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Artist Spotlight: Arca is the underrated voice of electronic music

In an interview from 2021 with The New York Times, Arca, also known as Alejandra Ghersi, found inspiration in pursuing music by going to dance clubs in New York, allowing her to become the underrated electronic artist and producer she is today.

She said, “Dance floors are where I found freedom. When I moved to New York at age 17, I was very repressed. There were a lot of colors that I was muting internally.” Because of the high energy and vulnerable atmosphere of dance clubs, Arca started her musical journey right then and there, which caused her to evolve into a musician that blurs the lines between hyperpop and punk rock.

Arca moved between Venezuela, the United States and Canada throughout her teens before coming to New York, her main focus being gaita, a type of folk music. At the time, she was under the stage name of Nuuro, playing songs reminiscent of synth pop.

At 17 years old, Ghershi began attending New York University, releasing her first EPs as Arca, known to fans as “Stretch 1” and “Stretch 2” in 2014. Full of heavy bass and metallic club sounds, as well as influences from hip-hop, her second EP gained the attention of Kanye West, who later asked her to help work on certain songs for his album, “Yeezus.”

As her career began moving at a fast pace because of West, Arca continued to drop music, including multiple mixtapes and studio albums such as “Xen,” “Mutant” and “Arca.” Different in theme, the additions to her musical catalog saw the singer question love and heartbreak, using haunting production and otherworldly synths.

Her musical and fashion genius even led her to producing for more major musicians such as FKA twigs and Björk, as well as serve as a model for brands such as Bottega Veneta and Calvin Klein. Additionally, Arca has composed music for the Museum of Modern Art to display in its lobby, which she brought to life using artificial intelligence.

In 2020, Arca transcended the barrier of Latin to American music after being nominated for Best Dance/Electronica Album for her album, “KiCK i,” at the 63rd Grammy Awards, also nominated for four Latin Grammy’s during the same time period. The album was renowned for its merging of genres and language, not afraid to boldly grab listeners' attention with its thought-provoking lyrics and futuristic production.

Accompanied by a 3-D world with the help of multimedia artist Frederik Heyman, the album was also so ahead of its time for its view on topics, which The New York Times describes as, “... the physical body, of immigrant identity, of biological conceptions of gender…” 

Now in 2023, Arca has made five albums, which were all released shortly after “KiCK i” as an intentional move by the singer, who had dreamt of the “KICK” album series growing up in Venezuela. The series was also inspired by works such as “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” a 19th-century collection of German operas by Richard Wagner and the “Cremaster” cycle by artist Matthew Barney.

Yet, the singer didn’t just stop at albums, she also managed to release a few singles last year as well. Dropping “Cayó” and “El Alma Que Te Trajo,” Arca continued to solidify herself as an artist, which is evident too with her 2021 collaboration on Lady Gaga’s “Dawn of Chromatica” with a remix of her song, “Rain on Me (feat. Ariana Grande).”

Clearly, Arca is an artist who simply has gone unrecognized. Working with iconic artists and creating daring and speculative projects, she has truly redefined what it means to be an electronic singer and producer, far ahead of her time.


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