We recently spoke with actress and singer-songwriter Alisha Liston about her new EP, Beautiful Illusion, out now on all streaming platforms. We discuss her musical influences and what her creative process is like when writing new music.
How excited are you to release your new EP?
AL: I’m incredibly excited!! I feel like Beautiful Illusion is the kick off of my artistry. While I have written and released other original songs in the past, it wasn’t until I started writing Beautiful Illusion that I really stopped to think about what I wanted to do with my artistry. What were my goals, and why was I writing an EP in the first place. Having that purpose of wanting to help others get through their stuff just gave it so much more meaning.
When people listen to your music, what are you hoping they get out of it?
AL: I’m really hoping that my music will be to others, what others’ music has been for me – a source hope, understanding, strength, inspiration, and clarity as they are navigating through their own difficult situations.
How would you describe the sound of your music?
AL: That’s a great question. I know people have said that for them I am a combination of Rachel Platten, Avril Lavigne and Ashley Tisdale. While I like to create music varying in both tempo and style, I think though what really defines me as an artist and my sound are my lyrics and ethereal vocal performance.
Who would you say are some of your musical influences?
AL: I’ve had a lot of influences over the years. When I was younger, I really loved Grace Vanderwaal and Taylor swift. Recently I’ve been really inspired by songwriters like Sophie Pecora, Nightbirde, and Cavetown. Their lyrics are really thoughtful and well done. I also really like electro swing and experimental artists, such as Nero’s Day at Disneyland, for the incredible sounds and melodies they put together.
Did you always know that music was something you wanted to pursue?
AL: Yes, I did. I gravitated towards music at a very young age. When I was a toddler, I would sing for hours and hours all around the house. Eventually, my parents got me into singing and piano lessons, and my dad would teach me guitar. The more I learned, the more I knew I wanted to sing and write my own songs.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
AL: I would strongly encourage aspiring musicians to take some time to really think about what they want to do with music and why. Learning how to sing or play an instrument is a lot of work, and at times can be frustrating. So it really helps when you have a purpose or a goal for what you are doing. It can also be a guide as you continue to do more in the industry.
What is your favorite song to perform live?
AL: Oooh… probably my song Whose Definition. It’s really upbeat and I really enjoy seeing the audience having a great time during it.
Can you describe your creative process when you’re writing new music?
AL: That’s another great question. I have to say the process can start anywhere. Sometimes I will just be playing around with chords or I will be thinking about something and some lyrics will come together. Eventually, when I decide to develop an idea into a song, I will start writing down what I know about it. Where did it come from. What inspired that moment. Then, I will start to define it a little more. I will start asking myself questions such as, “What do I want to say? How do I want my listeners to feel when they hear it?” From there, I will start developing it out with either my guitar or piano. I will put together the first few drafts of the lyrics, chords and melody. Then, I will get together with my producers Idrise Ward-EL and Adrian Lopez. I will share my ideas, and we will brainstorm together on how to build it out. Adrian is a master when it comes to the instrumental, and Idrise is a master at melodies and vocals. It’s a great team. I love the way we all work together.
Listen to Beautiful Illusion here
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