Allison Crowe may not be well-known now but this young woman
has the voice and talent to be the next Alanis or Norah. The
raw emotions in her hauntingly beautiful rendition of "Angel"
should convince you of her potential.
Born and raised in Nanaimo, B.C., this small harbour city on
Vancouver Island has a strong musical heritage and is home to
the oldest continuous community band in Canada.
Crowe :: Official Web Site
"I grew up surrounded by music. There was a lot of jazz,
classical and rock, in both my immediate and my extended
families," says Crowe, now 22. Her first public
performance was at age six - belting out a big hit of the Jazz
age, Ja-da (Ja-da Jing Jing Jing!).
In her pre-teens, Allison Crowe heard Nina Simone and Ella
Fitzgerald albums spinning at home and carried this music into
her school band and music theatre studies. She found a coach
to help harness her vocal instrument and teachers to encourage
her playing on piano, flute, bass and drums. By then, her
parents' rock albums had been joined by her own collection,
making for an eclecticism evident today in her music.
By age 15, Allison Crowe was playing to growing crowds in
coffee-houses and bars up and down her island. "I love
singing for people," she says. "It's a way to
connect and share with others, which I think is very generally
important for emotional survival. Communication is crucial.
Just being able to do what I do, to write and sing and
perform, makes me feel not only alive, but incredibly lucky,
knowing at any moment everything could change, so that I don't
take one second for granted."
||What does "peace" mean to
||Peace means a certain sense of quiet.
No violence. Using your brain instead of reacting with
your fists. A state of mind and a statement of humanity.
||You're from Nanaimo, BC, Canada...
home to another great Canadian talent, Diana Krall. Ever
bump into her on the streets?
||Can't say I've ever bumped into Diana,
no! Though I did share a stage with her a couple of
years ago for a television station opening
concert/celebration, and that was really cool. I was the
supporting act. And we do share a birthday, November
16th. I found that out by going online on my birthday
and checking out the "famous birthdays". It
was a bit shocking!
||At 22, you're probably one of the
youngest songwriters/artists we have featured on our web
site. I believe our oldest is Jane Heald at 72 years
young. Do you think you'll be singing and writing songs
50 years from now?
||I don't think that I have a choice in
the matter. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I most
definitely will be singing and writing songs 50 years
from now. Whether it's just for myself or still for a
living, I have to make music. It keeps me (somewhat)
||What do you hope to achieve in your
||I hope to be able to travel and see
the world, and get to sing and play for people while
doing it. I also hope to show that you can succeed by
being yourself and not being afraid to take a stand. I
also hope to be able to help people in need. I hope to
give people something to relate to in my lyrics, to give
them a voice.
||Last year, you walked away from a
very lucrative record deal with a major recording
company. What happened there?
||We were in talks with a record company
up until August of last year. Negotiations had started
almost a year before. Near the end, it became apparent
that they wanted to change my music, change me, and get
rid of my band and manager. And I wasn't about to do
that. So I basically said "no, thank you" and
walked away. If someone wants me to be me, I'm happy to
work with them. It didn't end with a deal but without
exploring it, we would always have wondered if it could
have worked. So, it was good experience.
||Who influenced you musically in
your younger years and who do you look to for
||I've studied classical piano and voice
(and still do) but my original songs are based on a wide
range of popular music genres. Beethoven is one of my
favourite musicians (with a messed up life) and Leonard
Cohen writes awesome lyrics. In my younger years, I
listened to a lot of the same people that I do now; Tori
Amos, Pearl Jam, Counting Crows, Ani DiFranco. While in
my REALLY younger years, I listened to Led Zeppelin,
Dire Straits and Elton John as well; the rock that my
parents listened to.
I'd say that Ani is a huge inspiration to me. I see her
as a model of what I'd like to do with my career and how
I'd like to do it. She has succeeded commercially while
maintaining her autonomy and integrity. I've been told
her case is the exception, not the rule in today's music
industry but what if it was the rule? How great would
||You had your own hour-long TV
special on some Canadian channels a few months ago. What
was that experience like?
||In a word, it was SCARY. It was also
completely amazing that the New VI (part of the CHUM
media network) did that for us. We are so lucky and have
been given so many great opportunities that it baffles
my mind sometimes. The production experience was great
as it helped us learn what to do and what not to do in
the future. It was really great camera experience -
something I don't have a lot of!
||You recently contributed a solo
rendition of "Let It Be" to the "It
Was 40 Years Ago Today" Beatles tribute
compilation album and you recorded it in a single take.
Are you a huge Beatles fan and is that your favourite
||I am a huge Beatles fan but I'd have
to say that, while it is one of my favourite Beatles
songs, I don't think I could choose any one song as my
favourite. I like the feeling of calm around "Let
It Be". I'm also a fan of "Norwegian
Wood", "I Am the Walrus" and "Across
I like the Beatles because they were, basically, all
great writers and their music is so universal. As an
aside, one of my favourite songs when I was little was
"I've Got My Mind Set On You" which I didn't
realize was by George Harrison until just recently!
||As a treat to our readers, can you
tell us something that you've never publicly admitted to
||Dolphins and polar bears are my
favourite animals. And at certain points of my life when
I get stressed out, I wish I could be either of those. I
also have a love for teddy bears; in particular, Care
Bears and Sleepy Time Bear. And a favourite Ben and
Jerry's ice-cream flavour is mint chocolate cookie.
I don't think I've ever publicly admitted to any of
these things before but, I must say, I feel a lot
better. And hungrier.