artist spotlight: ALIA

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There is nothing we love more than an artist who is unapologetically herself, bold and creatively endowed. This week, we had the absolute pleasure of chatting with LA artist, ALIA.

With hit single ‘Penthouse’ out and a lot of creative energy in the wings, there is no doubt in our minds that electronic/soul sensation is going places, and we are very lucky to have the chance to talk to her. Check out our interview below!

Give us your full name, and your profession

Alia Christian. Artist.

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Why ‘Penthouse’? Why did you name your song the way you did? What does this single say about you?

‘Penthouse’ was the first song I wrote after deciding to pursue a career as an artist full time. Making this decision meant leaving the great university I was attending, in exchange for an unstable and unpredictable lifestyle. Beach-town college student turned broke musician sounds like a major downgrade to most. It sounds like going from the penthouse to a prison. But as you’ll hear in the song, it was the complete opposite for me. Penthouse is an anthem for a generation of young people who are increasingly forgoing traditional paths for passionate ones. It’s my declaration of self love, and love of my unique path. It is the acknowledgement and celebration of my differences, as well as yours. It’s the middle finger to anyone who ever told me to “be practical” when choosing my path.

Tell us about the genre of music you create. 

I find it hard to label the kind of music I create, since one of my favorite things about my sound is how many pieces of other genres it blends together. My vocals are pop-conscious, but soulful. My production is electronic, but with heavy R&B groove. Everything is uninhibited. I never want to define my music, I want the music to speak for itself.

What does your creative process look like? How do you start working on a new creative endeavor, song, album, piece of art etc.?

This is the most difficult question, because it’s different every single time. I’m constantly creating, whether it’s in the form of writing, playing, producing, singing. New songs come from everywhere. Inspiration comes from everywhere. I can be driving down the street and catch a melody floating around my head, and that can turn into a song. I can sit down with the intention of writing something and it can come from that. The best songs will just flow out of you, without warning or notice, like ‘Penthouse.’ These come from the purest, most honest parts of the soul.

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photo by Ilana Morgan

How has your career in music helped shape your image and how you present yourself to others?

I get “you look like an artist” a lot, which is the greatest compliment anyone could give about my appearance. artists don’t restrict themselves, they are as true to themselves as humanly possible. When someone tells me, “you look like an artist,” I take it as a nod to my authenticity.

What food do you eat most when you’re working? Why?

I don’t know about food but I drink absurd amounts of tea. It’s calming, good for your vocal chords.

What do you do when you have writers block? Or creative block

Hike, do anything outdoors. Being in nature allows a sort of clarity for me that nothing else can. I think and feel so freely in nature that it allows any inspiration or thought that may be struggling to surface, come to light.

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photo by Ilana Morgan

Where do you draw inspiration from when you dress yourself? What does what you wear say about you? Do you believe style plays a part in shaping your personal brand as an artist?

My style is simply an extension of myself and, like me, it can’t be put it a box. One day i’ll be in jeans and sneakers, the next i’ll be in thigh boots and a little skirt. I dress myself with only one thing in mind: Authenticity. If it’s trendy right now but it isn’t me, I won’t wear it. If it’s strange but I love it and feel like myself in it, i’ll rock that shit.

What is something interesting about you that most people might not know, but you feel is a large part of who you are?

I was raised in a modestly sized town in Georgia. I lived there for 14 years before moving to LA. While it was often times difficult, and I was constantly fighting the feeling that I didn’t belong there, I truly believe it made, and keeps, me grounded.

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photo by Ilana Morgan

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a female musician in the music industry?  How has fashion contributed to that? 

I’ve had a number of men laugh at me when I tell them I know how to produce. I’ve been doing so for about a year and a half now, and while I’m no professional, I know my way around a DAW (digital audio workstation) and I speak the language. I co-produced ‘Penthouse.’ when I tell people that, they’re often extremely surprised, and unknowingly condescending. I think that’s been my biggest challenge so far, trying to break into the unspoken boys club that is electronic music production. It’s also hard to learn from your peers when so many of them are men and so many automatically see you as less capable just because of your gender.

What is your favorite pair of shoes to wear while you’re recording, writing, touring, interviewing etc? What are your go-tos?

My absolute favorite pair of shoes to wear on stage are these black, leather ankle booties. I’ve had them for years, they’re like a security blanket that make you feel like a bad ass.

Who do you look up to for inspiration in the music industry? Why?

Anyone and everyone who is doing their own thing, creating their art freely, thinking outside the box. James Blake, Beyonce, Majid Jordan, Sia, D’Angelo, Kanye, Miguel. And especially female producers, like Grimes and Bjork.

What are your plans as you move higher and higher up in the music industry? What do you hope to accomplish?

For now, I’m just focused on making great music and a name for myself through that music. I want my art to speak for itself.

Do you have any advice to women trying to break into the music industry?

Be yourself. Everywhere you turn there is going to be someone who tells you, “if you just change this, wear this, sing this song, say this thing you don’t believe in, etc., you’ll be a star.” It will be especially difficult as a woman, in an industry dominated by men. Anyone who tells you they can make you successful by being anything other than who you are, is not worth your time.

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photo by Ilana Morgan

What’s your favorite item in your closet? 

Currently, a Boy London jersey dress. I’m actually not even sure it’s a dress, but that’s how I wear it. That and a pair of red, high-waisted gauchos.

Spin ALIA’s newest single here, and follow her on social media below!

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