It was an eventful Canadian Music Week this year in Toronto for us! Sound Check Entertainment had the opportunity to chat 1-on-1 with Canadian country singer Alee!
We caught up with Alee before her two shows at The Phoenix and Boots & Bourbon to ask her about the two shows, her brand new album, the writing process of the new album, what playing Boots and Hearts means to her and who she’s excited to see perform this year at Boots and Hearts…
Here’s our interview with Alee!!!
You were nominated for CCMA Rising Star last year, what was it like hearing the news? Can you tell us where you were?
Honestly, I was fast asleep when the announcement was made…I found out from a phone call – I literally woke up to the news (hah!). For a lack of better words, it really felt like a dream come true. Especially to be in a category with so many artists I love, respect, and look up to. It’s still kind of hard to believe!
What’s your writing process like?
I got used to working through songs and emotions on my own, and it was’t until I signed to the label that I really dove into co-writing. I found out very quickly that it can be a fairly daunting, but extremely rewarding process. I tend to come up with lyric/melody ideas in the middle of the night, down grocery aisles, in the car… they can speed up the sometimes “awkward” start-process on a song… plus, once we decide on which to use, I love the challenge of fitting the pieces together until the puzzle is complete!
Your recent single, “When I Do” sounds very personal. When you write, do your lyrics tend to come from personal experience?
I like to think I’m a pretty upbeat and fun person… but I’m human – and also quiet, and tend to keep a lot to myself, so that sometimes makes it tough when you’re in a room and need to spill your entire life to people you barely know. With that said, honesty tends to come out in the writing room, even if I’m blind to how emotionally invested I am in what we’re writing about.
You recently released your debut album with Wax Records/Universal Music Canada called “Bad Habit”. When you finally held that physical copy of your own major label debut CD, what went through your head?
Lots of nerves. Excitement. Flashbacks to people, places…food! I had a vision going in, and a lot of my heart went into this album, along with a ton of questioning…”can I do this?” “will they like that?”…I decided to close my eyes and jump right in…seeing the finished product, I’m so glad I trusted myself. I’m beyond proud of how it all came together!
Getting ready to record “Bad Habit”, what made you decide to include three previous singles from your EP?
Adding songs like “Only the Strong Survive” (my first single with the label), “Moonshine” (my first top 20), and “Are You Alone” (a fan favourite) firstly gave me the opportunity to familiarize right off the bat. They’re also some of my favourite songs, and I’m so happy I had another chance to share them. Together with the 6 new songs, this album documents the last four years…where I was, who I am, and where I’m going… they really completed the story of my journey and evolution.
You co-wrote all nine songs on the album; did you already have the structure of the songs in place entering the writing sessions?
Some songs were already half-written. Some were pulled from random ideas/melodies I brought into the sessions. Some were built from scratch just giggling and joking around in the room!
If you could choose one song from “Bad Habit” that you knew from the start had to be on there, what song would that be and why?
“Bad Habit”! It was a song I was working on for another artist, actually. I was kind of stuck on it, and brought it into a session the week we were in the studio recording “When I Do”. Needless to say, it became the fun-upbeat song I was still needing for the album, and the perfect title track to bring all of the songs together…so I had to cut it for myself!
You’re playing Boots & Hearts this year. Have you been apart of the Boots experience before or attended the festival as a fan?
I’ve NEVER been! I’m always envious watching it all go down over social media. It was awesome to get a little taste for what’s coming in August with the kick-off party I played for Canadian Music Week with Andrew Hyatt and Drake White. If that was any indication as to how much fun the weekend is going to be, it’s going to be quite the “first”!
Is there anyone on the Boots & Hearts bill you’re most excited to see?
Eli Young Band… I still have their first albums on repeat. A ton of those songs were the soundtrack to my high school years… and still take me back every time I hit play. Those guys really helped shape who I am as an artist, and taught me what a brilliant-written song is supposed to sound like. I like to say I don’t really “fan-girl”, but I think that is soon to change once I see them. Counting down the days!
The interview with Alee was one of our biggest highlights from Canadian Music Week this year. We’re excited to see her new album take off and can’t wait to watch her perform at Boots and Hearts this year along with so many other great artists!