Alina Baraz makes music that washes over you. Fittingly, her lyrics dip their toes into aquatic themes, as well. On her breakthrough single, “Fantasy,” she sings, “Listen to the waves, let them wash away your pain.”
What pain Baraz has dealt with is, like most things about her, a mystery. What we do know is that the Cleveland native was born to Russian parents. She was raised on classical music, sang in choir and — when she realized she could really sing — moved to Los Angeles. Eventually, she connected with Danish producer Galimatias and released the buzz-building “Urban Flora” EP in 2015.
“Urban Flora” fuses Baraz’s breathy, R&B-inspired vocals with Galimatias’s ethereal take on electronica. The result is down-tempo, mood-setting music heavy on smoke and sensuality that is somewhere between the songs of Sade, Lana Del Rey and Corinne Bailey Rae, whom she names as an inspiration. And those watery ideas keep floating up: On “Drift,” she sings, “You’re like a wave washing over me, pulling me underneath, sinking slowly.”
All the shows on her tour sold out and were moved to larger venues, which also sold out. (Advance tickets to the show at Flash have sold out; a limited number will be available at the door.) It seems that plenty of people are already caught in Alina Baraz’s undertow.
Shows: With Iamnobodi on Tuesday at Rock and Roll Hotel. Show starts at 8 p.m. 202-388-7625. Sold out.
Tuesday at Flash. Doors open at 10 p.m. 202-827-8791. $20-$25, available only at the door.