Interview – Alli Bean

I recently reviewed the song Two Birds by Alli Bean and I really enjoyed the song – it’s got a unique, jazzy sound to it, unmatched by anything else I’ve heard recently! If you missed it, you can also find the song at the end of this interview.

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a track titled Two Birds, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the song? What does the title refer to?

Two Birds is the second single off of my debut album, Outside Voice. The title is a reference to the cliché ‘killing two birds with one stone’, the two birds being two people in a relationship & the one stone being the thing that could destroy their unity. “Two Birds flying are worth more than one stone” means that if two people choose to be in love with one another, nothing can stop them.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

In some ways yes, in others, no. The pandemic helped me look inward & get in touch with my own heart, which culminated in the creation of this album. I was hindered in terms of being able to rehearse my band, definitely. We’re back together now & it feels fantastic. Over the course of the pandemic, I did some solo live-streamed gigs, but it’s just not the same as performing for a crowd with a group of people I adore & respect.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

Writing is usually a one-day-at-a-time process. I do it in the mornings with a cup of tea. I’m particular about the type of book I write in & the type of pencil I use, but beyond that it’s just ideas that stitch together. It’s usually a vocal riff or lyric, that grows into something bigger. Recently I’ve gotten into TikTok duets. Those are a fun source of inspiration. When it comes to recording, I did my album at home, as it was early in the pandemic & I had equipment sitting in my studio waiting for some love. The vocals are the quirkiest; they were recorded with a bed sheet pinned to my ceiling.

Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future?

The whole Outside Voice album releases on June 1. After that it’s back to writing & development. I will definitely release a load more singles going forward.

Have you started writing for an EP or an album?

The second one is already in the works; I’m so excited to keep moving.

What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

My influences come from many genres & decades. I love to take a little Amy Winehouse, toss in a little Horace Silver, & then stir it up with some Big Wreck or Chris Cornell. Lately my faves have been more locally-based artists who happen to be colleagues & friends of mine. My good friend Frances Hope just released an EP called Lifeline & it’s absolutely amazing. I’m so inspired by how she does similar work to mine in a totally different way. I also got a sneak peak at my other colleague Nick LaRiviere’s (Best Laid Plans) new single, No More! & it slays. He’s a very strong trombone player, which is cool at face value while his writing & arrangement skills are top notch. I’m so blessed to have musical influences & inspirations that I can speak to in my regular life. It helps to keep me grounded in the truth that it’s just hard work & love, not magic. Whether you’re someone like Dua Lipa, or someone like me, you’re just a person making art & there’s a place for you.

Where are you based? What is the music scene like in your part of the world?

I’m in Victoria, BC, Canada on Lekwungen territory. Our scene has changed a lot over the pandemic, with many venues closing & many musicians taking on other lines of work to survive, especially early on. I’m glad to see musicians recovering & returning to the stage. New venues are opening, venerable venues are reopening their stages & dance floors & it’s glorious. We’re on an island; the scenes are small & pocketed. There’s a tiny punk scene here in Victoria, as well as a tiny jazz scene. Cowichan Valley has more bluegrass & country, but threads of folk are all over Vancouver Island. It all depends on where you go.

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

Not at this time, but those days will come.

What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

My shows are all about honesty. I’ll play you some tunes with my band & tell you some truth in between. I’m direct, sassy & I love a good time. If people enjoy that, they’d probably dig a show of mine.

Any last words for the fans?

Find a place to belong in your own heart first & foremost. It makes it easier to know whether you’re fitting in or belonging. Don’t drop your head or your tail.