– Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Adriana Rivera has created a fictional alter ego, Lúconde, to explore new creative avenues in her music. Lúconde is a culmination of Rivera’s passion for music and acting, and serves as a vessel for other personas to emerge in her debut album, “La Actriz: Acto I.” The album is a collection of alt-perreo, conscious boleros, and progressive Latin soul.
– Lúconde is the product of Rivera’s upbringing in a home that valued music and performance. She grew up as a child of dancers from reggaeton’s early roots, and was enrolled in ballet and sang in her church’s chorus. She later joined her school’s drama club, where she connected with the process of acting and realized its potential to help her express her ideas.
– Rivera has plans to continue creating projects like “La Actriz: Acto I,” and has already started brainstorming new personas to introduce. She also plans to expand the visual side of her work by founding her own production company. She views her work as a way to explore and express different aspects of herself, and hopes to connect with fans who appreciate the creativity in her projects.
Creating fictional alter egos is a popular strategy among musicians. This allows them to explore new sonic avenues and experiment with different styles. David Bowie, David Johansen, and Lady Gaga are just a few examples of artists who have adopted this approach. Some may argue these are publicity stunts, but for many artists, it’s a genuine creative desire.
Take Adriana Rivera, a Puerto Rican singer-songwriter. Her dream was to merge two artistic outputs: music and acting. She set her own identity aside and introduced Lúconde, the persona behind her debut album, “La Actriz: Acto I.” This album is a magical mix of alt-perreo, conscious boleros, and progressive Latin soul.
Rivera explains that Lúconde is a mother personality. It serves as a vessel for other personas to emerge. She encourages her listeners to address her by either name. Lúconde is an artist with many ideas, searching for a way to express them.
Born to parents who were dancers during reggaeton’s early “underground” days, she was raised in a home that valued music and performance. She was enrolled in ballet and sang in her church’s chorus. This is where she began to discover her voice and test its limits and range.
She was later convinced by friends to audition for her school’s drama club. The monologue she used for the audition was about a character suffering from dissociative identity disorder. She recalls, “I remember researching a lot. I remember practicing [the monologue] alone at home. I had no training whatsoever, but I remember clicking with that a lot.”
For “La Actriz: Acto I,” Lúconde channeled the lessons from her theater days. She appreciated how acting helped her connect with her inner thoughts and understand people’s behaviors. She learned not to take things at face value and to look at things from different perspectives.
During the 2020 lockdown, she started thinking about how she could merge her interests. She began to write and flesh out the concept of the EP. She created a roster of alter egos that embody each track: La Malasuerte, Näia Kiyomi, Lilu, Miss Quinn, Bo Aracnia, Adela, and Nina Sorei.
She got in touch with Gyanma, an indie fan favorite, who helped her produce the album. He was initially apprehensive about her ambitious ideas but was convinced once he heard her sing. He says, “From the beginning, I recognized it was a very unique concept. Throughout recording and producing the music, every track kept evolving, and when we listened to the final album put together, we knew it was something very, very special.”
Lúconde also produced, directed, and starred in music videos for the tracks. Each video showcases a different persona. For example, La Malasuerte is a trickster changeling in “Macacoa,” while Näia Kiyomi enacts empowered, violent revenge in “6eis.”
Reflecting on her work, Lúconde says, “This is very autobiographical. What I’m doing is just taking the Stanislavski technique of acting and transforming it into a philosophy of life, because that’s who I am. I feel like acting saved me. Acting gave me so much perspective of life, of people, of society, and of myself.”
Looking ahead, Lúconde plans more projects similar to “Acto I.” She’s already brainstorming which personas to use again and new ones to introduce. As the album’s title implies, it’s just the start of a larger project. She says, “This project is synonymous with where I am in life right now. I feel like I’m still in the midst of becoming.”
She also plans to expand the visual side by founding her own production company. This will allow her to control that aspect of development and help other artists with their projects. “La Actriz: Acto I” was a long time in the making, but for Lúconde, it was worth it.
She says, “Once I knew that I wanted to be La Actriz in the music industry, I had a direction. For me that’s really important; I’ve always [felt] like I have to have some idea of who I want to be. In that sense, now I realize how lucky I am to know who I am a little bit. I still feel like I have a long way to go, but I’ve always had the vision. I’ve always nourished that. I’ve always protected that.”
Lúconde hopes to highlight the connections between light and shadow within every human being. She says, “Everything is connected: our spirituality, our physicality, our mind, our emotions. As an actor, my body, my mind, my emotions are my tools. The more familiar I am with myself, the better human I will be. That’s what I’m trying to explore with music. I always say, ‘Through my work I am whole,’ because I get to express all of these different aspects of myself.”
In a Q&A with POPSUGAR, Lúconde shared her favorite word (curiosity), quote (“You don’t have a right to anything in this life, but there’s nothing you can’t achieve”), play (“No Exit” by Jean-Paul Sartre), and movie (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”). She also revealed her favorite fictional character (Raven from “Teen Titans”) and her current music playlist (Gesaffelstein, Belén Aguilera, and “Scarlet” by Doja Cat). When asked about her inspiration, she named her grandfather. She also confessed that she prefers to play the villain who becomes a hero.