Saturday, June 18, 2011
IT'S ALL ABOUT "THE GAME": MMVA-NOMINATED ARTIST ALYSSA REID WRITES ABOUT DRAG QUEENS, SONGS, & BIEBER FEVER
You may know Alyssa Reid as the soulful vocal partner of Canadian rapper P.Reign in "Alone Again," but what you may not know is that the Edmonton, Alberta native may be more independent than many aspiring or working professionals. She wrote her first song at age 7 and taught herself how to play the guitar and piano, so it's no surprise she took the time - like her fellow neighbour Justin Bieber - to post a video on YouTube and get discovered by a record label.
Of course, all that energy and motivation stems from pain - a reason to desire change. Constantly moving around in Alberta and then to Ontario, Alyssa obviously felt the pressure to assimilate quickly and unfortunately became a victim of bullying. "People will look for any reason to tear someone else down, and for me, they found that opportunity through my music, because it was so public. I'm also going to throw in the fact that I had a mushroom cut did NOT help my cause," Alyssa says.
Luckily, Alyssa realized at an early age the thing that ironically caused her struggle also helped her cope. She also realized that music alleviates her stress with any emotional issues. "I wrote a song (out of anger) on the back of a post-it note that my father kept, and it hangs on a cork board in the hallway. Looking back on it now, it made absolutely NO sense. I somehow managed to rhyme "quest" and "chest" in there, too. I have no recollection of why I wrote it, but I was seven."
Of course, (song)writing in itself allows one to identify and record their specific feelings in words. "I tend to get most inspiration through negative experiences, just because I find I express those with more detail and emotion. The songs "Watch Me Soar" (On the iTunes copy of my album),"Burned," and "Letting Go" are my favourite songs on the album, mostly because those are raw emotions that I felt and wrote about. Now, kids from all over Canada message me every day saying that the songs fit perfectly in the situations they are in right now and help them get through it. It’s an amazing thing to see that despite how alone and upset we feel in these moments, there are people everywhere dealing with the exact same problems and feeling the exact same feelings. Music really connects people."
Of course, playing the guitar or piano alone may not require or rely on the power of words to release any pent up trepidation, yet Alyssa digresses - it's her self-teaching that gave her the opportunity to experiment with different types of music and emotions. "I had a keyboard that sat in my basement for the longest time, so one day, I dusted it off and decided to give it a try. I had no idea what notes were what, so I had to Google it, and with tape and a Sharpie, I wrote the notes on every single key. All I knew how to play was the James Bond theme song, and "Row Row Row Your Boat." I didn't get serious with piano until Twilight came out. ."
As open minded as she is determined, Alyssa considered - and decided - to perform in some spectacular and even controversial places, including a Miss Drag Queen International pageant, boxing match, and a cruise ship. "My favourite show was definitely Miss Drag Queen International. That show had the most amazing performers, and being with them back stage, watching them get all dolled up, was incredible. Everyone was so glamorous; I couldn't wait until I became a big star, so I could be decked out in bling, sparkles, and amazing outfits like them!"
In the fall of 2009, her soon-to-be record label found Alyssa, thanks to a YouTube performance. Emulating his pathway to stardom, Alyssa created her own version of Justin Bieber's hit “One Less Lonely Girl." She penned the song from a girl's point of view and titled it “One More Lonely Boy." However, she may have not attained nearly 200,000 YouTube hits and signed with Wax Records just based on a YouTube video proof of her exceptional talent alone. There are also consensual perspectives based on relationships between men and women. "(Laughs). Girls are nuts. They are emotional, crazy, and complicated. A lot of guys don't know how to deal with that, and instead of investing their time in trying to work at a relationship, they opt out for a much simpler physical relationship. When a guy is ready to put the work in, then maybe he won’t be so lonely anymore."
Joining forces with a wide selection of experienced "celebrity-worthy" producers; Dave Thomson (Lights), Da Heala (Massari, Belly, Danny Fernandes), Jeff “Diesel” Dalziel (Edwin, Melissa O’Neil) and Jamie Appleby (Jesse Labelle), Alyssa has been working conscientiously to complete a dozen self-written songs and collaborations for her upcoming album. "My debut album entitled "The Game" is available June 21st! If you pre-order the album on iTunes, you get a "live off the set" acoustic studio version of "Alone Again." Its only available for the pre-order though, and then it’s gone... forever. If you get the album on iTunes, my favourite song " Watch Me Soar " is included, and in hard copy, "Alone Again Pt. 2" is included, along with "Encore Seule."
Alyssa may be young, but she has done more than most would have asked for at twice her age. "I am 18 years old now, but I feel like I am 30. I work very hard and have a lot of responsibilities, so I have had to mature fairly quickly." What's coming up for her? "I have no idea where I actually see myself in the future. If you were to ask me last year where I thought I would be in a year, I probably would have answered "Donut Baker at Tim Hortons." This song blew up so fast, and the impact it had on my life is surreal. It all happened so quickly, and I spend every day trying to catch up to the success of the song. Right now, I am where I want to be, and if I get to stay exactly where I am, I will be extremely proud of myself and my team."