As she enters the studio to work on her next album, Marvellous Musical Melodies is excited to feature an exclusive interview with up-and-coming Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe.
You may have read my profile on this incredibly gifted, down-to-earth artist last month.
You've just gone into the studio to work on your next release. Tell us a little about your new album. What can your fans expect?
The new album I'm working on right now, "This Little Bird", is going to be mostly originals with just a few covers. As well it's going to be more of a full band sound overall than the last few albums. I also have started playing and writing with guitar more, so there are going to be a few guitar tunes - which is new for me!
Why music? Why breathing" pops up quite a bit on your website. What is the meaning or significance behind these words?
Music to me is as natural a part of my day-to-day life as breathing. I don't really question it. I just do it.
The majority of your tunes feature just the piano and your voice. If you could have any combination of instruments in your ultimate backing band, what would they be and why?
Well, drums and bass are always a good start for the sort of classic trio idea. And a full orchestra. :) I really love the sound of a trio as it's completely basic, but very effective. On the other side of that coin, I love a full orchestra because it can be so complex and beautiful.
Growing up through your teenage years, what music did you listen to? How do you feel these artists and bands helped to shape you as a musician?
I listened to a lot of the same music that I do now... Pearl Jam, Counting Crows, Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, Fiona Apple, and a whole lot more as well, but those are a big portion of them. Listening to all of these artists helped me progress and learn as a musician because I love what they do. Also it gave me a goal to work toward artistically and, in some cases, ala Ani DiFranco, it's guided me in the business aspect of things.
In your musical career so far, what has been the most difficult obstacle you've faced to get to where you are today?
The biggest challenge has been remaining independent this far. It's a lot more work, but artistically and personally, it's way more rewarding.
If there was one song that you wish you could have written, what would it be?
I wish to write the best song that I can in the future. It's hard for me to say that I wish I wrote someone else's song, because, it's already written and I can't change that now! So, really, I hope to write the best songs that I can, I suppose in, both the future and the present. There are songs by other writers that I love to perform. 'Hallelujah' by Leonard Cohen is awesome. 'I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)' by Ronnie Shannon is a favourite Aretha Franklin song. 'Me and Bobby McGee'. All those songs I cover by Tori, Ani, Joni, CCs, PJ... Songs that I don't perform but love to listen to include 'The Ocean' by Led Zeppelin, 'The Weight', by The Band, and 'All Along the Watchtower' - the Jimi Hendrix version.
In this current age of TV singing contests, raunchy video clips, disposable pop tunes, what should the younger generations be learning in school music classes?
At the very root of everything, younger generations should be learning the basics of music and working their way up through all of that to get a good base of knowledge. It would be a good idea, too, for them to be exposed to all styles and forms of music.
As well as crafting your own original tunes, you seem to cover many well known songs. How do you go about choosing which songs to cover? How do you interpret these classics as your own?
I generally choose songs that I love to listen to, and then kind of come up with my own ideas for it. Sometimes they can change just because I sing and play piano, and that's different to, say, a traditionally guitar-oriented song.
Which things or people at home do you miss the most when you're on a national or overseas tour?
Well, I miss everybody and everything! I can't way who I would miss the most or people would get mad at me. I do have a tendency to miss my computer at home though. I play this game called 'World of Warcraft' that I pine for when I'm away.
What's the most embarassing song hiding on your iPod!?
I have the entire Roxette Best of CD. It's called 'Don't Bore Us, Get to the Chorus'. And I am not embarrassed.
You offer a vast array of free mp3s on your own official website. Do you think the Internet and downloading is helping to sell CDs? What are your views on mp3 blogs, such as Marvellous Musical Melodies?
The Internet is a HUGE part of what is building my career. It helps to sell CDs for sure! A large proportion of all my CD sales come from online in one form or another. I think that mp3 blogs are FANTASTIC, form a selfish point of view, for one, because they help get my music out there, and also, from a learning point of view. You can discover music that you might otherwise never have come across before. Yours is one of the nicest blogs I've seen. And it's blogs and podcasts and download sites of all types that really carry music around the world today. It's community.
I try to feature a range of interesting music on my site. Are there any favourite bands or artists that you recommend my readers to check out?
Check out Matt Mays + El Torpedo, and The Trews. I am listening to those both a lot right now and they are great Canadian bands!
Influenced by: Tori Amos, Nina Simone, Chet Baker, Ani DiFranco, Pearl Jam, Joni Mitchell, Counting Crows, Ella Fitzgerald.
Sounds like: Diana Krall, Missy Higgins, Mahalia Jackson, Janis Joplin, Tori Amos, Patti Smith, Ani DiFranco, Alanis Morissette, Jewel, The Cranberries, Sarah McLachlan, Kate Bush, Eva Cassidy, Joss Stone.
MP3: Allison Crowe - River
MP3: Allison Crowe - How Long
MP3: Allison Crowe - Raining in Baltimore
Allison Crowe - Official Website
Allison Crowe - Wikipedia
Allison Crowe - Last.fm
Allison Crowe - Pain Unspoken "An Allison Crowe Fansite"