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INTERVIEW: ALLIE COLLEEN – JANUARY 2021

| 31 January 2021 | Reply

 

According to a recent press release: “A Belmont University graduate from Owasso, Oklahoma with a style that is truly her own, Allie Colleen is no stranger to the music industry. A passion for singing and songwriting since a young age has garnered her a reputation of being a notable songwriter with an iconic-sounding voice. Her impeccably strong voice with hints of timeless tradition falls between classic country and the emerging country sound. The room never fails to silence as Allie Colleen begins to sing about the layers of love and heartbreak that have shaped her. Some of her newest songs bring witty lyrics and a connection to the song unlike most today.” We were able to grab some time with Allie after her return to the stage post COVID with a full band behind her to discuss new music, best friends, and so much more…

Toddstar: So I’m here with Allie Colleen. Killer show tonight. Let’s start off with the obvious. Let’s get tackle the elephant out of the room. You have a voice so attuned to country music, but what drove you to country music instead of rock? You have that voice that can go either way, like a Lzzy Hale or…

Allie: Honestly, one of my biggest influences is Evanescence. Amy Lee. Holy crap dude, holy crap. Vocal of all vocals. To be operatically trained and then take it that way and do something so dope like that, that’s amazing. Hayley Williams too, two of my biggest icons. But I love storytelling. And I love songs that make you have to think about shit that you didn’t want to think about. And that kind of thing. There’s tons of happy songs in the world. I’m here to write sad songs. I’m here to write songs that are going to make you think a little bit and maybe think about the stuff that you don’t want to think about. And country music is such an outlet for that. It always has been.

Toddstar: It’s funny because you get so many rock stars or pop stars that cross over the country for that same reason. Bret Michaels, Darius Rucker-

Allie: It’s tough to make it work anywhere else, it really is.

Toddstar: That said, you went to school for songwriting and music business…

Allie: Yes. I got a degree in songwriting, whatever that means. (laughs)

Toddstar: You were up there performing, and you kicked ass out there. You gave the crowd everything that you had, but when the day is done, do you want to be known as a songwriter or a singer? What’s more important to you at this point — the backstory or being up front?

Allie: Thank you. I don’t know. I’ve had that question before and I just don’t know because they’re such equal parts, you know what I mean? If I had to pick one, I’m a singer, that’s what I do, that’s what I’ve done. I’ve locked myself in my closet since I was eight and just sang by myself. I love singing. I’m also not super awesome at articulating my emotions all the time. And I can do that with songwriting. I can do all those kinds of things. So it’s a huge part of me. But I would say, as a kid, I just started as a singer and I couldn’t wait to be a singer. I didn’t even want to learn how to play guitar. I was like, “Someone will do that for me one day. I just want to sing.” And now, I really have fallen in love with songwriting and getting to really put your mark on history with how you feel about things, you know what I mean? Because Allie Colleen might not last forever, but hopefully the songs will. There’s so many songs in country music that are just cut over the years over and over and over again. And I know some people think they can’t cut those iconic songs because they’re iconic, right? But I would love to hear someone step up and do a new version of “Jolene.” I think that’d be the coolest freaking thing on the planet. So I’m hoping that one day, people gravitate to my songs that way and younger artists are like, “This is cool, I want to cut this and make it fresh and bring it out again.” So I know that doesn’t answer your question, but I’m definitely equal parts.

Toddstar: It does because we talked about this earlier, you love Ashley McBryde. Every up-and-comer is looking to that next generation or the previous generation, it’s not always the legacy performers. Do you see there are young girls, 14 to 17 or 18, that come up to you and say, “Oh my God, I want to be you.”? And what does that make you feel like on the inside?

Allie: Quite frankly, it is so rare for me to have a young person come up to me and talk to me. A lot of my fan base is much older because they come from this different fan base. And so a lot of my fans are older, and I find that there’s no difference in age. The same thing that a 74-year-old cares about, the same exact thing as a 14-year-old cares about. And it’s just about being seen and validated. And so I think it’s so important to use these songs to validate those emotions that they have and things like that. But I mean, literally, I know everybody says different kind of things about this artist and all those kinds of things, but I was a 14-year-old when Taylor Swift’s albums came out. I just felt so validated and I felt so seen and I loved it. And that was specifically why I put a name in “Best Friend” like Tyler, you know what I mean? Because I heard “Teardrops On My Guitar” and I was currently in love with a kid named Drew, which is the name in that song. I do pull a lot from her in the way that I can paint these pictures for these young girls that maybe don’t understand what they’re feeling because love’s super weird, anywhere from 10 to probably 87. So it’s just a weird thing for everybody. And it’s really cool to get to write for a younger audience. But I do find myself having a much older audience crowd.

Photo credit: Todd Jolicoeur – Toddstar Photo

Toddstar: Well, you brought it up… who’s the best friend in the track? Is there really a best friend in your life that this song captures?

Allie: There really is a best friend. There really is a best friend that really singled it out for me. And it’s so funny, this song, there’s not a single female on the planet that isn’t going to associate with this song. And probably associate a couple of different people to this song, you know what I mean? And then men are normally 50/50. So you have men like my husband who have had the same friends since they were born. Or you have the opposite and they totally understand it and they’ve been through it. So that’s a huge song for me to relate with women. And there definitely is a best friend, but that’s what’s so special about “Road You Take” was I got to write that song three years later after I’d run into her and seen her. And just been like, “You are not the little girl that ripped my heart out. We’ve grown up and I need to forgive you, so I don’t feel so freaking heavy every morning when I wake up and let you do your thing.” And so there definitely is a best friend, but there’s also, I think more important, there’s a forgiveness redemption part. That’s special. And that’s why I released “Road You Take” and “Best Friend” together.

Toddstar: Well then let’s take that back a second then. Was the forgiveness beforehand or was the song…

Allie: No, the forgiveness was 100% because of the co-writer. I had been playing “Best Friend” out for a long time. And my friend Mel, who I wrote “Road You Take” with, came up to me and very kindly was like, “I think you need some forgiveness in your heart.” And I was like, “That sounds stupid, but I’ll entertain the idea to see if I get a good song out of it.” And we wrote the song, and I didn’t think too much of it, but the next day I just felt better. And I realized, I always thought forgiveness was just something that we gave to people that hurt us to just make it feel better and they really didn’t deserve it, you know, kind of thing. But that’s just not the case, forgiveness is for us. And I really did feel better the next morning after I wrote that song. So I had no intent and I really didn’t realize how much I hung on to. But then I got to write the second part, “Best Friend” Side B. And I got to really figure out that I love this girl. I don’t know what the quote is, but you know the quote where everyone’s like, “Just because you’re not at my table anymore, doesn’t mean I don’t want to see you eat,” you know that kind of thing? That’s how I feel about it. I wish her literally all the greatest things on the planet. I just don’t feel like we have a life together anymore, you know what I mean? And that’s what I pulled from “Best Friend” and “Road You Take.” And it was good, and it was really good for both of us. I sent her both songs before I released them because I felt like I owed her that. Sending her both songs actually made that conversation finally come out. I realized that my memories weren’t the same memories as hers. And we were just young and in a weird spot. And honestly, I’m so grateful for both of those songs.

Toddstar: As they say, there are three sides to every story. If anybody goes out there, they’ll find a collaboration you did, a duet.

Allie: “You Can Always Come Home”?

Toddstar: Yes. You’ve done that collaboration, you’ve done a lot of co-writes and things like that, but who’s out there that you want to collaborate with in the studio or writing?

Allie: So it’s interesting that you say this. Carly Rogers opened for me tonight, she’s my best friend, we went to Belmont together, all these things. She has this really amazing song that we are going to partner with and do, kind of the first that I know of female love song duet. We’re very honored to get to do that. We’ve just been talking about it forever. And we’re hoping that we’re going to do it this year. But as far as like… I just wish I could sing with Ashley McBryde. If I could do anything with her, holy crap. We had one opportunity to write and we just drank tequila all night and it’s one of my best memories and I also kick myself every day that I didn’t get an Ashley McBryde song out of it because that would be so cool. But I wouldn’t trade the night for anything.

Toddstar: That’s awesome. Mentioning not trading the night for anything, first full band show. First show after COVID and shutdowns. By the way, it seemed as if you’re totally recovered.  The voice was there, and the energy was there. What was it like to get up there and do this with a band and just kick ass and give it all you had?

Allie: Honestly, it was really scary. I’ve been playing acoustic my whole life and messing up during a song or a set or something, that’s never bugged me, right? The audience honestly kind of likes it. They’re like, “Oh, you’re a person, cool,” whatever. And it’s amazing. But when I get up there and I’m responsible for what the other three guys on the stage sound like, that really, really scares me. So tonight was actually really scary. In my set, we put an acoustic set right in the middle. One, because Ashley McBryde does it. Two, because I was like, “Man, if I’m just losing it, I’m going to need a while by myself to just have that time and do it and that kind of thing.” But all in all, after it’s all said and done, I’m very proud of them and I’m very proud of myself. And I think that we did really, really well for a very first time. I still feel like I’m just as nervous as I was when it started, but it was fun.

Toddstar: Of the songs you played tonight and you introduced the set early on with, “We went out and recorded a bunch of new tunes, you haven’t heard them yet, here they are, you’re going to hear some of them tonight.” What’s the one or two songs that you played tonight that you have a gut feeling will always be part of your live set from here till the last time you step on stage?

Allie: I think “Stones” will always be a part of me. “Stones” is the title track to the album. And my life is amazing and I’m very blessed and I have a lot of things, but there’s a lot of stuff that people just don’t understand and can’t understand. They’ve never been in this situation to grow up the way I grew up and do the job that I do and try and do it myself. So “Stones” is a really cool song for me to finally take that second when I always have to be nice to everybody, but Stones is that time where I don’t have to be nice to everybody. And I love “Stones.” I think it really shows a side of me that I don’t get to show. And I love “Stones.” I love “Well Enough Alone,” I think it’s a great sad song that just some little girl out there needs that song. And that song kind of makes me nervous because everybody thinks it’s about me. And that makes me nervous for my family sometimes. Just because I’m not like most people. Most people get to get out there and sing their songs and you hear their songs and that’s it. Everybody knows my family background, so it’s a little tougher. But “Well Enough Alone” was written for some little girl that was not me that is somewhere out there that I have to play that song for her. And like I said, I mentioned it out there, I’ve never cut a song before, I’ve never put a song out that I didn’t write kind of thing. And when I heard my friend Nora play “Pink Lemonade,” I said, “I want that song.” And I don’t know what the appropriate way to ask somebody is, but I walked right up to her, I said, “Bro, I don’t want to be rude, I know you don’t know me, can I have it?” And she was like, “Sure.” I was like, “Cool.” And I don’t know about that one. I feel like it didn’t get a super awesome crowd reaction tonight, but I thought we did awesome on it and I really like it.

Toddstar: I thought it was great. It brings it back to the whole thing you were talking about just the storyteller facet of it, where even as a songwriter yourself, you’re hearing songs that you had nothing to do with yet you can take it-

Allie: And that I would have never wrote.

Toddstar: Right, but you can take it, and twist it, and put your stamp on it, and deliver someone else’s message in your way. How important as a performer is it to you to do that to not only your songs, but other people’s songs? Deliver them where they still have a message?

Allie: We got all the roughs back from the album a couple days ago and I was listening to “Pink Lemonade,” and it’s just a rough, right? So the mix is everywhere. Everything’s whatever. And Nora text me and she goes, “Hey, as soon as you get a rough, send it to me.” And I said, “Okay.” And I still haven’t sent it to her because it has to be perfect when she hears it, you know what I mean? Because she performs it perfectly. She’s awesome. And I’m like, “Oh, we don’t have the rough back yet.” But it’s got to be perfect when I play it for because, like I said, I’ve never cut somebody’s song before. And I feel a very big just encouragement to do it well and put myself in it and all that stuff because they put themselves in it when they wrote it. And I’m very excited to see her listen to it. And we’re so different, so I’m excited and a little anxious about that, but I think she’ll really like it.

Photo credit: Todd Jolicoeur – Toddstar Photo

Toddstar: Awesome. Well, I know you’ve got stuff to do, so I’ve got one last one for you. For someone who has a business degree in music business, in your opinion, what the worst or hardest part of the music business today? What’s the thing that caught you off guard and you thought, “Holy shit, this isn’t what I thought it would be”?

Allie: This might be super rude, but something that I’ve learned in a lot of meetings is, and it’s not this case for everybody, but just an unfiltered answer, a lot of the guys that are in the big seats wanted to do this and they couldn’t. And you would think that that would really make it about the music. You would think that that would really make it right. If you have all these people in these big seats that tried to also be an artist and tried to do music and tried to do all that kind of thing, you would think that they would be just as encouraging to anybody else. But I think a lot of things that people don’t realize, it is a business. Well, nobody wants music to be a business, they just want it to be music. But that’s not the case. And I think one big thing that I’ve learned since I moved to Nashville is there are so many really, really amazing, talented people in Nashville that are never going to have a shot. And that kills me because I have so many friends that I am literally the biggest fan of. I don’t listen to Spotify, I don’t listen to iTunes, I listen to Dropbox, I listen to my friend’s work tapes, and I listen to their unreleased songs. And I know that they deserve to be on the top. And I don’t know that they ever will kind of thing because they have to have part-time jobs and they have to do all these things because Nashville isn’t supporting artists, it’s just making money off music. And that’s been really, really tough to learn.

Toddstar: That’s not just Nashville, that’s why you have older guys like me who hold phones for interviews, write reviews, and take pictures because we wanted to do that all our lives and don’t have a lick of talent. And we’re thankful for people like you that do. I appreciate all you do. I appreciate the time you took out for us Allie Colleen. I can’t wait to see what you do next. I can’t wait to hear when Stones. What do you think regarding a drop date?

Allie: Thanks. So the album is supposed to release, we’re supposed to have a big release party, March 27th. So all that to say, you will be able to buy the album if you come to one of my shows, or if you go online and buy the physical copy, that will be mailed to you. But again, Nashville is not setting up artists, it’s setting up budgets and money. So, streaming-wise, albums don’t work anymore. Nobody wants them. Nobody wants to listen to 12 songs at one time apparently.

Toddstar: Always buy from the artists folks. Always buy direct from the artist…

Allie: So all that to say, all the tracks on the album will come out six to eight weeks at a time throughout the whole year. So you can either get it one at a time on streaming or you can buy the album from me on my website, alliecolleenmusic.com, but I am stoked.

Toddstar: Well, thank you so much for your time.

Allie: Thank you Todd.

ALLIE COLLEEN LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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