Alayna has unveiled her debut album, Self Portrait of a Woman Unravelling.
Showcasing a sound that traverses pure pop, intimate R&B, and even folk, the 14-track collection charts the singer-songwriter’s attempts to understand herself as both a creative and a person.
“I’ve had this album concept in my head for over five years and knew that it needed to be written, it was only about when it felt it was the right time,” Alayna, who was recently featured in Rolling Stone AU/NZ‘s Up-And-Coming Aotearoa Artists series, says. “I knew that diving into exploring this subject would be confronting, but what I wasn’t prepared for was that the more that I leaned into myself, the more the woman I was so desperately wanting to get a grasp of would unravel further.
“This album documents my process of leaning in, the subsequent unravelling that happened, and all the questions and answers that I experienced along the way.”
Alayna recorded almost all of her vocals at Auckland’s Big Fan Studios alone for a reason: “so many of the songs were so personal, and so needed to get the delivery right.”
It wasn’t an entirely solo endeavour, however, with acclaimed musicians and producers such as Noema Te Hau, Simon Gooding, and John Mark Nelson assisting Alayna to create her album. “It was the community around me, and those I worked on the album with, that were vital in getting it to its final form,” she adds.
To celebrate her album dropping, Alayna has shared its lead single, “A World Without You”. The highly emotional track was written a few months after she learned of a family member’s illness, the lyric, “I don’t know much, but I know one thing to be true, I don’t want a world without you,” coming to her first.
“I never realised the limits of my love for this person until I realised that I could lose them, and it was this moment in my life, and also the album, where I recognised I could have the capacity to feel again, even if it was hard,” she reflects. “”World Without You” feels like the greatest love song I have ever written.”
Fans can catch Alayna performing her new album at two special shows: at the aforementioned Big Fan on Friday, July 7th, and a hometown show at Rotorua’s Level 13 on Saturday, July 15th (more information here).
Alayna’s Self Portrait of a Woman Unravelling is out now via Nettwerk Music Group.