ground as a Black woman in dance music by taking control of production and songwriting with my own vibe.”
On signing Aluna to Mad Decent, record label founder and long-time friend Diplo revealed, “I’ve been a fan of Aluna for years – her voice, her style and her way of putting records together. Having her sign to Mad Decent feels like a family reunion – can’t wait to get these records out to everyone. Huge project for Mad Decent.”
From a young age, Aluna had to beat her own distinct path. She was raised by her mother in Hertfordshire, England, which she describes as “the whitest place on earth.” She explains: “I was the only Black person in my school and I had this frizzy hair that no one knew what to do with. My mum is Indian, so she didn’t know how to deal with black hair and convinced me to shave it all off. When I had hair, kids would call me Scary Spice or ask why I’d stuck my fingers in the electric socket, and then when I didn’t have hair they’d call me Halle Berry or just Alan because I looked like a boy.” Being the odd one out served to strengthen her independent spirit and drove her to push forward “I was like, ‘I don’t belong anywhere,’” she says. “But now I realize, all that served to set me free from convention and gave me the motivation to make my place in the world.”
Music was Aluna’s refuge from a young age, helping to cultivate the sixth sense for melody and songcraft that she has today. That was helped by her Mother’s eclectic taste for global sounds, from beats from Soweto to Hindi devotional music — as well as Van Morrison, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson and Etta James. As a kid, she’d make up her own songs and sing them into a cassette tape recorder, and put on performances for her Mother with schoolmates. Moving to St Albans as a teenager, Aluna scoured web forums for bands to play with, joining a psychedelic funk jazz band, and one indie-leaning outfit where she played guitar dressed as Lara Croft. “I’d written four albums by the time I’d joined AlunaGeorge,” she notes. In 2009, she met George Reid via MySpace after he remixed a track from Aluna’s band My Toys Like Me, and their sonic alchemy was instantly clear. The inventive allure of their debut album Body Music heralded a resurgence in leftfield R&B, and a knack for combining electronic and soulful sounds.
The duo went on to sign a major label deal, toured the world and topped the charts globally, in 2018, having left the major label fold, the pair self-released their critically acclaimed EP ‘Champagne Eyes,’ which featured notable guests such a Cautious Clay and Bryson Tiller. Since then, in 2019 Aluna become a proud first time mother to a beautiful daughter, has been working on her own solo music and is now ready to embrace her past and everything that makes her so unique and essential in music today. “As soon as I started writing this album, I got knocked up.” She quips. “There was definitely a moment where I thought I had to give it all up, but as I started writing, the baby became a spirit animal and the idea of holding down a music career as a Mum, became a new motivation. I love finding my own ways to go against the status quo and this was clearly going to be a challenge. If it wasn’t enough to be a Black women doing dance music, I’ll be doing it as a new mum too!”
‘Body Pump’ is out everywhere now.