Single Review | ‘Half of the Sun’ by Alya

Alya’s eclectic tunes are emblematic of the well-travelled life she has led, starting in her homeland, Russia, and winding up in L.A with a detour through Japan amongst others. Her artistic background is similarly decorated, with a CV noting classically-trained singing, performance art, ballet, painting, along with multiple languages.

‘Half of the Sun’ is an innovative, pacing blend of cinematic, electronic and world influences, masterfully crafted by a songwriter dripping in ideas. This work is roughly a decade in the making – she originally wrote the lyrics in Japanese and progressively fused more and more diverse elements into the mix. She credits her love of Tarantino flicks for the surf-y, cowboy licks, and impressions of the far east are littered throughout, most notably the dramatic taiko drum that leads the track.

As the piece unfolds, futuristic, buzzing synths flutter around the ears while the strings, operatic wails, and an orchestra vie for the listener’s attention at every step. The pace barely lets up from start to finish as Alya brings you on an aural tour of the many interacting forces of her musical imagination.

Alya’s vocals also embody multiple eras, from filtered, baby-voiced raps to the pained romance you’d expect to hear on a Bond soundtrack. Everything is coordinated expertly around her voice while she drifts in and out of beat or performs a chromatic climbdown minus any jarring rhythm shift.


Despite the cool mystique of her persona, the song’s message is explicitly positive – it’s an expression of the fulfilment and contentedness that reflected her contemporary state of mind during the writing process: “The English version of ‘Half of the Sun’ came to my life when I finally was feeling absolutely happy with who I am and where I am. This message is in the chorus—‘Live in the moment like it would be the one’.