An Interview With the Paris-Based Musician, ALA.NI!
Posted On 12 Jun 2017
Last week on June 9, the British-born, Paris-based artist ALA.NI released her debut album You & I through Missing Piece Records.
Recently, La Blogothéque filmed one of ALA.NI’s concerts, complete with a string section, at the historic Palace of Fontainebleau in France. ESSENCE premiered a video of ALA.NI performing “Suddenly” at that performance, calling her “simple, sweet, and elegant….‘Suddenly’ feels like being transported through time. Her vocals are filled with nostalgia and romance…”
Stream “Suddenly” via Spotify:
Watch the La Blogothéque Video for “Suddenly”:
Connect With ALA.NI Here:
Facebook – Website – Twitter – Instagram
Learn more about ALA.NI in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music? How is 2017 treating you?
BUSY. I always get asked when are you touring and the answer is I’m constantly on tour. It’s the only real way for an indie artist to survive, but I love to travel, so I don’t complain. I take my personal pillow everywhere with me! Ha! 2017 has been an interesting year so far. Looking forward to the album releasing in the states and seeing what happens here with my music. I’ve grown it very slowly as its kind of been just me behind the wheel. Self management and all. I’ve started writing for the next project, so hoping that this year will see me venturing into even more new grounds.
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it?
I’m currently sat in the airport in Philly having just had one of those massage chair sessions. I feel floppy. No music. Just heavy AC which I detest and people chatting on their phones.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician?
I wanted to be a dancer and my dream was to attend Alvin Alley after leaving school.
Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
One of my early memories is of my dad making me sing and dance to Nina Simone’s “My Baby Just Cares for Me” over and over again. He was amused I guessed.
Could you see yourself doing anything else today?
I’d like to be a child psychologist or maybe delve deeper into the world of video/ film making. I have many script ideas. Folders of them.
I’ve read that you attended the Sylvia Young School which is known for their very famous alumni including Amy Winehouse. Did you know when you were going there that incredible musicians had gone there?
I was in attendance when Amy was there. I remember not believing that that was her actual real surname. She would silence us all with her voice as small as she was.
Did it help push you at all?
Yes, I changed stage schools for that very reason. Sylvia Young had and still has a very good reputation for growing all rounded talent. Triple threat. I’ve never attended a “normal” school. From 5-16 it was Annie, jazz hands and tutu’s!
Can you think of a favorite experience when you were a backing vocalist for artists like Andrea Bocelli and Mary J. Blige?
I was always closely observing their interactions with people. I found this fascinating to watch. Bocelli was pretty consistently nice and easy. Mary J. Blige….well DIVA and rightly so.
Let’s talk about your debut album called “You & I” that you will release next month via Missing Piece Records. What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything at all surprise you about the process?
I had to tell myself that I was only recording demos. There was a bit of pressure on me as I was producing it, writing it and singing it all myself. So I just got stoned and experimented. It was a fun summer at the studio. I did most of it at owl studios which belongs to Andrew Hale from Sade. High white walls, Zen place. Perfect for me. The rest was at studio 13 which belongs to Damon Albarn. Lots of red and underground. Very different vibe! But getting high indoors was not an issue there! Old school smoking at the mixing desk kinda vibes!
What was the inspiration for your latest released single “Suddenly”?
Love. Waiting for the one you love to appear. Thinking that you will die just waiting. Worrying that maybe something has happened to them if they are 3 minutes late to meet you. The anticipation of love.
Generally, how do you go about putting a song together? Are you constantly jotting down song ideas?
It’s different for every song. Not a big fan of systems and rules. It’s just about application and taking the inspiration when it catches you. 1am, 3pm, on the toilet. I had a great melody last night but was too tired and lazy to get out of bed to grab my phone to make a voice note. Wish I had now. But if I did that every time I’d sleep even less then I already do.
What are some other songs that you are excited to share with your fans from “You & I”?
I don’t know…it is for them to choose their preference. I’d like them to be able to appreciate the way everything should hopefully tie together. The story of a love affair over a year, the intimacy and detail of the videos, artwork and music will hopefully make for a nice all round experience. I hope.
I understand that earlier this year you came to the U.S to perform for the first time. What was that experience like for you?
I did the blue note and nearly cried. I did three songs and got a standing ovation. I really didn’t expect that kind of reaction.
Were you surprised at all by the reaction? Or was it what you expected it to be like? Do you have any upcoming shows here in the states?
Yes I do the summer stage in NY in June and will return again in August/ September to do some more gigs.
Where would be some dream venues for you to perform at here?
I’d like to get my Judy on at Carnegie Hall…..one day.
I’m curious to know how the background of your parents has influenced your sound as an artist?
Reggae and soca is in my blood. I can’t escape this. Some songs to me on the album have hints of old 50s ska. I played steel pan on the album but not in an obvious way. There is no calypso solo! It’s much more subtle.
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music?
I really can’t answer that, as my relationship with music is very transient. I like it that way. I prefer to stay open and willing. Today I Listened to Chris Cornell’s euphoria mornings. I was fucking obsessed with that album. It took me back in time. I cried. His voice I learnt so much from. I love hearing kids sing made up songs as its always so simple and pure.
What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I want to finish the project I started last year with Adrian Younge!
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Heartbreak can be a happy affair!