Author: Scarlett Pham
ALi is an artist with a very unique pop and hip hop vibe. ALi has been working hard since debut, releasing albums and singles every year to prove why we belongs in this industry.
Where are you from? Have your surroundings shaped you in a creative sense, and in what way?
I'm originally from Missouri but I'm now based in Texas. My surroundings have shaped me creatively because a lot of my songs and what I create are based on what I've experienced from my own eyes and my interactions with people.
My new album "party" was created from the past 2 years where I had the least social interaction due to the virus, yet ironically it was the most insightful and experience-based record I've ever created. Almost every song was like a page in a diary detailing something I've experienced because of my surroundings or my interactions with people.
What's your background like? Where do you stand on the music scene in your area?
I've always been a very creative person and music was one of the very first things I picked up creatively at a young age. My whole family loves to sing and music has always played a major role in my life.
In my area, there are a couple other musicians that I know of. I've actually collaborated with two of them, who are "PULGASARI" (who raps) and "Majesty's Wing" (who sings and is also on my album). It's nice to see other people who enjoy the same thing I do, which is creating music.
What did you start doing first, producing, or rapping? How did you get started?
I was 10 turning 11 when I first started producing my own material. I had always loved crating remixes and edits of my favorite singers' songs, and so at 10 I figured "why don't I try making songs?"
It wasn't the best at the start, but I learned slowly by myself and with YouTube honestly. It's a really tedious process to learn, but you get there eventually. I started rapping and singing just almost 3 years ago. Prior to that, I would just release the beats I would make.
Do you have anyone that you consider your mentor? How has their help or advice shaped you?
It'd be really hard to pin-point one person, but when I was creating my first record, Madonna really inspired me and has shaped me as an artist even today.
She had released this record called "Madame X" at that time and it was this super bizarre, but a very "Madonna" album. It was experimental, but it made sense for her to make it. That album inspired me to never stick to one genre or style specifically and to always break out of any boundary or box. I want to keep evolving with every album I make and to constantly switch it up and the "Madame X" album really helped pave the way for me in that way.
What is one experience in life that, without it, you wouldn't be the artist you are today?
If I hadn't picked up learning how to produce, I wouldn't even be making music right now. I'm so glad I constantly made myself learn because music is one of the best things in my life. The concept of writing and putting what I'm feeling personally out in the form of a song is very therapeutic and one of the best things in life.
What do you hope to accomplish this year?
My main priority right now is to rest. My foot has been on the gas with releasing and creating music for the past 3 years and I never took a long, needed break in between releases. I really want to let myself rejuvenate before I start crafting another record. I'm always writing and getting ideas though. Anytime I have a song idea, I record it ASAP in my voice memos. I'm always doing that, so that will never stop. After taking some rest though, I 100% would love to start creating a new record later this year.
What does your work aim to say?
To just never fit into a box or conform to one thing. Listeners can hear that in the music and see it in me as an artist. I never like to settle for one thing and I'm always changing. My new single "die another way" talks about this by saying that I would never change myself to satisfy others. I'm always going to be myself and would never change myself in order to make others happy.
Who are your biggest influences and what do you like about them the most?
Selena Gomez is one of my biggest influences and I love how she gives back to multiple communities. She has so many other endeavors besides music that go towards a greater cause.
How would you describe your own style?
Sonically, it's a mess, but in the best way. It's a mixture of hip-hop, pop, dance, electronic, R&B; just about everything. I want to keep expanding as well into new sounds and making it work for me.
In what ways has your newest music changed from when you first started?
It just seems more meaningful, but still fun. I have a nice mix of meaningful records and just fun stuff on the deluxe edition of my new album "party". I've improved tremendously even in the past two years. My producing, songwriting, and overall artistry has just improved. I feel like people can actually understand what I'm trying to convey through my music now.
What are the main inspirations for the lyrics you write?
Most of the time, it's what I'm feeling in the moment when I'm going through a situation, whether that's good or bad, or I reflect on something that I've already experienced. A lot of my most recent album "party" is like a diary of my time throughout the past 2 years locked in my home. I reflected on times prior to lockdown, but also did lots of self-reflection and a lot of that went into the songs.
What would be your dream venue in which to perform?
If we're talking dreams, it'd be AT&T stadium. I've always imagined what my songs would be like live, and I have some really cool ideas and concepts.
What's a song you have stuck in your head these days?
"jealousy" by FKA twigs. It's too good.