‘She’s glowing because her softness is her superpower.’ It’s among the Youtube comments under the video for Alayna’s Glowing, so no claims of originality from this writer, but the sentiment is certainly easy to concur with.
Rotorua-born Alayna Powley writes and sings about feelings, unabashedly as illustrated by earlier track names like High Off You, Bliss and her November 2019 release Tender. Her Spotify page ‘About’ section succinctly reads: ‘Feeling out loud. Thank you for listening.’
Usually badged as an R&B or (neo) soul artist, Glowing is a sultry love song with glossily rich audio production that brings her music much closer to a mainstream pop audience. Directed by Cam Neate with cinematography by Alex Glucina, the sensual dream-like NZ On Air-funded video for Glowing works perfectly to reflect the misty euphoria of new-found love. (“You make me feel so special.”)
Filmed over a couple of days at Muriwai Beach in west Auckland, Alayna says she specifically wanted a NZ summer vibe, despite the song being lyrically a party of one. Glowing will be the opening track on her second studio EP, planned (pre-Covid lockdown) for release late May.
“I’d say it’s a love song where I’m just enamoured by someone… when it’s maybe too good to be true. The song that comes after it on the EP hints that it might all have unraveled. It’s definitely in dreamland, which you can take as a bit of a warning I guess!”
NZ On Air funding was sought for Glowing, she explains, because it was a track from the coming EP that her team felt could be the most likely to appeal to new listeners. In case Alayna is a new name to you then heads up, her first two tracks released back in 2017 attracted well over four million steams, but she has been working more on ‘artist development’ since and is, for now, releasing her music as an independent artist.
“Potentially it’s more easy to digest as a song. I thought it was a good opportunity to do a video and the visual might open people up to my other songs.
“I did another NZ On Air video from my first EP for a song called Bliss, and that was a couple of years ago now. We did it in New York with a bigger team and someone else, an actor, in the video. I wanted this to be more simple, more focused on just the person singing it rather than anything else.”
Contrastingly the composition and production of Glowing was a team effort. Over the last few years Alayna has undertaken several writing trips from NZ to the States and England.
“I wrote it in May last year. It was a classic kind of LA writing session where you turn up and meet the producer. I had an amazing R&B writer with me, actually my manager’s wife, and she just came along to help out. The producer offered us a song bed which we loved, and basically we wrote Glowing in a couple of hours and recorded it all there, everything!
“Chelsea and I had an open notes app on our phones which we were sharing, and just writing lyrics and piecing it together, and then I think recording it as we went. I’d just jump in the vocal booth and do the verse, and through the day we completed the song!
“I think I chucked some extra BVs on at a later date, but it was a really quick kind of fun session. It was a special one because usually I default on more slow ballads and this was the first I got a bit lighter maybe, a bit more of an easy track. It felt good to do that. It was one of the first songs in a while that I felt really good about writing.”
Made with the support of NZ On Air.