It’s middle of the week and we have Spotlight – A is for Arrows. We catch up with Alessia to talk about her journey with music. We also talk about how she’s dealing with Covid and even one of her favourite places for Pho. Check it what she has to say below.
What does the name “A is For Arrows” mean and where did you come up with it?
I read a quote once that reads: An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. It really resonated with me. There have been a lot of setbacks in my life and in my music career, but I’ve never let them stop me from moving forward, I keep going.
“Without you” busted out onto the scene late 2019 and was immediately a huge hit. What was it like having your first single go mainstream like that?
We wrote “without you” a long time ago. It came from a VERY real place of feeling rejected, so we couldn’t wait to put it out. When it did finally come out, we were so grateful with the positive reception. It was very validating to see all of our hard work and (literal) tears pay off. Also, it was our first ever release, so I’ll remember that for the rest of my life!
You then worked with Joel Stouffer who also worked with Canadian icon Dragonette. What was it like working with him?
He’s amazing to work with. He keeps me motivated and keeps me having fun which is so important when you’re working in a field that’s so emotion based. He’s also extremely talented, so it’s always a pleasure working with Joel.
Early in 2020 you released the track “Roses”, which at writing has about triple the views on YouTube. What does that song mean to you and how its success has exploded during the pandemic?
This song was the first song I wrote after I met my person. It will forever be one of the most special songs I’ve ever written, for that reason. This was one of those songs that just flew out of my brain onto paper. It all happened so fast, it took 20 minutes to complete initially. It basically wrote itself. I still can’t believe that it has so many views. I mean, I’m so grateful, and I’ve always dreamt of having that many people listening, but you don’t think of that when you’re writing a song. You’re just pouring out your emotions. I feel things so intensely, so the fact that this success came out of love is incredible to me.
One of the best ways I have heard your music described is “Midnight Drive”. How else would you describe your sound?
Thank you! I’d say it’s always evolving. It changes as I do, I think my music is reflective of all of my influences and whatever inspires me. For the present moment though, I’ll say it’s dreamy, moody alt pop.
Your latest release, the song “Can’t Stop” is a bit more hi-tempo than some of your previous tracks. Was that a conscious move?
It’s one of those songs that’s just a lot of fun and considering what’s going on in the world, It felt right to put it out. I didn’t sit down with the intentions of writing an uptempo pop track but that’s what happened and I couldn’t be happier about it haha!
The lyrics are very emotive, and I think most if not all people can relate to them. Is it difficult to release that much of yourself into a song?
I appreciate that. I definitely do think it’s a kind of rite of passage as a human to go through an experience like the one in the song. Writing something so close and meaningful to you, I think will always be tough, yeah! To get those thoughts and feelings out into the air sometimes feels so overwhelming and scary but I just feel like it’s necessary, for my sanity, and if it could help someone along the way who’s going through a similar situation, that’s incredible.
You have a background in cinematography, from your time in film school, and were the creative director for the video. Was it a challenge to change the focus from the visceral pain of the lyrics to the hilarious gluttony of the video? Is there a difficulty switching between mediums like that?
Great question! I think the two intersect, Pain and Gluttony. To me, there’s something about gluttony and where it stems from that gets me. Why is this person gluttonous? What are they trying to aid? What are they trying to hide? Can they stop if they wanted to or is there something bigger at work that’s pulling them into making these choices. I also like to cope with emotional pain with humour so it all tied together exactly as I wanted. The message was that- we as humans sometimes tend to go back to things that are bad for us, even when we know they’re doing damage and, in the process, end up hurting ourselves.
Alessia, as a queer woman in the music industry, what kind of advice would you give to folx struggling to come out to their families? Alternatively, what is some advice you wish someone had told you?
Coming out is different for everybody and I don’t think that there’s one right way or one right answer. You have to, of course, feel safe to do so. No one is going to come out to their family if they think they’ll get the shit beat out of them or kicked out of their house. Which is unfortunately the reality for so many beautiful people struggling to just be who they are, in environments that aren’t kind to them.
If safety isn’t a concern, my advice would be to come out to someone you trust first, even if it’s a close friend that you know would accept you no matter what. Start slowly, you don’t have to rush it. Do what feels right for you, and if you need a mediator there, do it. Emotions run high in coming out so however and whatever makes you feel 100% confident in the conversation, with whoever it is, it is ultimately your decision to make and your decision alone.
One of the most compelling things I have read about you is how candidly you talk about the negative ripple effect your Dad leaving had on you. In your “I AM ENOUGH” letter it was very refreshing. Would you care to talk some more about it for those unfamiliar?
Without going too far into it, I’ll say that scars last forever. They’re permanent and life changing. The way you exist in this world in a lot of ways results in how you’re raised. I’ve had so much love in my life but there are still very dark corners that I’ve been left to deal with. If you want to get deeper into those wounds check out my letter haha
On top of every other thing you have accomplished you worked with and did a duet with Alex Frew on the track Antisocial Love Song. How did you connect?
That was a cool experience. It happened organically through Joel Stouffer. It was one of those things where they were writing a track and decided they’d like to have a female vocalist on it. Joel brought my name up, thought that I would be a good fit, so I went into the studio and apparently, they liked it cause I’m still on it! haha!
Obviously, this year was not like anything else we have ever experienced, how are you staying motivated and positive?
It changes day to day. Some days are harder than others. Most days though, I spend outside as much as I can. I go for long walks and workout as much as I can. Exercise works wonders for anxiety! We’ve all been through so much, so many changes and so many obstacles. I think it’s important now more than ever to take care of our mental health and our physical health. Also, it helps that I have an amazing partner by my side through all of it. Spending time with family and friends is always important too!
Best Pho place in your opinion?
Haha! I see you’ve read some of my interviews! That’s an easy one- Pho Tien Thanh on Ossington. Best I’ve had!
Lastly, with so many smaller and independent places struggling what are some local places you want to hype up?
I can’t pick one. It breaks my heart to see any small business close, I feel for them and their families. I can’t imagine what they’re going through. I wish so badly that this didn’t negatively affect anyone, especially the small and independent business owners.
What would you like to say to fans and readers?
Be you, no matter what. People are going to try and change you, and at some point you might let them win and try to bend to their will. That’s okay too, it’s a learning experience. Always come back to being you, cause at the end of the day it’s YOUR life. Not theirs.
Spotlight – A is for Arrows is complete. We want to give a big shout out to Alessia for taking the time to chat.
Check her recent release Can’t Stop streaming now!
Keep up with news and releases right here.
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