Aluna Francis on her personal and musical 'Renaissance,' continuing the fight for equality [Interview] – Dancing Astronaut
The word renaissance typically denotes a sort of rebirth or revival. Fittingly so, Renaissance, the title of one half of AlunaGeorge, Aluna Francis’s debut solo album, not yet released, represents several revivals simultaneously unfolding in the artist’s life. And, the bedrock of these is decidedly sonic.
The eclectic music on the forthcoming LP represents a revival of the variety of sounds that Francis wants to hear on the dance floor at a club—the dance floor where the outcasts feel at home. The production also represents a revamping of her singular artistic vision. Francis had complete creative control over every aspect of the LP’s craftwork. The team at Mad Decent afforded her creative licensure to visualize and put forth the album as she wanted it to be. In contrast to some of the “You Know You Like It” artist’s past collaborative endeavors, the vision of Renaissance and its musical translation is purely her own, and the ability to independently guide the project has stimulated her artistic aims anew. Francis takes her vision a step further with this project, paying unique attention to a sense of time, place, and atmosphere like never before.
As Francis nutured Renaissance from start to finish, she found her career undergoing its own type of renaissance. In an interview with Dancing Astronaut, she said,
“I’ve been working on all of this stuff for two-years in the sense of creating my career into a space that was healthy for me, where members of my team are allies for me as a black women as well as an artist. Each member of my team has taken it on as their responsibility to stay aware of my goals. Working to end racism in the black community and the music industry, empowering women and things like that.”
Dancing Astronaut spoke with Francis about the intersection of these coinciding renaissances, how Renaissance unites each of them, and how she intends to maintain their momentum moving forward. Read the full interview, below.
Your new single, “Get Paid” refers to how black Women are undervalued both in the music industry and in society as whole. Yet there are superstars like Beyoncé and Rihanna who command significant influence. What does it take for a black woman to reach that level? Do these superstars still experience the same kind of systemic mistreatment despite their status?
Francis: …Often what happens is to get to the level you might call ‘high-level success,’ it feels like you can only do it for yourself. Because of the energy that it takes and the number of barriers that you have to overcome, it’s a lot to stop that momentum and try and bring other women up. So, what you find is that each one of those women isn’t followed by a whole army of the next generation in their wake.
For me, that’s missing out on a huge experience. I didn’t really feel excited, for example, about being the only black woman I know doing dance music in the way the genre is defined today. That’s why I wrote that open letter because I noticed there was something wrong with this picture. There’s not enough of what I want to see in this picture.