INTERVIEW: Luciana (2013)
It’s hard not to have a crush on Luciana. The British minx has sung with her unique chant style on so many of the biggest records of recent memory – “Yeah Yeah” (Bodyrox), “I Like That” (Static Revenger and Richard Vission), “We Own the Night” (Tiesto & Wolfgang Gartner), and “Something For the Weekend” (Dave Aude). In addition to working with all of these massive producers, she also writes for other artists, and if you listen closely you can even hear her influence on pop superstars. I caught up with her at Promo Only Summer Sessions where her she literally rocked the House of Blues stage. If she ever performs in your area, be sure to rush to front of the stage because you will definitely like that..
DJ Ron Slomowicz: Hey, how are you enjoying Atlantic City?
Luciana: I am really happy to be in Atlantic City. It was really nice coming from the airport because it started raining and it reminded me of London for those few minutes.
RS: Are you living in London or the US more now?
Luciana: I am in the process of getting my green card, so I am living in Los Angeles and I want to stay, I love the sun.
RS: I am going to start with a really aggressive question.
Luciana: Okay, Can you get an aggressive question?
RS: Yes, this is aggressive. You have such a distinctive sound that when I hear it on other people’s records, I always think “Luciana wrote that.”
Luciana: I think that as well!
RS: For example, there is a new version of “Mama Mia” by Mayra Veronica.
Luciana: I wrote that
RS: Okay, how did you get on the project?
Luciana: It was a track that was done with Dave Aude, who I write with a lot. It’s really funny that you say that and thought that I wrote it. There is loads of stuff that I hear and think “god it sounds like I have written that.” That particular Mayra Veronica track was with Dave Aude during a session of work with a girl called Katya, but I was all part of that. Thank you for that, at least it’s distinctive.
RS: Were you involved in the Enrique Iglesias song “Turn Up The Night”?
Luciana: It sounds like me as well, doesn’t it? Someone played it to me and said they thought that I had written it. I heard it and I had to turn it off because it got on my nerves because he sounds like me.
RS: Instead of turn up the night, you turned off the night.
Luciana: Yes, totally. But I wasn’t involved with that.
RS: Another thing that is kind of interesting is that it seems like every week there is a new Luciana single.
Luciana: Yes, it’s a bit too much, isn’t it; a Luciana overload?
RS: There’s no such thing, is that the plan or is it just happening?
Luciana: I think that if they planned it better, it would coincide and have the releases a bit more ordered. Each record company has got their own agenda and they release when they want to release and I just have to go along with it. Sometimes the release is too long, sometimes you need to have more of a lead-up time and I wish that would happen sometime so that you get more radio play. It is what it is and I just have to let it go and see what happens.
RS: Another thing that I find interesting is that you’re always on the road touring, yet you have time to write, how do you balance that?
Luciana: I don’t. Right now, I don’t feel like I’m balancing it. I feel like I am very behind with writing for other artists. Everyone’s like “why haven’t you done this track,” and I’m like “I’ve lost my voice,” which I have and I am so sorry, but I’m four weeks behind on everything, right now I am trying to juggle everything.
RS: Who have you been working with recently?
Luciana: We did an album with Tiny Dancer, a girl who just signed to Polydor that is like the new Kate Bush. We have written for loads of different artists. People say they want something that sounds a bit like Icona Pop, so they call me in and they say that they want that “chantey, rappy thing.”
RS: Going from audio to visual, was the video for “U B The Bass” a feminist statement?
Luciana: Okay, what do you mean by that? I like that.
RS: Usually in dance music videos, the girls are dressed like whores in skimpy clothing.
Luciana: Okay, yeah, we did that on purpose. It is so boring when you see girls that have bikinis on with the car and the wheels jumping up and down. It’s all like- whatever. We decided to use the girls as ballet dancers, we still had choreographed moves, but it’s not obvious and it is a bit more poetic and artsy. It wasn’t a feminist statement, but we wanted to do something a bit different.
RS: When I saw the sweatpants I thought “this is Luciana having one of her ideas.”
Luciana: Aren’t the ballet dancers fabulous? They are amazing in their big, baggy sweat pants and braces. A lot of that was all up to the director JB Ghuman, who is a total genius.
RS: Speaking about videos, in the video with Cazwell, what animal were you embracing?
Luciana: Pink Panther. That video was JB Ghuman as well, he did the trilogy – “U B The Bass,” “Guess What?” and the “Primitive” video. There’s a feel to all of them.
RS: “Primitive” has that trap part in the middle; have you written songs like that before?
Luciana: No this was my first. Richard Vission came to us and said “Yo I got da track, I’m gonna to call it electro trap” – he played it to us and I was totally feeling it. We wrote the track and it was easy, because getting excited about something- it is quite rare. I felt like that about “I Like That” and the “Primitive” track, and a couple of other ones in between but I got goosebumps with “Primitive.”
RS: What was it like working with Akon?
Luciana: Lovely, he is very lovely and gentlemanly. That was with Dave Aude again, it is supposed to be coming out now.
RS: Why did you do that song under the name Isha Coco?
Luciana: We did that because at the time I didn’t think that I could release anything as me because I had so many records coming out. In England there is a saying called ‘I Should Coco’ which means ‘I should think so,’ it’s a London thing. We figured we should call it Isha Coco as a play on words and a bit of fun. The “Figure It Out” track went to number one, it was a bit tongue in cheek.
RS: Another thing that I love about you is that you work with all kind of producers, even the up-and-coming ones. I love the Popeska record- when you got it did you instantly like it or how did that come about?
Luciana: I totally love that one; “The New Kings” is so brilliant. We actually had the topline and loved it and we worked with Wolfgang on the Tiesto track. He said that he had a new signing with Popeska and so we got the topline and they came back with the most amazing ideas.
RS: So the vocals came first, then the track?
Luciana: Yes. Exactly.
RS: Another sensitive topic, it seemed like for a minute there that you were signed to Interscope. What happened, if you don’t mind talking about it?
Luciana: I was there for a brief, hot minute, and things happen for a reason, and it is what it is. I was signed for about 4 months, we got signed for “I Like That,” and that was the time for us to get our visa. During that 4 month interim we got our 3-year visa and then it didn’t happen, which is fine, it paved the way. The nice thing about dance music is that you can write a song and it gets re-signed to one label, then signed to another label, there are so many different labels, so it wasn’t a problem. The main thing was that I got signed to Interscope and then I got my visa. I managed to be able to stay here, to get a letter signed by Jimmy Iovine for a visa is a good thing.
RS: Yes, I would agree. If people want to follow you what is the best way?
Luciana: The easiest thing, since my surname is so bloody long, is to just go to Luciana.com.
RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Luciana: Thank you for all of your support throughout all these years. Keep buying the records and I am always going to keep entertaining. If you like the records I’ll always come for you.
Interview conducted during Promo Only Summer Sessions – August 2013 in Atlantic City.