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Allison Crowe..."Why music? Why breathing?" Print E-mail
Written by Jen Carswell   


Allison Crowe - Paris Voice - 2008
Allison Crowe, photo: Adrian du Plessis
Amid raging debates over downloading music, releasing albums directly onto the internet and record companies' financial losses, one Canadian singer-songwriter has found a way to circumvent these problems and most importantly keep her musical integrity intact.  The 26-year-old Allison Crowe, inspired by other independent artists, refuses to sign to any record label other than her own.  She will be performing in Paris (May 9th) at the Archipel to promote ‘Little Light' her fourth full-length album, which she wrote, recorded and produced in its entirety.

Crowe created Rubenesque Records in 2002 as a way to record and distribute her own work.  However, from its inception she has been able to promote both her own albums as well as those of other up-and-coming artists.  Having her own label has allowed Crowe to become fully immersed in every step of the record-making process.  When it comes to her own music she says this experience has given her the tools and the language to express exactly what she wants.

In the downloading controversy, Crowe is firmly on the pro side.  "I think that downloading has actually helped me sell records," she explains.  "People download a few songs and then want to buy the whole album." Recent success stories of bands based on internet networking, most notably the Arctic Monkeys, shows just how important and effective online "word-of-mouth" can be.  Crowe appreciates how supportive the virtual community has been of her music and sees this tool as a means of meeting and connecting with people the world over.

Crowe's music can be purchased directly from her website http://www.allisoncrowe.com and is available from Amazon and iTunes. So while the internet is at the heart of the conflict, it has also provided the means for artists like Crowe and others to sustain themselves without having to turn to big record companies.  With the internet and online purchasing becoming easier, Crowe points out, "Everyone is everywhere ."

‘Little Light' her newest album "is a collection of both old and new songs," says Crowe.  "They have been recorded over a number of years, but fit remarkably well together capturing a wide spectrum of emotion."

And expressing emotion is where Allison Crowe excels.  Whether covering other artists such as Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" or Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" or performing her own songs like "Crayon and Ink", each track becomes alive and palpable.  Crowe's organic and passionate piano-based sound infuses rock, jazz and classical elements often employing the ivories as a percussive instrument.  Her lyrics range from playful to raw, while remaining strikingly candid.  Hearing Crowe sing Joni Mitchell's "River" captures the intensity of love's regrets in a way that only few musicians could.

So, is she out to change the face of independent contemporary music, infusing it with new meaning as she does with her cover songs?  "I never really thought where I fit in," says Crowe.  For her it's all about creating her own brand of music and being able to do it her way.  Four little words at the top of her homepage best sum it up... "Why music? Why breathing?

Allison Crowe performs at the Archipel May 9, 8:30pm, 17 Blvd Strasbourg, 75010, Paris

Listen to Allison Crowe singing "River" by Joni Mitchell 





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