So this is it folks, the final post for 2017. It was truly an amazing year here @ Skoped Out, we met many cool musicians and heard so much amazing music. I can only hope we can continue into 2018. So today we head to NYC where we see how Alethea is doing these days. Before we do that lets see about some music news.First up, Pandora, the largest streaming music player in the U.S., will now offer ad-supported listeners access to on-demand listening experiences after viewing a 15-second video ad. When listeners search for a specific song, album or playlist, or have one recommended to them by Pandora, they’ll have the option to view the ad in order to unlock a Pandora Premium listening session. With these additions, Pandora now offers the best mobile and tablet solution in the market for music-lovers seeking an on-demand listening experience, whether you watch an ad or pay for a subscription. In other news, Spotify, Tencent Holdings Limited and its subsidiary Tencent Music Entertainment Group jointly announce equity investments, strengthening relationships between the two most popular music streaming platforms in the world. TME and Spotify will acquire new shares representing minority equity stakes in each other for cash. In addition, Tencent will invest in Spotify through secondary purchases. So now lets get into it with Alethea who I caught on with her new single, “When You Kiss Me.” Join us we talk about 2017 and 2018, the single, her songwriting, and so much more.
Stoli: Where are we talking from today and how are you gearing up for the holidays and 2018?
A: I am currently in New York City – frantically trying to finish all these Christmas Cards. Going to visit my Grandma in Washington DC and then playing a concert for New Year’s Eve at Selma’s on the Upper East Side. I just bought a bunch of equipment for it so I’m excited. I also bought my first high-end vocal mic and preparing to release a set of 5 singles in the upcoming months. Excited to finally have the gear I need to do some intense heavy duty songwriting and performing.
Stoli: When you look back on 2017 what are you most proud of in regards to your music?
A: I am proud of Light at the End of the Road, an EP about hope in times of darkness working with artists, graphic designers, producers and musicians from all over the country. I am proud of representing the Inspired Word Open Mic Night as their Resident Artist and supporting other upcoming artists as a booker at Goldsounds, a venue in Brooklyn and of this single “When You Kiss Me” with Ryan Majoris.
Stoli: Offer us a brief timeline of when music became more than a hobby?
A: It was really something that was in me since I was little but I kept shoving it back because I was afraid. I would wait until everyone left the house and sing to the top of my lungs “I could have danced all-night” from My Fair Lady. Musical theater got me hooked. I wrote a musical in high-school called Cubed, 90+ pages and had my friends sing the characters in it.
I didn’t really become a singer/songwriter until college. I started taking piano lessons and the melodies starting flowing. Once I took a break from Whitman to study abroad I busked every day on the streets of Germany and wrote “Butterflies” in a tunnel. I still play “Butterflies” almost every concert.
Stoli: Is Alethea your real name and what made you decide to make that your professional name and go solo?
A: Yes it is. Which freaks me out sometimes so I have developed a fake name to use later in “real-life.” So kind of doing it backwards. Going solo has always been a struggle for me, because I love playing in bands and am still looking to form one, but my friends and family have told me I’m most impactful as a soloist. We’ll see what happens in the coming years ;)
Stoli: How much time per week is devoted to music & promotion through social media, networking, etc?
A: During my good weeks, it can be anywhere from 28-35 hours but sometimes I get burnt out and take breaks. I also work part-time as a soccer coach and substitute teacher which keeps me centered and helps offer a fresh perspective. Sometimes you really need to put a song on the shelf for a couple weeks before coming back to it.
“When You Kiss Me”
Stoli: How supportive are your friends/family to your music ambitions and when you deal with “haters” how do you keep it moving?
A: Super supportive. The New York Indie Scene is filled with hard-working sweethearts and I find those who support indie music are the same way. Music is so subjective you will always have people who hate what you make and who love it and you just got to edit every song to death until you’re satisfied. I show the same song to several different friends and they will all feel completely differently about it depending on their taste.
But you will always have haters in whatever you do especially as you get more accomplished. New York City teaches you to keep your head down, treat people with respect and just keep going. Coaching soccer has helped me give perspective with competition. I try to think about music as a competitive soccer game. No matter what happens you shake the other team’s hand and tell them “good game.” At the end of the day, we are all just people trying our best and doing what we love.
Stoli: We love your new single, “When You Kiss Me.” When and how long were you writing/recording that song?
A: We recorded it this past summer and it took a significant amount of time to get the vocals down and I still might redo the first chorus. My voice was sore from coaching a summer camp for 8 hours a day and recording after. Ryan Majoris then spent over 40-45 hours editing it and that’s why the production sounds so smooth. I am so grateful for Ryan and hope I can work with him again.
Stoli: Was the songwriting based on real life and what does the song mean to you?
A: Yes and no. I write from my personal perspective, but I also write about people or stories that touch me. For example, I wrote a single based off the film Logan, because there were so many themes in it that really appealed to me and also made me ball my eyes out. “When you Kiss Me” is based on relationships I’ve been in and I’ve heard about, where you just want the person to know how much they mean to you and how afraid you are that some
day you might not have them. You might not be with them in those moments of intimacy, where you feel safe and happy. When you feel “alive.”
Stoli: Will there be a music video for “When You Kiss Me” and what will that look like visually?
A: That’s not a bad idea! Once I get a budget for it, I would be down! I think it would follow the story of a couple struggling to maintain intimacy … maybe several couples – all living in New York City. I have actor friends I’d love to cast in it.
Stoli: As we head into 2018 are you feeling optimistic and what are two music goals you want to pursue?
A: Definitely! You have to stay optimistic ~ it helps the journey and the grind. I want to continue practicing every day and auditioning for The Voice.
Stoli: What is coming up for Alethea and where you @ online?
A: Several cinematographers and I are working on a music-video for my song “New York State of Mind” following the stories of several struggling artists, a student and other full-time employees about how they handle the roughness of the city, learn to lean in and appreciate it.
Also a new EP is on it’s way ;) — starting to record now!