Today, the UK-born, Paris-based artist ALA.NI announced her sophomore album ACCA, with videos for the first two singles “Differently” and “Sha La La.” ACCA — which is to be released in early 2020 — consists primarily of dense, harmonically intricate vocal arrangements with sparse or no instrumental backing at all.
ALA.NI initially envisioned her second album as a completely a capella project, and indeed ACCA is made up almost entirely of human voices (beatboxing serves as percussion, and she lowered her own vocals with an octavizer on several tracks to create the illusion of bass). Iggy Pop and rapper/actor Lakeith Stanfield both make appearances on the album, but make no mistake: ACCA is pure ALA.NI. She wrote, produced, and arranged each song herself, layering up hundreds of vocal tracks in order to create an immersive, hypnotic world that blurs the lines between vibrating vocal cords, bowed strings, and blown reeds.
The bold sound of ACCA incorporates elements from the myriad of worlds ALA.NI has traversed. Born in London to Grenadian parents, 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 and 30’s, and her father played bass in a reggae band. She loved Julie Andrews and the ballet, but was told that as a young black girl, those things weren’t meant for her. After graduating from London’s prestigious 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, Damon Albarn, and John Legend. ACCA perfectly reflects this complex tapestry of influence and experience.