August 18, 2019
Martin-oger Daguerre



Paris-based Londoner ALA.NI today releases a new double A-side single – ‘Differently’ and ‘Sha La La’ –  alongside details for her forthcoming self-written, produced & arranged new album, ‘ACCA’, due for release in early January 2020. Featuring appearances from both Iggy Pop and rapper/actor Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta,Sorry To Bother You) and recorded entirely a cappella, ‘ACCA’ is the follow-up to ALA.NI’s widely praised 2016 debut ‘You & I’, which picked up airplay at 6Music, also securing ALA.NI fans amongst the likes of David Lynch, Iggy, David Byrne and Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Watch the official video for ‘Sha La La’ here and the official video for ‘Differently’here.

A powerful and uncompromising vision of modern womanhood, ‘ACCA’ is unflinching in its account of pain, anger, sadness, and growth. The spectral shuffle of album-opener ‘Differently’ signals the evolution of an artist some distance removed from the bruised torch songs of ‘You & I’, with the track’s ‘You do you….’ counsel tracked to a striking dance clip, shot in a colour pop Parisian basketball court. By contrast, the candid footage from the new video for Calypso-flecked track ‘Sha La La’ (also recently recorded live for La Blogotheque) – which captures ALA.NI at home in Paris absorbed in the daily business of eating, sleeping, meditating – is a tender mirror to the track’s evaluation of moving forwards from the failure of a defining relationship. Both videos – in contrast to the predominantly black & white, hazy clips which she created herself for ‘You & I’ – hint towards an opening up, of ALA.NI herself coming into clearer focus.

Written whilst on the road in spots including Paris, Mexico, Los Angeles, the UK and New York, ALA.NI created ’ACCA’ by layering up hundreds of vocal tracks, some of which imitate the sounds of instruments, building a hypnotic world that blurs the lines between vibrating vocal cords, bowed strings, and blown reeds. Written – as with ‘You & I’ – a cappella, with ‘ACCA’ ALA.NI pushes a vocals-only technique to its furthest possibilities. ‘ACCA’ is made up entirely of human voices – beatboxing serving as percussion, with ALA.NI lowering her own vocals to create the illusion of bass, whilst percussive elements were created using everything from beer bottles and tennis balls to ALA.NI’s own body and the studio walls. “It was all pretty lo-fi on my end,” says ALA.NI, who often captured songs on the fly using a laptop whilst in transit. “I didn’t record to a click, I didn’t use a tuner; I’d just press record and lay down whatever came out.”

When ALA.NI’s debut came out, comparisons to Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland were quick, but her music actually reflects a far more complex influence and experience. Born in London to Grenadian-immigrant parents (her mother a couture seamstress, her dad a reggae bassist), ALA.NI’s great uncle, Leslie “Hutch” Hutchinson, was one of Britain’s most popular singers in the 1920’s & 30’s, also lover to Cole Porter. A talented dancer, ALA.NI loved Julie Andrews and the ballet, but was told in no uncertain terms that as a young black girl, those things weren’t meant for her.  Graduating from Sylvia Young, ALA.NI worked as a backup vocalist, performing with the likes of Mary J Blige, Andrea Bocelli and Damon Albarn. ‘You & I’ triggered ALA.NI’s debut on Later…with Jools Holland, also earning her a fan in David Byrne, bills shared with Rufus Wainwright and the Dance Theater of Harlem, and sets at New York’s Lincoln Centre & David Lynch’s Silencio club. More recently, ALA.NI has also sound-tracked Netflix hit Russian Doll, starring Natasha Lyonne. 

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