On November 27th Alyssa Reid released her 3rd studio album Phoenix. Phoenix features songs that are stripped down from the typical production you would be used to hearing on an Alyssa Reid album. She wanted to change things up as the project is almost entirely carried by her incredible vocals and a lone piano. You will hear other classical instruments creep into the album from time to time. I even think I heard some violins! This is an incredible idea and change of pace for the 22 year old that got her start on YTV’s Next Big Thing. Honestly a mostly acoustic album is not what I was expecting from her third studio project. I thought she would have dropped another fully produced pop album. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that but I love the direction she is going with on Phoenix. A week before the release of her third album Alyssa and I had a quick phone conversation about her new project. We talked for about 20 minutes but in that time we defiantly became best friends. We jumped right into talking about my BFF’s new album Phoenix.
What was your thought process while making these songs? Did you have certain instruments that you wanted to use? I know the piano was heavily used in the album.
“There was definitely, most of the songs were piano driven. I wasn’t very specific about what I wanted to use. It was more what felt right for each song. In one of the songs, I think it was “Phoenix” actually. I recorded a vocal bit and I just kind of tweaked with it on Logic. And I made it into what almost sounds like a string but it’s just a vocal bit.”
Was your song making process different from this album than it usually is? Or was it the same?
“It was very different because this album is a compilation of songs that I’ve written for myself and other artists. A lot of the songs have already been written or even pre-released by other artists, so it was a much quicker process than usual.”
Do you have a favourite song off the album?
“I have two.”
Okay, what are the two?
“Probably “Suffocated” and the full production version of “Tomorrow”.”
That is a great song (Tomorrow) I want to actually talk about that…
Oh you’re welcome! I want to talk about that song and I guess the themes that play on the album. Because I know “Tomorrow” is really, at least what I got from it was a story about struggles in life and how you can overcome those. And there’s also a lot about love and there is also a lot about just life in general. What was the story you really wanted to tell in this album?
“There are a million stories, some of the songs sounds like they’re supposed to be love songs but in fact they are about my family. I guess every single song was influenced by a specific event and I just had to kind of make it more generic so that people could perceive it in a not so intense way. But every single song is about something specific or about one specific incident or one specific person. “Tomorrow” I think is the only song that, well the chorus is more broad and open to anybody. The specific stories in the verses are directed towards certain events I’ve seen with people and my family.”
When you were coming up with the idea for the album and you brought it up with your label, what were their reactions to the whole thing?
“They loved it. They’re huge supporters of me and they definitely help me out as I’m not just an artist on their label. But they really appreciate my song writing and they wanted people to see that side of me because they see firsthand all the songs that no one else gets to see. Like all the things that are written in my bedroom, all the very intimate songs and they thought it was a great idea that people were going to be able to hear those songs. If someone said to me make an album that says who you are, it would be this album.”
So you think this is your best album so far?
“I think it’s my most intimate and most vulnerable album so far, for sure. It’s very personal.”
Alyssa has been in the spotlight for years now and I started to wonder if the feeling of getting her music out there has changed. Her reaction from the first time she heard her song on the radio to now must be different, right?
What’s the difference listening to your song on the radio now to when you first heard one of your songs on the radio?
“It’s still the same.”
“I still get really excited when I hear my songs like embarrassing, totally embarrassing myself. I will be in a restaurant or a store; I was in a fish market like two weeks ago. And “Dangerous” came on and I screamed with like a mouthful of like a lobster roll “OH MY GOD THAT’S ME!?!?!” And everyone like turned and stared at me. I was like sitting there dancing and eating. I was fully around nice people who didn’t make me feel stupid about it. And who were actually like “oh this is you! It’s a nice song.” But I still get so excited.”
After about 20 minutes of talking about her newest project I wanted to know what the last album she listened to was. It’s a question I ask most artists I interview as it really shows you what influences them and what they enjoy jamming out to. But her answer was the best I’ve ever heard and made us become best friends right then and there!
Okay so what was the last album you listened to?
“You know what? Now that you are asking me that I’m going to go into my music and I’m going to see what I actually last put on my phone. “
After about a few minutes Alyssa breaks the silence.
“You know what that’s the most embarrassing thing, I can’t even tell you that.”
“Okay I will tell you but you cannot tell anyone!”
Alright I’ll keep it a secret. (I was lying)
“Okay um. The last downloaded song on my phone is “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” by Jingle Cats.”
HA HA HA!
“And the album is called Meowy Christmas.”
“That is the most embarrassing thing!”
After talking about cats singing Christmas jingles for a few more minutes we wrapped up the interview and called it a day. Even though I was only able to speak with Alyssa Reid for about 20 minutes, I saw another side of her that you don’t get from the radio. She’s honest, real, down to earth and just a regular person in their 20’s who happens to make great music. Yes the album Phoneix is raw and it stays away from the heavy production you are used to hearing. But the album is 100% Alyssa; just like her it’s incredibly honest and real.
Oh one last thing. Merry Christmas.