In this digital age, a true reinvention can seem almost impossible, what with the internet warehousing everything in our lives, from our photos, comments and likes, to the music we create.
But for singer and producer Alejandro Chal, aka A.CHAL, rebirth seems to have come fairly effortlessly. For the past five years, the Peruvian-born artist has been creating druggy, atmospheric music in Los Angeles and New York (think: a sound akin to The Weeknd’s 2011 House of Balloons). His 2013 EP Ballroom Riots found some success on the blogosphere, but overall, the record was reaching for sound that it couldn’t fully grasp, and the guise of an R&B, quasi-rap persona consumed with sex, drugs, and partying was a little too transparent. Still, the potential of the music was enough for Chal to leverage Ballroom Riots into a publishing deal with Sony ATV.
But when the buzz around Ballroom Riots subsided, the artist went completely off the grid. For two years, his followers lingered in anticipation… Where is A.CHAL?
He was in fact, where most artists find themselves post-debut project: in search of themselves. And finally, he’s returned, with a new and improved version of his craft. The singer-producer’s hiatus was not your average artist’s break, but rather a reflective process, a rebirth, with the end result being a sonic manifestation of his inner soul and consciousness.
After deleting all of his previous work from his soundcloud page, and redefining himself as a “spiritual being in a human experience,” A.CHAL released “GAZI.” Co-produced by the Grammy nominated producer Count Justice, “GAZI” offers an emotional entrance into the mind of A.CHAL. It begins with a rusty piano playing a solemn chord, as the song slowly progresses into an echoing chant that fills your ears… “Gotta get it/ Work it/ Flip it/ Spend it/Make it back.” His voice – sultry, sparse, and desperate – takes you into a dream-like sequence of a person reflecting on their past in a corrupt city that they’ve enjoyed, but also been swallowed up by. “GAZI” speaks directly to his journey, and is a composition that forces him to come to terms with the artist and person he once was. It traces the persona he created in Ballroom Riots, but is also completely self-aware. As he confronts his past, he recollects on his triumphs, failures, and asks, “but dont it feel good, dont it?”
And just like that, he was back on everyone computer’s screen. Within a couple of months A.CHAL had over 100K plays on SoundCloud, had performed at Interview Magazine’s Coachella party, and introduced his second new single, titled “Round Whippin.”
Imagine a warped, LA-summertime anthem, but instead of sunny days by the pool, you’re cruisin in a two-seater at 4am. The hazy track produced by 11lit3s captures an authentic moment in the life of the up-and-coming artist. Its steady beat and repetitive nature perfectly fuses with A.CHAL’s voice to create a track that you can’t, nor want to get out of your head.
As the singer-producer continues to put out music, we look forward to seeing how his spiritual and creative process evolves .