Paris-based Londoner ALA.NI will release a self-written, produced & arranged new album, ACCA, in early January 2020. Featuring appearances from both Iggy Pop and rapper/actor Lakeith Stanfield (of Atlanta and Sorry To Bother You fame) and recorded entirely a cappella, ACCA is the follow-up to ALA.NI’s widely praised 2016 debut You & I (recorded and mixed between Andrew Hale’s Owl Studios & Damon Albarn’s Studio 13).
A powerful and uncompromising vision of modern womanhood, ACCA is unapologetically honest and emotional in its account of pain, anger, sadness, and growth.
Written whilst on the road (between Paris, Mexico, Los Angeles, the UK & New York amongst others), ALA.NI created ACCA by layering up hundreds of vocal tracks, some of which imitate the sounds of brass and string instruments, building an immersive, 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. Second time around, with attention focused firmly on beats and grooves, she has crafted infectious, rhythmic tunes owing more to Dr. Dre and legendary reggae artist Errol Dunkley than Billie Holiday or Sarah Vaughan.
A collection that is at once raw and rich, ACCA is made up almost entirely of human voices - beatboxing serves as percussion, and ALA.NI lowered her own vocals using an octaviser in places to create the illusion of bass. Elsewhere, the album’s percussive elements have been created using everything from beer bottles and tennis balls to ALA.NI’s own body and the studio walls.
When ALA.NI’s debut came out in 2017, 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 and her dad a reggae bassist), ALA.NI grew up listening to everything from cabaret to calypso. Her great uncle, Leslie “Hutch” Hutchinson, was one of Britain’s most popular singers in the 1920’s & 30’s, also lover to Cole Porter. Also a talented dancer, ALA.NI loved Julie Andrews and the ballet, but was told in no uncer-tain terms that as a young black girl, those things weren’t meant for her.
After graduating from the Sylvia Young Theatre School, ALA.NI found work as a backup vocalist, performing across a broad range of genres with artists as diverse as Mary J Blige, Andrea Bocelli and Damon Albarn. You & I - tailed by remixes from Adrian Sherwood and Chester Watson - triggered ALA.NI's debut on Later…with Jools Holland, later earning her a fan in David Byrne, bills shared with Rufus Wainwright and the Dance Theater of Harlem, and appear-ances at New York’s Lincoln Centre & David Lynch’s Silencio club. More recently, material from You & I has also sound-tracked Netflix hit Russian Doll, starring Natasha Lyonne.