Posted On 09 Oct 2014
Besides the well known winner of American Idol seven years ago, Jordin Sparks, the city of Phoenix doesn’t breed bona fide pop musicians all that often. It’s better known for its contrast between metal and indie, folk and crusty desert punk. Therefore, the pop singer, Luna Aura is practically one of a kind there.
Just this past August, Luna Aura released her debut self-titled EP. The 5 song collection is a cosmic indie-pop dream, laden with hip-hop beats, trippy synths and infectious melodies that are impossible to forget. As an established singer/songwriter, Aura’s EP ranges in emotions, genres and tempos.
Luna is currently one of the top 10 finalists in the Project Aloft Star contest powered by Nylon magazine! If she wins, she will be featured in November’s issue of Nylon magazine, as well as get the opportunity to sit down with Nylon A&R reps and travel to Aloft’s most amazing locations to perform live. Click on the following link to vote!
And now for more on this talented singer, here’s an All Access exclusive interview with Luna Aura:
Can you remember the moment that you wanted to be a performer?
I’ve always had a passion for singing and music. Some of my earliest memories are singing along to the radio in the back of my parent’s red Ford Escort around 3 or 4. But it wasn’t until I was about 15 that I realized how badly I wanted to be a performer. I was up late watching an acoustic session by Katy Perry on MTV one night, and I remember feeling so connected to her and the words she was singing, and wanting so bad to be on the other side of that screen. Not because of Katy specifically, but really because for the first time ever, I realized how in love I was with songwriting and performing. I haven’t wanted to be anything other than a performer since.
How has being from Phoenix, Arizona influenced your musical style?
Being from Phoenix has influenced me as a person in so many ways, especially because of the art community that exists downtown, but when it comes to the music I make, I might as well be from another planet. You find a lot of metal, folk, and punk here in Phoenix, and I’ve been writing pop songs since the beginning. For a while, I tried the whole singer-songwriter folk thing, but it felt like I was just trying to fit in with what was happening around me as opposed to being myself.
I love all types of music and musicians, especially when they’re from my hometown, but I’m also not afraid to say I’m vastly different from what’s going on in Phoenix.
I released my EP on August 26th, and it feels AMAZING. I had been working on the EP for about a year just trying to perfect not only the music, but the visuals that come along with it. This project, for me, is a symbol of my personal metamorphosis over the past year and what that means to me. Every song is a small piece of who I am right now at this very moment and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. It’s super nerve-racking putting it out into the universe for everyone to hear but, at the same time, it’s the most liberating feeling in the world. I feel very blessed to be able to say the things I’ve always wanted to say in such a beautiful way and have people be so receptive already.
What do you think it takes to make an instant Top 40 Radio Hit?
It’s difficult to really identify the perfect “Top 40 radio hit” algorithm, especially because it seems to change every day. The music industry is an interesting creature. You never really know what the next best thing is going to be, and whatever is hot on the radio now is already yesterday’s news, so I think the key is to always be looking ahead. I know, for me at least, a great pop song ideally embodies the same concepts (catchy melody, memorable hook, easily identifiable), but what a hit pop song sounds like today is beyond me. I think as long as you’re writing music that all different types of people can appreciate, then you’re definitely heading in the right direction.
What music are you listening to now? Anything on the radio that you can’t get out of your head right now?
My first real love of music came from listening to R&B and Rap as a smaller me. So I always find myself listening to people like Childish Gambino or Danny Brown, because they have such intense characteristics in their flow that I love. At the same time, I had a nice little punky-girl stage as a teenager, so people who remind me of that, like Charli XCX and Marina and the Diamonds, pretty much dominate my playlists.
When writing a song, I usually start with the music first unless I come up with a phrase in my head that inspires me to create a certain kind of song. But definitely the beat first, synths and melodies, and then once the music is produced I write the song last. I never want to go into the studio thinking about what kind of song I’m trying to make, because it just ends up sounding contrived and loses it’s organic feel. So creating the music first, and allowing the music to inspire a song is the only way I really like to write.
Living or dead, who is a musician that you would love to work with?
I always tell people that I would love to work with Kurt Cobain. Which is hilarious because I’ve been deemed a pop-artist and I think that’s the very thing he would roll his eyes at, but for some reason I feel like it would work. He was such a passionate human, and he had so much to say and wasn’t afraid to say it. I can only dream to one day embody the amount of “I don’t care what you think of me” as he did. Brave music is the best kind of music, and I could learn so much from him.
Thus far, what’s a favorite memory or something quirky that’s taken place with you (in-studio, onstage, or elsewhere)?
One of my favorite memories from being in the studio has to be when I was in a rock band at like 16 years old, and I was a part of this project called “The New Alumni” which was a project that DMC from Run-Dmc was putting together at the time. A lot of people don’t know how much DMC loves rock music, and it honestly surprised me seeing him wear rock band T’s every day in the studio. He heard I was in a rock band and wanted me to sing something for him, so I did. He jammed out the entire time and even high-rived me when I was done. Such a cool moment.
Is there anything in particular that you’d like people to take away from listening to your music today?
I want people to listen to my music and connect with it in the same way I’ve connected to all my musical heroes growing up. They were able to say the things I was too afraid to say as a kid, and they gave me the confidence I needed to be whoever I wanted to be. If my music can do that for even one person, I’m happy.
Is there anything else that you want people to know about you and your music?
My debut self-titled EP is now available everywhere digitally. I played around the southwest starting with the Summer Ends Music Festival in Phoenix with Foster the People, Fitz and the Tantrums, Kitten, and more awesome acts back on September 28th.