With her new record ACCA out today, Amar Mehta caught up with ALA.NI to talk dance, baking, and the inspiration behind the stunning music video for ‘Papa’.
On her latest album ACCA Paris-based artist ALA.NI offers a powerful, unapologetic, and uncompromising vision of modern womanhood. The record follows on from her debut album You & I.
Picking up where she left off with her last release in 2017, ALA.NI’s most recent body of work has garnered fans from the likes of David Lynch, David Byrne and Iggy Pop – the latter of whom features on ‘Le Diplomate’, the second track on ACCA. Despite garnering support from some of music’s biggest names, ALA.NI doesn’t like to look at her music critically. “I just make it; I don’t judge it.” she expresses, “I make the self-indulgent masturbating music that I feel like making.” This comes across in her album; it’s up to the listener to pass judgment but no matter what that is, she will keep making the music she wants.
Outside of music, ALA.NI is a keen baker and she draws comparisons with music and baking, saying in both cases she enjoys the precision needed for both. She is very much a student of the game – saying that when she listens to music, she is always looking at how songs are put together.
However, music wasn’t always at the forefront of her mind. Despite discovering her voice at a young age, she originally hated it. Ballet was her real passion, but she was told by a teacher that it might not be for her. “A ballet teacher at the school gave me a book on black dancing – which to be honest I still have” she details, “But the teacher was slightly saying to me ‘that your body shape isn’t right’, I kick myself now. I should have fought harder for my dreams, but I believed her and I gave up, it wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t pursue my dream that was a strong passion but now I want to dance more and connect my music to my body.”
This love for the artistry and dance certainly comes across in her visuals, as well as her music, especially in the video for ‘Papa’ – which is filmed entirely underwater. Speaking on the inspiration for the music video, ALA.NI explains the idea came from the renowned image of Muhammed Ali boxing underwater, as well as her desire to show a black person underwater.
As ALA.NI speaks of her inspirations and journey as an artist, her creative integrity and self-assurance shine through. And this essence is tangible in the powerful, soulful poeticism of ACCA, released today.