Image courtesy of the artist 

Toronto's Luna Li makes psychedelic music to celebrate time spent alone

Ahead of touring with Japanese Breakfast, the young artist tells us all about her new single 'Alone But Not Lonely'.

by Jenna Mahale
13 May 2021, 8:33am

Image courtesy of the artist 

Rising to prominence at a time when the demand for music to study and relax to hit an all-time high, Luna Li took up the gauntlet on Instagram. Her jam videos -- which feature the classically-trained multi-instrumentalist giving it her all on the harp, violin and guitar, both solo and duetting with Blu deTiger -- quickly became a commercial success when she released the associated EP earlier this year, followed by her 88rising-endorsed single “Cherry Pit” and its nostalgic video. Click for major Wes Anderson vibes.

These days, the 24-year-old Torontonian finds herself inspired by other AAPI musicians in the indie scene: she names Jay Som, Raveena, Mitski, and Japanese Breakfast, who incidentally, she will be touring with in the coming months. “I especially want young girls and young Asian girls to feel seen and heard,” she says. “Representation is super important to me -- growing up, I never saw people who looked like me playing in bands or taking space onstage.”

Her latest single “ABNL” is all about feeling seen and heard as an individual, especially when you’re not at your best. Though many have guessed and failed in the comments section, the initialism stands for, drumroll please, not “All Boys Never Listen”, no, not even “Animal Brossing New Leaf” -- it’s “Alone But Not Lonely”. Aw.

"I wrote this song as an act of self-care, to cheer myself up during a darker time,” says Luna Li. “The phrase ‘alone but not lonely’ is a mantra I use to remind myself that time I spend with myself is valuable and special, something that should be celebrated.” Check out the dreamy, crafty video for “Alone But Not Lonely” below, and find out a bit more about the cryptic moon fairy with these 10 lesser-known facts.

1. Regardless of time or place, Luna Li is always writing something
**“I might be seen singing into my phone walking down the street, in the corner at a party, on the subway, or in the middle of a conversation having to interrupt, say ‘one sec!’ and run into the next room to record it.”

2. She picked her stage name because of the strength it gave her
**“I wanted an alter ego to be able to step into for live shows — Luna was someone that could be more confident and exciting onstage.”

3. Also, you know, all hail the moon and her almighty power
**“I’ve always been really inspired by nature and the magic of the moon, so Luna felt like the perfect name.”

**4. Growing up as an indie teen, she was a huge Tame Impala stan
**“My favourite artist was Kevin Parker. I love that he records everything himself, and that definitely inspired me to pursue the image of a multi-instrumentalist.”

5. Her upbringing in the world of dance has been just as formative to her work as music
**“Before the pandemic I’d still go to drop-in classes but it’s now been a year since I went to any real ones. Dance helped me become comfortable in my body at a young age, and it’s a really big help when I’m performing on stage or for videos. I had dancers perform alongside me as a part of my release shows a couple of times, and moving forward I’d love to do that again.”

6. And she got to know her partner through her local community of musicians
**“I met my boyfriend Jacob Switzer through the Toronto music scene when we were both 17. We had some mutual friends and I would go see his band play on the weekends.”

**7. They are, in fact, endgame
**“I asked him to my high school prom and we’ve been together ever since, for almost 7 years now.”

8. If it wasn’t completely obvious already, she’s a Libra sun (Libra supremacy, what’s up?)
**“I’d say that I believe in it on a surface level because I definitely relate to my signs; my moon and rising signs are both Cancer. But more so, I love how astrology can bring people together and how fun it can be to talk about.”

**9. Luna Li’s new single “Alone But Not Lonely” is about how every person is a world within themselves. She wrote it in her first Toronto apartment
**“I loved my roommates but they were never home, and the place had so many cockroaches. I was sitting alone among the cockroaches one night, feeling so uncomfortable and sad, so I made the instrumental track and then sat in my bed singing ‘alone but not lonely’ over and over again. This was before the pandemic, but I feel like I'm releasing it at a time where it's globally relatable -- we've all had this insane year of isolation and loneliness.”

**10. She’s keeping mum on details about her upcoming project, but here’s what you should know for now
**“It’s dreamy, cinematic, psychedelic, and orchestral at times.”

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