WEEKEND MUSIC PT. 37: ALLIE X

Allie X, the Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, producer, director and goth-pop icon, has once again proven that she is always ahead of her time with her new album “Girl With No Face”

With deep roots in the LGBTQ+ community and collaborations with artists like Violet Chachki as well as friendships with icons like Miss Fame and Aquaria, she has built a loyal fan base. Her musical journey began in the world of musical theater and classical music before breaking through with her single “Catch” in Los Angeles in 2013. Allie X relies heavily on her visual aesthetics and fashion to shape her artistic identity. Her avant-garde outfits are created in collaboration with talented designers. In the long term, she strives for a sustainable business and a balanced life where she can use her creative skills in different industries. In this interview, Allie X shares insights into her musical career, her sources of inspiration and the creative journey that led her to her latest work. She talks about her development as an artist, the unique character of her new album and her vision for future projects.

Julia Pietsch: How did you get started in the music industry, and in particular, how did you make your breakthrough?

Allie X: When I was a kid I always wanted to be “a singer” but I didnt really know what that meant and neither did my parents. They were supportive and put me in singing lessons which ultimately led me down the road of musical theatre and classical music. To the point where I attended a prestigious board arts academy and studied classical voice for a couple years. Then went on to do a diploma in musical theatre performance and work in theatre for a few years in and around Toronto. I think if I really understood how it all worked I probably wouldn’t have spent so long in those disciplines and would have focused my energy on writing and becoming an artist much earlier.  Out of college that’s more the direction I went in. I started writing music and playing around Toronto venues with a band. But then of course I wasn’t a great writer at first. To answer your question, it wasn’t until I was 27 in the year 2013 that I got a start in Los Angeles which was the true beginning of Allie X. This was through a publishing deal. They signed me as a writer, gave me a visa and that’s how I ended up releasing my first song as Allie X “catch” which was ultimately my breakthrough.

What artists and musical influences inspired you the most when you started your career?

I think coming from the indie rock scene in Toronto, it was hearing electronic music like Robyn, Austra, Aluna George and a couple others that made me realize that could be my sound. I was writing music at a piano that certainly didn’t work as rock, but once I understood electronic music I knew I could translate what I was doing to that sound in terms of production. And that’s when I started to learn Ableton and make my own demos.

How has your personal journey as an artist evolved since you started making music? What important lessons have you learned along the way?

I’ve learned over and over again to do it my way. That people don’t see it until I show it to them. That i’m not an obvious candidate… I’ve learned that despite all that, I have a value and a unique perspective and never to doubt that I have something special to offer.

In light of your new album, what do you think makes it unique? 

Hmm. I think I’m kind of an interesting combination of theatricality, melody with a dark wit. I think the fact that I sing about stuff other than sexual attraction is somewhat unique too. Not sure..you’d be better off asking my fans hat question.

Can you tell us about your songwriting process? How do you develop your ideas into a finished song? 

It depends who I’m working with. If I’m working alone like I was on Girl With No Face then I would probably start with a simple drum and bass loop, maybe add some chords, then I’d try to write the verse and hook melody pretty quickly to know I have something worth pursuing.

“I’m kind of an interesting combination of theatricality, melody with a dark wit. I think the fact that I sing about stuff other than sexual attraction is somewhat unique too”
You have collaborated with several artists, including Troye Sivan. How do you choose your collaboration partners and what do you look for in a musical collaboration?

If I’m writing for their project I was never too picky when I started. Was just trying to get some cuts. Nowadays days I find working that way a bit soul destroying so I don’t do much of it. To work on someone else’s project, I’d have to be really invested creatively or see a financial reason to do so. I was so lucky with Troye on the two albums I did with him. It was really fun and cool music. I’ll always work with him if he wants me. Collaborations for my project, I’d be looking for someone that makes sense with my world. Who adds to it. I think features or remixes for features or remixes sake is kind of boring as well.

Are you currently working on new music? If so, what can we expect from your upcoming projects?

I sort of am but not too seriously. I am touring right now and that kind of takes all my energy and focus (and money hah).

Your visual aesthetic plays a big part in your music. How important is fashion to you and how does it influence your artistic identity?

Fashion is so fun. It’s armor, it can add poetry to your work.

“I think features or remixes for features or remixes sake is kind of boring as well”
Where do you get the inspiration for your unique and often avant-garde outfits?

Umm I guess I just look to talented designers and take risks. I know what I like.

Finally, what are your long-term goals and dreams both in music and outside of it?

Long term goal in music would be to create a sustainable business for myself with employees that I trust and for the creative process to remain thrilling. Outside of music I strive to be closer to nature, family and friends. To have a calmer more balanced life. I’ve become pretty hardened and a workaholic because of my years in the industry. I would love to change that. I would also love to diversify into other industries and try my hand at those.

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