For Luna Aura, It's The Little Interactions With People That Count

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Luna Aura’s career in pop music may be blossoming, with radio play, widespread licensing, and critical acclaim all in the past year, but it’s still the small moments that have the greatest impact.

At McDowell Mountain Music Festival this past March, Aura met a family that traveled three-and-a-half hours from a tiny town in northern Arizona to see her play live. Their story would be one of the most profound she had heard yet, an indication of her music’s reach that put things into perspective for the Phoenix-raised musician.

“The parents told me that they homeschool their kids, and that they have a music program and my music is part of their program to teach them about how music can help you think for yourself, how it can help inspire you to be an individual. They used me in their lesson plan,” she recounts. “Their little girl was super shy, but their mom pulled me aside and told me that [their daughter] had come out, that she liked girls and was scared about that, but she looked to my music to be proud of who she is and to tell her mom. They live in a small, rural town, so to her, that was everything. To hear that story really inspired me and put a fire under my ass to continue speaking to people who feel scared about who they want to be.” 

It was instances like that that fueled Luna Aura’s latest body of work, her Madhouse EP, an eclectic variety of songs that Aura, born Angela Flores, feels reflects her numerous sources of inspiration, but more importantly the stories that she wants to tell. She’s a self-described “empathetic writer” who is inspired by the stories of others above all else. This dynamic is anchored in the EP’s title track, a bouncing synth number that rides on a huge chorus befitting of even the loudest car-ride singalong. As a song, it’s sharp and radio-ready. As a message, it’s something more than just her lead single.

“I’m not constantly thinking about collaboration and how I’m going to get my art to the next level; I think I’m just living,” she says. “As I’m living, I’m becoming inspired by all these incredible people and to the average person, these are just normal people. I think that’s why I get this whole idea of the madhouse, it’s being okay with being different and not fitting the status quo of what is cool or what is special. It’s about being proud of who you are.”

Luna Aura’s work is relatable because she’s genuinely interested in the background of the common man or woman, most of whom she comes across while traveling. The notion is decidedly folky in theme, but translates into something else entirely in her music, and it’s details like these that make the Madhouse EP what it is. That record is also the result of collaboration, whether it’s with her 18-year-old producer, Evan Gartner, the visual artists she meets, or with her creative team. Letting go of the creative reins has been “tough,” she says.

“Relinquishing control has been something that is difficult for me, and over music especially, because a lot of the music that pushed me into this realm that I’m in, I had a lot of control over,” she says. “Now this year especially, working with Evan, [engineer] Justin Hergett, and even in writing sessions for other artists, I kind of found this piece of me that I didn’t have before. I learned that it’s okay to let other people decide things for you and to be creative with other people. Collaborating has changed not only me as an artist, but me as a person.”

Luna Aura is scheduled to play Crescent Ballroom on Thursday, October 6.

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