An Interview With Alyssa Jacey
Updated: Mar 13
A brand-new album from Alyssa Jacey brings out a warming and colorful energy and character with a variety of pop undertone and eclectic genres that manage to tie into each other as if this were a concept album.
The Showing Up album does an amazing job of showcasing the artist's ability to adapt her vocal attitude towards the song that she's written and in doing so creates different atmospheres with each track.
This album has plenty of layers and to peel those layers back is incredibly fun as you get everything from '90s oriented pop bangers to folk backbones and southern kissed folk singles and a lot in between.
The best thing about it is that you find yourself drawn to each different song and it's those vocals and that Allure.
To be able to create songs like these you have to have heart and a passion for what you do, and you can clearly hear Alyssa's love for her craft as she does everything with such a natural flow.
A wonderful variety of acoustic and electric instrumentation come together, and you'll hear ballads, and you'll hear incredibly radio friendly pop singles that wrap themselves around you and keep you right where they want you.
You got all kinds of deep grooves and rhythms, and her vocal performance delivers a ton of soul which in turn really just makes you pay attention to what she's saying.
If you do that, you'll find that a lot of these songs are very relatable, and they can get a bit personal as well even if she takes a humorous tone to it.
After listening to this album, you feel like you've just seen a movie and when it's done you have to step back out of the theater into the daylight and reacclimate yourself to reality again.
This is kind of a beautiful thing honestly because you don't always get that with an album.
I like albums that draw you so deeply in that it's almost like a form of escapism.
The whole thing was so satiating, and her energy was so colorful and vibrant that you find yourself wanting to know more about her and her music.
Now although this album spans such a tasteful set of flavors and soundscapes enough to give you an amazing roundabout idea of the artist, going back through her catalog is an excellent idea because you'll find songs going all the way back to 2005 and there's more than a few gems in there.
I feel like the Showing Up album is like a testament to where she's at with her sound right now and there's something there for almost everyone.
With the release of such a wonderfully woven record, we wanted to have a sit-down with Alyssa to find out where this all may have come from and also what might be next for the artist.
Here's what happened.
Buzz Slayers: Okay Alyssa let's start with the Showing Up album! This had a great energy and touched on a retro-pop undertone! How did this record come about?
Alyssa: Thanks for the great energy comment!
The album ‘Showing Up’ came from a catalog of unreleased music that I’d written mostly over 2020 and 2021, which were two of the biggest personal growth years of my life. My divorce took 2.5 years and started mid-pandemic. Going through that kind of pain while your career simultaneously screeches to a halt, living between neighbors who each “hate music” and aggressively pound on the walls at the very strum of a guitar (which effected live streams, which was one of very few options musicians had for income during that time), watching relationships around me both crumble and blossom, navigating tumultuous family dynamics, losing loved ones, friendships changing…every feeling, every lesson, every story found its way into the world through these songs.
Live shows are the best forms of honest feedback. If you’re playing a new song and are given the obligatory clap, in my opinion, that song probably shouldn't be considered for an album cut. It's when you see phones in the air, hear them sing back and they say, "You've GOTTA record that!" That's when you know you’ve got a contender! My first live album (32 tracks, 9th total career release) came out in 2021. Most artists would sit on that for a while, but, after playing these songs over and over and crowds from different cities and countries all reacted the same way, I knew I needed to get in the studio asap!
I had a catalog of over 40 songs I was initially looking to pull 22 from, but because I’m not Taylor Swift, I had some budget limitations:) In the moment, I was bummed not to have been able to record the full 22, but in hindsight, I'm SUPER thankful these particular 11 were the final selections! For the first time in my career, I finally feel like the album order makes sense. Properly ordering songs on an album (or setlist, which is why I almost never use a setlist) has never been a strong suit of mine. In fact, I often admit how terrible I am at it! But putting the story of 'Showing Up' together with these 11 songs was so much fun! On a recent radio interview, I had on 102.9fm The Buzz, host Andy Herrin said, "You wouldn't think so, with so many genres, but you can listen top to bottom on repeat and it all flows perfectly. I'm a huge fan of this album." That was a massive compliment I'll forever glow from!
If there's any one song, I REALLY wish I had the budget for, it would have been, 'When You Were Here.’ It's a reminder not to wait to tell the ones you love how you feel because one day, it will be too late. I am so grateful my parents are still here, and I get to sing it to them whenever I'm home, when they come to visit me in Nashville or watch one of my weekly live streams! For fans who want to hear it, it's track 26 on my live album!
'Showing Up' remained nameless throughout the recording process because nothing jumped out at me as an obvious title that would make sense and connect all the stories and genres. It was September of 2022, the month before its release, when out of the blue, I realized they all had one common thread: Showing Up. Whether it has to do with love or loss, personal struggle or growth, no matter how impossible these challenges seem, each song is a reminder to the listener to keep showing up. We need to show up for ourselves, our friends, families, careers and passions. When we fill our heads with doubt, when someone breaks our heart, when we feel pain or suffer loss, if we continue showing up, in the end, we can never be let down!
Buzz Slayers: How did this all start for you as an artist? When did you first fall in love with music?
Alyssa: I LOVE this question! Thank you for asking! I recently answered this question in another interview, and since it's a long answer, is it OK if I share the link? https://nashvillevoyager.com/interview/meet-alyssa-jacey-of-nashville/
That explains it in detail, but in short, I didn't know I could sing until I was almost 24. Co-workers heard me singing to myself, thought I had a good voice, essentially forced me to try karaoke, and that's how I was introduced to singing! As you'll read, I grew up as a dancer; ballet, jazz, tap and hip-hop. I danced in the Super Bowl, was on traveling teams and taught at gyms and colleges. I had never played an instrument or written a song, until 2005. The link above shares more about how I ended up recording, touring, opening for artists like Bruno Mars, moving to Music City, playing guitar and drums and lots more. My favorite phrase to say is, "You never know!" I had no clue I'd end up moving to Nashville to pursue music, which lead to owning a career coaching business, which lead to TV hosting, which lead to motivational speaking, which lead to modeling and acting contracts, which lead to…click the link and find out! You never know where life is going to take you. In those moments when I thought the world was ending (during my divorce, for example), little did I know I’d look back FILLED with gratitude. There are lessons in everything, if you’re patient and open enough to learn them. Eventually, you will. You never know why something is happening while it’s happening, but let me tell you, there was MAGIC transpiring amongst my darkest hours. I couldn’t see it then, but I do now, and I couldn’t be more thankful for every single confusing, gut wrenching, wrinkle creating, grey-hair-growing moment. I learned SO much over those years and I’m still learning every day. These are the best days of my life, and I want that for everyone who is reading this. That is what I hope ‘Showing Up’ does; I hope it inspires you to live through the pain, whatever it is that you’re experiencing. I hope it reminds you to love and respect yourself, always, but even more when others don’t. I hope it moves you to MAKE MOVES, and that can mean actually physically moving towns, cities, states or countries. It could mean changing career paths. Getting out of an unhealthy relationship. Quitting a bad habit. Personally, I knew I needed to quit drinking, so I did. Just celebrated 3 months free from alcohol on February 28th! I hope the lyrics in ‘Showing Up’ speak to your soul and its melodies and hug your heart. I hope it’s an album you find yourself going back to over the years for self-care reassurance. If nothing else, this album will show you I’m human, just like you. I make mistakes, just like you. But I learn from them. I’m stronger and better because of them. I believe you can be, too!
Buzz Slayers: What kind of things really spark inspiration for you?
Alyssa: I write about whatever moves me. It can be as simple as the melody or lyric in another song, but most often, I'm moved by something I experienced, something I witnessed or a story someone shared with me. Last week, for example, a friend of mine shared that his four-year-old daughter was getting bullied at school and the conversation they had about it. He said, "Then, unprompted, she said, 'Sometimes, we gotta breathe when we cry, daddy.'" It IMMEDIATELY inspired me to start writing a song and 1.5 hours later, 'Breathe When We Cry' was born.
Buzz Slayers: This album blended some great styles! Can you give us some of your biggest influences musically?
Alyssa: My fans started referring to me as "The female Ed Sheeran" the last few years, and that influence can be found in songs like 'Sha La La Love' and 'Love Is All You Need.' You can hear hints of Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat on the co-write and duet, 'Found My Everything.' Chris Stapleton blues vibes make an appearance on 'I Want It to Rain,' although this song was actually written back in 2015 but released as an upbeat pop song in 2016. Other influences on this album could be any Lilith Fair, 90's female artist like maybe Paula Cole or Shawn Colvin on 'It's Gonna Be Fine.' I tour to Hawaii a couple times a year and there's an obvious reggae influence on track 7, 'What Are We Doin'?' I wrote it in Hawaii, summer of 2021, and was very lucky to have one of my super talented, local Hawaiian artist friends playing ukulele and lead electric on it! 'Love Doesn't Love' has Imogen Heap and Madeline the Person influences. 'Man of God,' the country ballad, was reviewed here https://nashvillesparkle.com/alyssa-jacey-man-of-god/ by Nashville Sparkle. If there's any influence on that song, it's that I was encouraged to be unashamedly honest and brave, lyrically, by Carly Pearce. Other songs mix pop, country, rap and alt/indie in one, like 'Choosing Boys.' The opening track 'See Me Cry' doesn't sound like anything I can specifically reference, other than its super pop, and it has the longest, fastest rap of all my songs to date!
Buzz Slayers: How long did it take you to write this album?
Alyssa: Most songs were written in 2021, one in 2020, one in 2015. Even though the pop version of 'I Want It to Rain' has been out for almost 8 years, the original blues version (track 10 on 'Showing Up') is the one I always play at my live shows and also the version fans have been asking me for years to record and release. So, I'm SO happy this version is finally out! The next "oldest" would be 'Love Is All You Need,' which was written in 2017. That's the first song I ever wrote a rap in! Next would be 'Showing Up (Hustle Pie)' co-written with Tolan Shaw, February of 2020. 'See Me Cry,' co-written with Christie Huff, January of 2021. 'It's Gonna Be Fine' in February, and the rest of the songs were written that summer.
Buzz Slayers: This is your 10th album, correct? How do you feel like your sound has evolved from where you first started?
Alyssa: I've released four EP's, one LP and five albums, all of which can be found on my website, along with almost 30 singles. My sound has evolved so much that I've convinced myself to take down most of the above from all downloading and streaming sites, and make them only available on https://alyssajacey.com/music/#, the music/discography page of AlyssaJacey.com. I don't sound or write anywhere close to how I used to. I think I was wrongly influenced by others in the industry who thought they knew best about how I should sound. There's no way the today artist in me would have allowed myself to release most of what I have in the past, without first re-working and tweaking some of the lyrics, melodies, mix and master. But that's what growth is for! You live, you learn! (Hi, Alanis!) ;)
Buzz Slayers: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?
Alyssa: Underwater basket weaving! ;-) Just kidding! If I'm not booking shows, writing or co-writing songs, recording, traveling, creating merch, updating my website, posting on social media, practicing guitar or drums, doing vocal warmups, teaching guitar, teaching vocal lessons, scheduling or hosting band practices, filming and editing videos, shooting and editing photos, creating single and album cover art, responding to emails and social media messages and comments, playing shows, live streaming, playing drums or percussion for other artists, changing guitar strings, cleaning/polishing instruments, sending out newsletters, adding emails to the newsletter, interviewing with radio, TV, music blogs and podcasts, producing, co-producing, submitting my music for contests and auditioning, amongst other things, I'm performance coaching for other artists, directing others' music videos, dancing in or choreographing for other artists' music videos, walking uphill on my treadmill while on catchup calls with friends and family, visiting in person with friends and family, watching RomCom's, making up recipes, reading, cleaning and organizing my house, going on runs outdoors when the weather is nice and supporting my friends by going to their live shows or events!
Buzz Slayers: Are you doing any live performances right now?
Alyssa: I play anywhere from two to six times a week, including at least one weekly live stream every Tuesday night at 8pm CST on www.StageIt.com/Alyssa_Jacey. For now, the live stream is on Tuesdays, which could change, so I encourage fans to visit www.AlyssaJacey.com regularly to stay up to date on show dates and times! I perform at Sambuca twice this month, the 5th and 26th! I'll be headlining my very first show at City Winery on Wednesday, March 15th! Tickets just went on sale! Pre-sale $15, doors $20. Click here for more info!
Buzz Slayers: This record feels like a big undertaking. What kind of advice would you have for other up and coming artists?
Alyssa: Advice on recording an album? Or advice in general?
Recording wise; Pick the right producer or co-producer, meaning, someone who understands who you are as an artist and what you want to sound like. Pick the right musicians, meaning, both creative in their own right but also who understand it's your record, not theirs, and your final say, goes. Don't just pick people because they're a friend or friend of a friend, or just because they're cheaper. Select the right team that will enhance your music, bring out the best in you as an artist, and a team that encourages the artistic side of you to come out!
Buzz Slayers: What is your absolute favorite aspect of doing what you do?
Alyssa: Connecting with the audience! I LOVE talking to people, joking with them, seeing that my lyrics and music are connecting with their hearts by the expressions on their faces and I love, love, LOVE when we all sing together!
Buzz Slayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Alyssa: wouldn't be here if it weren't for you. I wouldn't be answering these questions, I wouldn't be able to live a life I could only have dreamed of, I wouldn't be who I am today, without the Blue Crew!