“Sitting on a sunshine-soaked step outside of her LA Airbnb, Toronto newcomer Luna Li is basking in the rays ahead of what is set to be a life-changing moment. In a few short weeks, she’ll be sharing her eagerly-awaited debut album “Duality’, and finally fully welcoming us all into her intoxicating dream-pop world.
First starting work on her debut four years ago, Luna has always been immersed in music, with her mum running the music school she went to growing up. “I was definitely the one at the recital performing like, five times on five different instruments,” she laughs.
Eventually finding her own taste away from her classical upbringing, however, Luna fell in love with Tame Impala and Paramore (the latter’s “The Only Exception’ was the first ever cover she performed), and gradually began to get more involved in the Toronto music scene. But it wasn’t until one fateful semester studying violin at university in Montreal that she became sure she wanted to divert from the traditional classical path. “We had a class at McGill [University] where every week someone would come in from a different career that they had chosen to do after their music degree, and every week I was like, “I don’t want to do that’,” she recalls. “So I was like, “I probably shouldn’t be here:’”
Initially thinking that she should just go down the rock route (“I thought that playing my violin was not very cool!”), the lightbulb moment came in realising that integrating her classical background would be what made her stand out. Plugging in her violin to the loop pedal her grandma got her for her birthday, she began to build orchestral soundscapes and thus began the genesis of what would become Luna’s uniquely genre-splicing sound.
Subsequently, this month’s “Duality’ is named for two ideas that are key to her: exploring Luna’s balance between classical and rock and pop, as well as her dual Korean-Canadian heritage. She also teamed up with other Asian women, including beabadoobee and Jay Som. “It’s always been a goal of mine to work with and uplift other women of colour when I work, because I really didn’t see myself represented when I first started out,” she emphasises. “I just feel like they can understand where I’m coming from and understand my art more.
“I want the Luna Li universe to be a place where people can feel accepted and welcomed no matter who they are,” she continues. “I hope that people can feel that with this record, and I hope they can dance to it in their rooms and feel like they have a place for themselves in the world.”
As featured in the March 2022 issue of DIY, out now.