In 2011 Elena Pinto taught herself to write songs. This may have seemed out of the blue, given her art background, but it came about pretty naturally.
Elena grew up in Costa Rica, surrounded by rainforests and warm oceans. As a child, she was an avid reader who wrote journals every year. She sang in plays, variety shows, choirs, and for anyone who would listen: her parents in the car, her classmates behind the school library, her speakers at home (on roller skates) and the mighty Pacific Ocean. Elena studied her brother’s vast record collection, memorized and practiced dozens of songs. She was certain she would someday write her own lyrics.
Her path to songwriting would be a winding road through other art forms, and several cities. Elena studied visual arts for 7 years, at the Art Institute in Colorado and Parsons School of Design in New York, and took courses in poetry appreciation and creative writing at the New School for Social Research. After college, she worked as an artist and muralist in New York, and later at a collectibles company in Connecticut.
In 2011, after going through several major changes and losses, including her Dad and her best friend passing away within weeks of moving to California, and inspired by David Bowie (who started out as an artist) she decided it was time to sit down and write a few songs.
Indigo Sky, Alnilam’s debut album, featured ten songs Elena wrote on top of Turkish composer Serhat Arslan‘s guitar pieces. Its songs have been added to over 425 listener playlists on Spotify including “Sailing La Vagabonde” official playlist. Alnilam’s music has a hard to define sound that has been described as indie, alternative, and dream pop.
The long-awaited new EP, Under the Sun, is a collaboration with Daniel Wright, songwriter, producer, member of the band Song Preservation Society, and lead singer for Radio Skies. They were introduced by a common friend, Indigo Sky‘s sound engineer/producer Manu Jimenez. Elena drove from Santa Monica to El Camino Sound Studio, in Ojai, CA, for about a year, to work with Dan on some of her songs. Their five favorites from those sessions tell the next chapter in the Alnilam story.
This EP has been years in the making, its partially crowdfunded production gradually moving forward against a backdrop of change and unpredictability. During this time, California faced fires, riots, lockdowns, and the pandemic. Some instruments had to be recorded remotely, including a full orchestra in Macedonia. Dan became a dad (twice) and, shortly after recording vocals, Elena moved to a little surfer town in Costa Rica.
Under the Sun features Elena Pinto on vocals, Daniel Wright on guitars and back vocals, and several of the same talented, multicultural studio musicians as Indigo Sky, like Jorge Balbi Castellano and Ian Walker again on drums and bass. Special guest, Grammy Award-nominated producer Marcus Kincy added moving, late-night keyboards, and composer Sandro Morales Santoro‘s beautiful string arrangements were performed by a 20-piece live orchestra.
Under the Sun was recorded and produced in Los Angeles, by Manu Jimenez, at Arimaka Studio, and mastered by Eric Boulanger at The Bakery Mastering. Its 5 tracks will be released as singles on Spotify, between April and August 2022. The full EP will be released everywhere August 12, 2022.
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“LA-based dream-pop band Alnilam takes its name from the middle star in Orion’s Belt and it shines brightly on its latest single “Lilac”. Their debut album, Indigo Sky, is set for release on November 13th. Lead single “Lilic” is a quiet treasure that softly radiates with Elena’s delicate, longing vocals and glows with a sweeping, symphonic folk-pop style.”– Jen Dan, DOA (Oct 24, 2015)
“Sonically, inside their sound lies an inscrutable feeling, one at times eerie, searching, yearning and nostalgic of past and future memories.”– Lynette Williams, This Is Not The Radio (Oct 12, 2015)