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| 11 March 2023 | Reply

Photo credit: Victoria Roth

According to a recent press release: “Just in time for Valentine’s Day and the celebration of love, singer/songwriter Allie Colleen has announced “Honest Man” as her first release of the new year. The romantic single, with lyrics full of raw emotion and sincerity, was co-written by Allie Colleen, Kate Hasting, Vinny Vencent, and Lance Carpenter. The impassioned and soulful song describes a non-traditional marriage proposal, where the female in the relationship does the asking in her own unique way. Allie Colleen is a Country Artist, singer and songwriter who recently released her well-received debut album, STONES. Her music style defines how life shaped her, alongside the personal lyrics and transparency in both her vocals and performance. She is no stranger to the music industry and has had a passion for singing and songwriting since a young age, which 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 get Allie to discuss new music, touring, and much more…

Toddstar: Allie, thank you so much for taking time out. I know it’s a busy time for you with 2023 starting to ramp up for you.

Allie: Oh, absolutely. No, we’re honored. We know you have all the people in the world too that you can put on your platform, you know what I mean? So, we just appreciate the time as well.

Toddstar: This is fun for me. This is the third time I’m able to interview you. For the first, we met at a small place in Holiday, FL called The Stockyard in January 2021 when Carly Rogers was opening for you.

Allie: Carly’s on the road with us now. It’s the coolest thing on the planet. It’s been very cool to grow, and it’s been very cool to grow and have outlets be consistent with us. So thank you. We’re always wanting to chat. I really appreciate it.

Toddstar: Let’s talk about new music first because you have so many things going on. What can you tell us about some of the new music, especially “Honest Man?” The single dropped mid-February – what can you tell us about that song that people might not know when they listen through it?

Allie: We’ve had “Honest Man” for a little while and it’s kind of been this little baby that I’ve been protecting, and I really didn’t know how to release it because “Honest Man” really challenges tradition, and it really challenges what our culture has just really looked at as a normal. “Honest Man” is just all about how me as a woman would propose to a man and just really try to find the ways to make it still sexy, feminine, kind, and sweet and allow him to be masculine, big, and strong and all the things, but she’s still going and getting exactly what she wants. I think that that’s such a very cool line to find because I do think there’s been such a… I don’t know, just a harsh opinion thrown on gender and their roles and all that stuff. I think if there’s anything in the song that you don’t pick up from immediately or that doesn’t fit your narrative, for me is just, this isn’t about girls and guys, this isn’t about roles and what’s appropriate and what’s expected. It’s about the personal pursuit of what you want. I think that’s a really big thing with “Honest Man.” For me personally, it’s just me being encouraged to go and get something that I want, how I want it, how it fits me, how it pertains to my life. No one else’s story. And I think that that’s a beautiful thing about “Honest Man.”

Toddstar: Well, the cool thing about that, and I appreciate that look into it, is anybody who follows you on socials, they know that that’s exactly how you live your life day to day. You’re not worried about the norms; you’re not worried about what’s accepted. It’s more about how you can do the best for you today. How easy, or on the other side of the coin, how hard is it for you to actually write the songs and put that much of your own, we’ll call it philosophy into the songwriting instead of just you grab a couple songwriters, you guys throw ideas at a wall and you just spit something out?

Allie: I’ve really had to learn to own my songwriter hat. It was a long time when I feel like I was a songwriter in the room and would be writing for other people, or we were just writing to write, and we didn’t know who was going to cut the song. We didn’t know if we were going to pitch it or if I was going to cut it, or one of the other songwriters or an artist as well. I really had to learn the days that I own my songwriting hat and my days that I own my artist hat. “Honest Man” was just one of those songs where I came in and I said, “Hey, we’re all probably going to feel a type of way about this.” I had a female co-writer with me, Kate Hasting, who’s a very good friend of mine. We had two male writers with us as well, Vinny and Lance. I wanted men in the room to be a little validating of, again, that side, “Hey, I don’t really care, but if I did care, how do you feel about this if I asked you?” Just allowing enough room for conversation for them to put in their own beliefs, their own systems, their own view of life and all that stuff. At the end of it, just have to come back to, “Well, this is what Allie would say, so this is what we’re going to say.” There are some songs when I step back and I’m like, “I’m a character in this song, that is it. Let’s all get together and see what the narrative’s going to be. Let’s see what we’re going to do.” Some days I just have to go in the room and be like, “Hey guys, thank you for being a part of my vision. Thank you for coming in here and allowing me to just really run this ship and tell you guys what we’re going to do today, but this is what we’re going to do today.” And that was what “Honest Man” was. I was very honored and excited and reassured for all my co-writers to really find their own personal lifeline with “Honest Man” and be really advocating for the character as a woman and just the character as what we said, pursuing what you want. So that was a very good write for me and a very challenging write for me, but I wouldn’t use the word hard. I would use the word challenging and something that I look forward to every day.

Toddstar: Based on our previous conversations, the songwriting has always been very important to you. It’s always been an important aspect of your job, but you also have always taken pride and with hesitation almost highlighting or spotlighting your performance. You’ve always talked about how there’s growing pains and learning to be comfortable on stage, whether it be by yourself doing an acoustic gig or doing a full-blown band set. How has that worked out over the last year or so? You had Stones out there, so you had all new music to take out. It wasn’t older songs; it was all new stuff. How much more comfortable are you in your own skin now on stage behind a microphone?

Allie: I’m very confident in my ability to perform now. I love it. I have worked hard physically to be able to perform the way that I do now. Keep in mind walking and singing is very difficult, all right. I’m not out there doing cartwheels or nothing wild. I’m just telling you I can walk and sing at the same time now. It’s a big deal. It’s very exciting. It’s riveting to watch, I promise. I’m very confident with my stage presence now and how to interact with fans and how, when not to interact with fans has been a big one to learn, and that kind of stuff. The skin thing is always going to be very hard for me. That’s always going to be a big challenge for me. As much as I don’t read the comments, I read all the comments. As much as I don’t care about the DMs, I read all the DMs, and people are either so kind and so sweet and so supportive of my look on stage, my character on stage, my performance, all that stuff, or they’re not very nice people. I feel like it’s taken a very long time for me to just really settle into, “Allie, what are you doing this for? Are you doing these 90 minutes up here for everyone else in this room or are we still just doing it for us? Just me and little Allie up there doing our thing like we used to do in our closet when we were a kid.” I think settling back into that has really helped me. I just get to go up there now and sing for Allie, and I get 90 minutes to focus on just me and the whole rest of the nights about everybody else. I sell my own merch, I do all that kind of stuff, so the whole rest of the night, the face is on, we’re happy and all that stuff, but those 90 minutes that I get to go up there and sing, that’s kind of just become my own little world and I’m very protective of it and I’m very happy to have found it.

Photo credit: Todd Jolicoeur – Toddstar Photo

Toddstar: It brings me full circle on talking about “Honest Man” and talking about this, because there’s a line in the lyrics that made me think of you the time we met because you could see you were acting as if you were a fan in the venue as well. You were excited to be in the venue. You had a vibe when we met and hung out in the dressing room chatting. One of the lines is, “You make me feel fragile and bulletproof.” How much of that just carries over into your day-to-day life? On your socials, you’re so confident… tons of working out, tons of doing this, tons of doing that. How much behind the scenes you’re going, “Holy shit, should I even put this out there?”

Allie: I am a crippling sack of mush. I am. I don’t know how anyone doesn’t know. I don’t know how I fooled everyone up till now, but I do. I get that a lot. I receive this feedback from my social presence and from my physical presence and all that kind of stuff of just being this woman that just doesn’t care and is massive and strong and sweet, and I’m not going to hurt you, but you don’t want to make me want to, kind of thing and all those things. I feel like that exterior has protected just the absolute sack of mush that I am for so long. You’ve spent 20 minutes with me. I am a sack of mush. I am. I’m so emotional. I get so overworked and so overwhelmed so quickly. Those are also a couple of my greatest strengths. I think that’s a lot of it. I think what people are seeing is me owning what I am, which is just emotional and sensitive honestly. But also, I’m so proud of myself and I am my biggest advocate, and nobody loves me more than I love me. That’s very rewarding and it’s also very sad sometimes. With that said, I will go to war for Allie any day against anybody. I will do that because she deserves that. I think that that’s where that complex comes from for people that I’m this big, strong, confident thing and it’s only because I have something to protect here and that’s me. It’s because I didn’t do that for such a long time. So fragile and bulletproof is exactly what I am. Someone who, if I found a partner who made me feel as equally safe to be fragile, as equally safe to be bulletproof and big and strong and all eyes on me, again, I would ask that person to spend the rest of their life with me over and over and over again.

Toddstar: That’s awesome… and I would never call you mush. The time we spent together at the venue, or now on the third phone call, to me it’s just, to pull from a Tim McGraw song, ‘humble and kind.’ From my view, you don’t take anything or anybody for granted. Based on my experience watching you mingle with the fans before the set and then to show the respect you have for Carly, you stopped selling merch personally during her set so that people would go pay attention. It was those little nuances that I picked up. To me, that makes it… you’re real.

Allie: Thank you. Very much.

Toddstar: Forget mushy. I think you’re real. I meet people of all different music genres and when you find somebody real, it’s real. Whether you like the music or not — I love your stuff — but if I didn’t like your stuff, I would like it because of how you are. On that note, we talked when we met, one of the guys in your band at the venue knew about the Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan. The last time we talked, I said, “You have to play there. It’s legendary.” You said you want to play. On Friday, March 24th at The World-Famous Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan, finally. When you hear that the different venues you’re playing where you just know that they’re famous, there’s a history, what’s it like for you to hit stages like that, outside of the Ryman and things like that?

Allie: Oh, they’re like a double-edged sword. There’s something so cool about it. The Machine Shop is something that I’ve heard about forever. Like you said, I had an old bandmate, and he was from Michigan, and he just preached about it. He always talked about how cool it was. For me and how my music has evolved, our set has just as much rock in it now as it does country and big heavy stuff. I didn’t know how much I loved to sing that stuff. I always knew how much I loved to sing it, but I guess I didn’t know how well I could write it, in my just opinion. It’s been so fun. So, all of it to say, it’s a double-edged sword, it’s so exciting. I cannot wait. I’m so excited for sound check. You know me. My thing is those first moments in a venue by myself, I get to sing to the natural reverb of the room. I can’t wait for sound check and the show. Yeah, top of the world, 10 out of 10, amazing. The other half of it is, you better be freaking ready to play The Machine Shop. You know what I mean? I don’t get to go play The Machine Shop and have bad ticket sales. We do well and I’m very proud of myself, and there’s no show that we play where we don’t try to convince everybody, “Hey, you should like me. You should like my music. I’m a cool kid, let’s hang out, whatever.” It’s so much fun. Getting people into that door, especially after 2020, and now that we all have this seven second mindset of watching all the content in the world from our couch. Which, I am the same kind of consumer. I would rather sit at home with Spotify on than go stand in a crowd and listen to a concert. I genuinely would. I’m a social introvert. I’m very excited. I’m very much looking forward to it, and also a little terrified.

Toddstar: Fair enough. There’s something about the venue, you’ll get it when you walk in, and you’ll know why so many people preach it. I was just speaking with the owner before you and I spoke and he’s excited.

Allie: Did you tell him how great I am? [laughing]

Toddstar: I did. It’s really cool that you’re getting out there with, I think you’re calling it The Smoke Show Tour.

Allie: We are. I wrote this cool opener. This is called “The Smoke Show.” We just wanted something promotion wise that was cool and fun. I wear these horrific body suits that have little flames on them, and I have these cigarette earrings and it’s just a whole silly thing, but it’s very fun. We open the whole tour with this song called “The Smoke Show,” that’s really cool.

Toddstar: Every performer has their niche. Is one of yours the heart shaped guitar pick? I remember us trading picks.

Allie: Yes. I still have them. I’m still giving them out. I love my heart shaped guitar picks. They have my firefly on the back of them now too.

Toddstar: So, tell me what’s next. You’ve got these tour dates lining up. You did a Valentine’s Day show in Chico around the “Honest Man” release. Until the middle of March. Other than that, what’s next? Is there a lot more music behind “Honest Man” waiting to drop? Are you looking at doing singles, EPs, albums? Because I know Stones was work for you, and yet, as you said, everybody’s got that seven second mentality. So, albums aren’t selling like they used to be. Now it’s the streams and the singles.

Photo credit: Moments By Moser Photography

Allie: Stones was such an amazing project to get to do. I would love to put out albums for the rest of my career. I really would. I intend to. It’s just getting hard. I know music is this thing that everyone likes to act is just ever flowing, like the fountain of youth and that everyone can do it, and they totally can. They’re starting to quote in Nashville, per song, as much as $10 grand. I’m talking about producers. I was so lucky to have Joe to come in and do twelve songs with me for what he did and how hard he worked. Ben as well, the co-producer and everyone that was a part of that project was so amazing. And our sound has evolved just a little bit to where we want to try new producers, new sounds, new all this stuff just because again, we are really getting into that rock thing. We are sitting on so much music and a lot of it is in our live set. I will say, when it comes to the live set, there is a lot of stuff that you will get from it that you will not get from my socials, that you just won’t get from any other way than coming out and experiencing the music and listening to the music. “Smoke Show” is not recorded. We have this amazing song called “While We’re Still Friends” and Lee Brice is featured on it as a vocalist and a writer. We did it together and we’re holding onto it hopefully to go to radio this year if I can afford it. We would love to go to radio. It’s so expensive. It’s so wild. I’ve never gone to Billboard. We’ve had one radio single for Music Row, but never for Billboard. That’s a very big goal of ours this year. We’ve had that song finished and mastered for a while. We’re just sitting on it, just waiting for the right time to put it out. That’s in our set and we have a lot of unreleased stuff. We have this very, very cool song called “Tattoos.” It’s this sexy pop song, but I just love it. I’ve always wanted to write a tattoo song and pop was the route that I chose to do it. That just got in our set for the first time, and we had people singing along to it in Chico. I posted one 20-second video of it. It’s just wild to see who really does care, because even though the numbers aren’t crazy or wild, and I might not be grabbing the eyes of every industry person on the planet, my fans love my stuff. It’s so amazing and it’s so rewarding to know that me as a girl from Oklahoma is writing music in Nashville and these beautiful women over here in Chico, San Diego, and Vegas are all just jamming to the music. That’s the coolest thing on the planet. We just want to keep doing that, want to keep putting out music, want to keep being experimental with music. I am on a huge personal journey. I have been for almost two years now, and I’m ready for that to start leveling out a little bit so that I can just dive into branding, but Allie has to be a hundred percent before she becomes a brand. I’m really working on that kind of stuff and honestly enjoying every single second that I get to do this and not be in a cubicle somewhere, or I don’t know, anybody ever telling me what to do. Oh, I can’t imagine. I’m so happy with where we’re at and what we’re doing. I wish I had this huge, big rollout mountain of accolades of stuff that we’re headed towards. It seems like that to me, it really does.

Toddstar: Sometimes that’s all that matters. As you mentioned, most people don’t want someone to tell them what to do and what have not, but what’s the one piece of advice you got somewhere along the way that you thought, “No, not going to listen to it,” and you wish you could go back and listen to it again?

Allie: I had a cool conversation with Johnny Garcia, who is a very talented session player, as well as touring musician, as well as writer, as well as producer, all that stuff. I’ve known him personally since I was a little kid. We were talking one night at this place called Scoreboard in Nashville, where I used to play all the time. It’s my favorite bar, and personally, I don’t want to share too much of the context, but what I got from it was I was whining about myself and where I come from and how that affects what I do and all that kind of stuff, just the shadow and everything. Johnny had been in there listening to me play forever, and he just looked at me and he was so genuine, and he was so sweet, and he was so kind. He just said, “Hey, do you think that I deserve the life that I have?” I said, “Yeah, man. I think you’re so talented. I think that you work really hard. I don’t really know much about you personally, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t deserve to be where you are because I don’t know how you would’ve got there anywhere else, any other way. You got here somewhere, of course you deserve it.” He just looked at me and he goes, “I’m a potato farmer from Texas. I have just as much right as a potato farmer from Texas to do what I do as for a living, because I’ve worked for it. You have a right as a daughter to be up here doing what you do. There is no difference on where we come from, that limits where we’re going to go. And you’ve gotten yourself this far.” I just remember that night thinking, that’s so kind and sweet, but I don’t think it’s true. I didn’t feed into it. I just continued to be hard on myself and really everything. I think that that’s a big personal journey again for me, that I’ve been these last couple of years, is I am only where I’m at because I have put myself where I’m at. That’s it. There’s no other reason. If there is, it’s divine. It’s either me or God. Those are the only two things that put me here. I deserve to be here, and I’ve worked so hard. If anyone who is just willing to work, you deserve what you receive from it, in any industry ever, whether you’re a doctor or whether you work at freaking Office Depot as a manager, or whether you’re a server or a singer like me. If you are willing to work for it, you deserve what you receive from it. That might not be a wild thought to anybody else, but it took me so long to wrap my mind around it and to feed into it. Once I started receiving what I was receiving from what I was doing, I mean, it was just monumental for me. It was huge and it was encouraging, opposed to me continuing to fight everybody who ever wanted to lend me a hand because I didn’t think I deserved it. You can work for people’s help, I guess, is what I’m trying to say. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it’s very rewarding. There’s no fun in doing all of this by yourself. So, you just put the work in, receive what you receive, and just enjoy your life.

Toddstar: Couldn’t have said it better myself. Allie, I know you’ve got a lot going on and stuff to do, so I’m going to cut you loose, but as always, I appreciate the time. While it absolutely sucks that I’m going to miss The Machine Shop show, I’m hoping that there’s more dates looming out there that we’ll see you sometime between here and there and we’ll be able to catch up out on the road and just shoot the shit and see where you’re at on the next phase.

Allie: I hope so. I would enjoy it so much. Thank you again for talking to me again. I always enjoy it. I’ll see you somewhere out there on the wind for sure.

Toddstar: Sounds good. Be safe. Be well, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Allie: You too.







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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