The desire to make great art is in LUCI’s DNA. Her great-great-uncle was the jazz legend John Coltrane, and her poetry has a feverish authenticity that’s more like Allen Ginsberg than commercial rap. It’s no surprise that her debut single "Ash & Dust" is electrifying and original.

Brooklyn-based LUCI (pronounced LOO-chee) is a protean powerhouse who paints, dances (both ballet and traditional African dance), and makes music that defies confining categories like rap or R&B. “As a child I was a writer and sketcher, I enjoyed poetry and short stories and I always enjoyed music and felt deeply connected to it,” she tells BEST FIT. “By the age of 10 I was able to identify with music more and find the drive and desire in myself to make songs that made ppl dance and feel a wide range of emotions. I was obsessed with the concept of hooks, loops, earworms and I’d just be in my room for whole days just chipping away at melodies.”

When she first got into an L.A. studio with producer Louallday, she felt the muse take over as soon as she uttered “wakin’ up from ash and dust.” From that point, “everything else came spilling out,” she recalls. “Lou was over there chopping up the drums and laying synths and I was bopping my dreads around getting to the nitty-gritty.”

"Ash & Dust" is a raw, passionate plea to never underestimate one’s artistic gifts. “This is for all the folks that have been put down and told they are not able or ready for their dreams,” she says. “At the time I felt there were ppl actively trying to deplete my purpose and value. Trying to belittle me into submission and close doors around me. I felt I was being pushed in the wrong direction and taken advantage of. But being misjudged and mishandled is nothing new to me. My confidence and self-assured approach has always been used against me when others catch themselves in the wrong side of the playing field. Be yourself. You cannot help the gifts you were given. Most gifts do come multifaceted. The rest is nobody’s business.”

Before signing with Don’t Sleep, LUCI released a spoken-word recording of her poem "Curses", which proves that you don’t need a single note of music to connect deeply with listeners. As she laughs and riffs through the poem, you’re reminded that poetry is kinetic, not just words in a dusty textbook. LUCI’s recitation honours all the great poets who preceded her (like Ginsberg and Amiri Baraka).

The extraordinary video for "Ash & Dust", directed by Object and Animal (FKA Twigs), turns LUCI’s bed into a smoky pulpit, perfectly complementing the fury of her vocal delivery. When the ash and dust settle, you see a star on the rise. “Make it all happen and make haters mad as hell,” she closes.

"Ash & Dust" is out now. Find LUCI on Instagram.