London-born and -based singer/songwriter Aluna Francis a.k.a. Aluna, is best known as one-half of the critically acclaimed and commercially successful electronic music duo AlunaGeorge. The past year/year-and-half or so have seen momentous changes for the London-based singer/songwriter: last year, Francis gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Amaya — and earlier this year, the acclaimed singer/songwriter announced that she would be releasing material as a solo material, building up buzz for her solo debut, Renaissance, which was released by Mad Decent back in August.
2020 has been a momentous year for Francis: singles off Renaissance have amassed over 30 million streams globally and radio airplay in over 30 countries, including BBC Radio 1, Triple J, KCRW, KEXP, Sirius XM’s BPM and Capital’s Capital Dance. Those singles have been playlisted on Spotify’s New Music Friday in over 20 counties — and she was placed on the cover of their Mint and Massive Dance Hits playlists. She also has been featured on Amazon Music’s Nectar and Apple Music’s New Music Daily playlists.
Back in June, Francis penned an open letter to the global dance community, demanding that the community re-assess 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,” the acclaimed British artist wrote.
And adding to busy year. Francis launched her own personally curated all Black, POC& F and women-led virtual electronic music festival, ALUNA & FRIENDS: RODEO RAVE, which featured DJ sets from BAMBII, GuiltyBeatz, UNIIQU3, Lady Bee, Kiddy Smile, Austin Millz and a live set from Francis, live streamed on Twitch from the Compton Cowboys Ranch in Los Angeles.
“Originally, putting together my dream festival line up (Black, POC and women DJs who play dope dance music) was an incredible goal, a chance to show exactly how I see the future of mainstream dance festivals.” Francis explains. “Then we found out the Compton Cowboys we’re down to help us put the festival on and all of a sudden you have this parallel of two black people in totally different worlds doing the same thing — re-invigorating the inclusion of black people in a space where we had been erased. Getting to connect like this is really what music should always be about — bringing people together. This is gonna be an epic cultural moment for myself and anyone who is looking forward to the future of dance music.”
Continuing upon that incredibly momentum, Renaissance’s latest single “The Recipe” finds the acclaimed London-based artist teaming up with equally acclaimed producer KAYTRANADA and Nigerian singer/songwriter Rema on a sultry and slinky Afropop and reggae- inspired banger, featuring glistening synth arpeggios, clinking percussion and an infectious hook. And at its core, the song is a feminist anthem, centered around an unvarnished and honest admission of what the song’s narrator — and in turn, creator — needs two make a relationship successful.
“It’s quite a girl power track,” Aluna exclaims in press notes. “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’.”
Directed by Reggie, the duo of Clay Dirske and Jake Herman, the recently released video for “The Recipe” draws from an eclectic array of sources visually and thematically — in particular, Renaissance-era France, Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, the Elizabethan era and others but with gorgeous Black people in the frilly finery. I’m fucking here for it, y’all. “I wanted to play with the way history has been dictated to us. Growing up in England you are constantly exposed to glamorous white history of period dramas without a black person in sight,” the acclaimed British artist explains in press notes. “I feel that since the British Empire was so heavily funded by slavery that history is ours too, we’ve just never been pictured in the finery…and I wanted to see what that would look like.”
The director team of Reggie adds, “This video brings together a lot of elements that you wouldn’t necessarily find in one place, but when combined create something magical. We drew inspiration from Aluna’s album name, Renaissance, the Elizabethan era, dancehall, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Busby Berkely, The Wiz and more. We were very fortunate to collaborate with an incredible cast and crew. Our choreographer Chris Emile, captured the energy of the song and the idea perfectly.”