Singing was never a choice for Luna Aura. The talent was something special she possessed. This, she thought at age 10, was her calling.
Now, the former Valley resident, born Angela Flores, is continuing her mission to win over fans with the single “English Boys.”
“I’m just so excited about this new music,” she says. “It’s finally who I am. It’s almost like it’s so smooth. It’s the smoothest transition. It is who I am. For me, it’s about performing the hell out of these songs and playing them in front of as many people as possible.”
Music almost wasn’t her career.
Raised in a Mormon household in Gilbert, Aura considered herself “misguided.”
“I had this love for music and a passion to pursue it, but I also had this little thing in the back of my mind to be practical and think about the real world and what the smart options would be,” she says.
She attended Basha High School, moved to Arcadia and then relocated to California.
“After high school, I toyed with the idea of going to college,” she says. “I got accepted to Berklee (College of Music) and turned that situation down.”
At a karaoke bar, she met her manager, Travis Alexander, whose clients also include Run River North. They’ve been working together since then.
“We became fast friends and we’ve been working together ever since,” she says.
When she was 21, her 15-year-old brother, Tony, died in a freak accident. That changed her life.
“It made me realize life is so short,” Aura says. “You never know if today’s your last day. If you’re going to go for it, just go for it. Don’t look back. Life is not easy. You don’t grow from being comfortable and things not happening.
“When I know something is right and it feels right, I just go for it. I’m at a point now where I know myself so well. I know this music is exactly where I am as a person.”
She calls her brother her “biggest catalyst in my life.”
“It took me a long time to process it,” she says. “I came out with a lesson learned. I’ve never really been the type of person to drown in my sorrows.”
Her last song, “Crash Dive,” is about her experiences with female sexuality, and what it means to be comfortable in your own body.
“I grew up in a fairly religious area with a spiritual/religious family,” she says. “In that, there’s a stigma with how a woman should behave and who they should be—how they should dress, how they should show themselves to the world.
“I always struggled as a young woman getting past that. This is my body. I want to have sex with people. I didn’t want people to think I wasn’t virtuous or moral. I needed to own my body and own my sexuality and who I am.”
Both songs will appear on her new album slated for release in 2020 called “Three Cheers for the American Beauty.” The album is about the societal standards and pressures that are put on young women in American culture.
“I grew up with all boys, never thinking I was any different,” Aura says. “I had different rules, though. You become a woman in high school. When you get out of high school and into the real world, there were a ton of rules put on me.
“I was blind to it my whole life. I thought it was weird. Why should any girl have to live like this? I have a little bone to pick with American culture.”
“English Boys” was inspired by a trip to London—her first time leaving the country.
“I was having a conversation with my friends about how excited I was to meet an Englishman and get married,” she says with a laugh. “That feeling made me think about why I was doing that and the conditioning behind it—this feeling of needing to find a man and to have this white-picket-fence dream life.
“In reality, it was a fraudulent dream put into young girls’ heads all the time—especially for me growing up religious in the Mormon church and having that archaic system set in place. You know, women are meant to serve men. I realize how far that was carrying over into my life as an adult. I wrote this song to recognize that in myself and burn that bridge down and burn that part of my life down.”
Aura will perform the song when she opens for Missio at 7 p.m. Friday, November 8, at Tempe Marketplace.
“It’s a free show and it’s all ages,” Aura says. “I have a lot of young fans and they’re always so sad when I play 21 and older shows all the time.”
Most importantly, the show will allow Aura to share her platform.
“There are so many strong female performers out there who could use a platform to crush all the conditioning and bullshit that gets put on us on a daily basis,” she says. “I’ll have to do it for them.”
Missio w/Luna Aura, Tempe Marketplace, 2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, 480.966.9338, tempemarketplace.com, 7 p.m. Friday, November 8, free admission.
Photo by Charles Etoroma Jr.