Alanna Stuart, Music Artist – Toronto

(photo: Joshua Rille)

Alanna Stuart is a Toronto- and Kingston, Jamaica-based music artist, researcher, curator, and documentarian. She is one-half of the Polaris Prize-nominated duo Bonjay and a proud member of the Queer Songbook Orchestra. She is currently in the thick of an exciting solo work centred on what she dubs “femmehall” – a movement promoting the presence of women in dancehall production and presentation. Her forthcoming solo debut, To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before, features Jamaican music-inspired versions of songs by women who have influenced her. Outside of the studio, Alanna is the founder of creative research consultancy Maroon Creative, which explores the relationship between the term “diversity” and cultural innovation in taste-making scenes around the world. Her public art project Rewind/Forward is online and in-person until November 15.

  1. My morning routine

(photo: May Truong)

There’s so much joy in a community art project like Rewind/Forward. It’s a big care investment, though. So, I begin every morning with a routine that fortifies me. It goes like this:

What am I grateful for?
Recite my commitment.
Qi Gong.
Make the bed.
Take the supplements.
Drink the water.

Two and a half hours later, the world can have me.

(photo: May Truong)

  1. Rosalía

I’m not a proper pop fan. I like a bit of a patina on my sound. If a song’s production is squeaky clean, I have a hard time believing it. But Rosalía fooled me good. I recently saw her perform live, and it was pop perfection. One moment her vocal was raw and unmixed. The next, it was warbly and hyper-realized with maximum Auto-Tune. Throughout it all, her skills were undeniable. I believed her.

  1. Public libraries

When I need an energy reset, I go to the quiet place that strives to make learning accessible.

  1. Solo street dances

(photo: Bully Magazine)

Sometimes you can’t wait for the rave. Sometimes you gotta grab the good headphones, gwan pon di road, and dance down the sidewalk to Truck Riddim by Bambii, on repeat. And, sometimes, di people dem a look pon you, ‘cause you move too nice.

  1. 854 Bathurst (formerly One Love Vegetarian)

(photo: Kieran Adams)

The Rewind/Forward exhibition site is a Jamaican-owned building that’s been in owner Kaylah Shouclair’s family for thirty years. This photo depicts her dilemma (a Toronto dilemma, really): Make rent or serve the community? Can both happen?

I’m curious to hear from Akimbo readers. How would you use the space while honouring its legacy?