Q: Please introduce yourself to the readers and how you first got into this field of work –and who were some of your influences growing up?
I’m Alabama Rose, a rock and roll singer/songwriter from Birmingham, AL. I first got into music at a really young age, mostly singing to animals and flowers in my yard, and then in church when I was around 8 or so.
Q: What kind of training have you had, if any?
I learned a lot about projection and using my voice, as well as what my natural range was, when I was a kid in my church choir. When I was 11 I started playing drums in my elementary school band program, and I stuck with it throughout my school career. It was a pretty competitive program and I learned a ton about the importance of dynamics, rhythm, melody, etc. I began formally training myself in voice when I was in my 20s.
Q: What has been your favourite project to work on so far?
Being a solo artist is the most meaningful thing to me, because the songs are my life, ya know? It’s pretty easy to listen to my music and read my lyrics and see what some of my experiences have been. Of course, I connect with the songs because they’re really personal to me. I’ve written a few that are kind of imaginary stories, but mostly I write from my own experience. Of course, I love playing with a big, full band, so doing what I’m doing now gives me the best of both worlds.
Q: How did you get the gig?
I freaking made it. There was no audition process or anything, I just decided I was tired of writing songs in my bedroom and living a life in my head, and I was going to put it out there for the world because that’s what I had to do. I don’t play guitar or bass very well, and even on drums I’m no match for the drum parts in my songs, so it’s important for me to have a group of people that I like as friends, who are also talented musicians, to help make these songs come to life with me. It’s also important to me to be able to take care of them when they play for me, which means they have a cool and safe place to stay, money in their pockets and food in their bellies.
Q: What sports do you enjoy watching?
Sports? Um…none? I mean, I like Alabama football (Roll Tide), and I like Clemson too, but I don’t really care about sports. Unless you consider killing White Walkers a sport because in that case, I’m a huge sports fan.
Q: What has been one of the biggest highlights/achievements of your career?
I feel like my career is still in its infancy, so that’s a hard thing to answer. Also, I’m a really weird person who thinks about things way too hard, so I’m tempted to answer this from several philosophical angles. Playing my first SXSW was really incredible, and knowing that I booked it all, hired all my people, paid them all on time, handled the itinerary each day without us being late, made sure the songs were solid, and I had just gotten out of the studio the week before, that was a big accomplishment. Now that I think about it, I also spent a day in jail right before we left too, haha.
Our last show of that week maxed out at 300 people and the fire marshall had to stop letting people in. There was a line down the block for that event, it was really surreal. My band killed it, they had played 5 shows in 24 hours and we gave the very last ounce of our beings to that last show. I’ll never forget, knowing I was losing my voice, and reaching down into the pits of my reserves to pull out something that I didn’t even know I possessed when the crowd called us to do an encore that night. We got engulfed in the crowd and kept playing our hearts out. It was awesome.
Q: If you had a chance to work alongside anybody who would that be?
Do you mean dead or alive? I would have loved to work with Johnny Cash. I was raised mostly by my grandparents in a lot of ways, and my pawpaw was Johnny Cash’s songs personified, so I feel like, if I had the chance to make music with him, we would write some stuff that means a lot to me. As far as modern music goes, that’s a tough question to answer. I’ve come to really admire Elle King as a songwriter, a lot of her earlier stuff speaks to me, and I like the direction she has gone in. I think it’s pretty similar to my own music. Plus, she’s wild as hell. First time I ever smoked weed out of an apple was with Elle King, haha. I think we would have a great time making music together.
Q: What projects do you have coming up?
I’m putting out 4 singles with 4 music videos to accompany them. I’m having a lot of fun with that. My first one drops this week.
Q: Who is your inspiration?
Dang, here I go overthinking things again. I honestly have no idea. I talk a lot about how I was raised and what my family are like, and that definitely had a big impact on me. The first music I really fell in love with was classic soul music, and the older I get, the more I realize that it wasn’t just the music itself, but also the context of the songs, the lyrical content, the climate of the times. Even as I got into rock and roll, it’s always stuff from the mid-50s through mid-70s that I love most.
The world was different back then. You had to be an incredibly talented player back then, and the idea of “soul” was not what I see out there in mainstream music today. That’s what inspires me to record live. I don’t want to feel like I’m faking anything. My voice has a naturally soulful tone to it, and I’ve had people tell me it sounds like I’ve seen some shit when I sing. Though that’s true for this life, I like to think that maybe I’m just circling the block again, and have maybe lived several lives that were all kind of rough around the edges.
Q: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?
I’ve honestly purposefully been unplugged from the news and everything this week, because it’s easy to get bummed out with a lot of what’s going on in the world. I’ve been reading about the Apollo 11 mission this week and watching interviews with Neil Armstrong as he describes what the Earth and space look like from the surface of the moon. That’s pretty cool.
Q: What are your favourite venues to perform in?
I love shitty dive bars, but I also love being able to pay my band too, so what can ya do? Haha, I have really enjoyed some of the festivals that I’ve done. The last one, a bunch of literal children ran up to the stage and started throwing money on the stage. We ended up making like an extra $100 on that show just in money that children threw on stage. It was great.