Aluna Francis Credit: Jeremy Paul Bali

This summer UK dance-music singer-songwriter Aluna released her solo debut, Renaissance, whose lead track, “I’ve Been Starting to Love All the Things I Hate,” makes a case for pulling ourselves out of the collective malaise of 2020 to find our collective voice. In AlunaGeorge, her duo with producer George Reid, her soprano sometimes crosses into bubblegum-pop territory, but on “I’ve Been Starting” her determination and vigor set a different tone for the new album: “Sweet, sweet destiny / You’ll never be my enemy,” she sings. Born in England to parents with roots on multiple continents, Aluna Francis dropped out of art school in the early 2000s and settled in London, working as a reflexologist while making music with a series of bands. After she met Reid online in 2009, they formed AlunaGeorge and started creating R&B-infused dance tracks layered in pop gloss—and in 2015, they attracted international attention when a DJ Snake remix of their 2013 song “You Know You Like It” hit the Billboard Hot 100. Aluna is well-versed in collaboration, but on Renaissance she’s in full creative control for the first time. The album’s self-assured songs can be read as extensions of the powerful manifesto she posted on her Instagram account in June, an open letter to the dance-music community demanding more inclusivity and the abolition of racial inequities. Renaissance journeys through several genres Aluna loves, including dancehall (“Get Paid,” featuring Jada Kingdom and Princess Nokia) and house (“Body Pump”), and it adds up to a strong statement from an artist who knows how to claim her power.   v