Interview: The Alona Decade
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What got you into your career now, and if you had not gotten into it what would you be doing today?
I have always loved music. I grew up in a music inclined family who was well-known in the church so singing and performing came natural. I’d be working in corporate or possibly journalism if I wasn’t pursuing music full-time now.
What do you like to do when you are not working and how does that influence your creativity?
I love traveling with my husband, spending time with family and friends, cooking, spending time with friends, creating organic DIY products and eating at new restaurants. All this really makes me rich - rich in love and experiences and those are the stories I like to draw from when I’m writing music and creating videos.
How long has this been your career?
I’ve been pursuing music full-time for just over a year.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your creativity?
I’m based out of Atlanta, GA, specifically Riverdale, GA which is the Southside of the city. I grew up around talented singers and dancers in school. Atlanta is the home of some of the best singers and rappers of all time and I grew up miles away from their stopping grounds so there was always a spirit in the air that made it feel possible! I live in Rhode Island now, so I miss that energy but I go home often enough to get a good dose when I need it.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have performed?
The best show that I’ve performed was last year during the pandemic for the Atizay Shop’s Afro-Costa Rican Visual Arts Gathering. It was a virtual show and I performed four songs from my album Indecisive with a live band in my living room. It felt like my very own Tiny Desk Concert. The acoustics, my outfit, the energy of the band and the support system I had helping me film and cheering me on behind the camera was absolutely amazing! The worse show I had wasn’t really a show. I had to sing the Black National Anthem at a Right of Sankofa event in college. It was essentially a separate graduation ceremony for minorities and I forgot some of the words and I remember looking into the crowd thinking “everyone knows this song so it’s soooo obvious that I’m messing it up”. It was such an embarrassing moment.
Tell me about your favorite venue to perform at, and do you have any places you want to perform that you have not already?
My favorite place to perform is in my house. It’s comfy, warm and the acoustics are good. It gives me Sofar and Tiny Desk vibes. Surprise surprise, my dream venue to perform is NPR’s Tiny Desk.
If you could perform any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
This one is tough but I don’t want to take too much time thinking on it because then it wouldn’t be genuine. The ticket would include Beyonce, Burna Boy, Jamie Foxx, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Alicia Keys, HER, Jhene Aiko, D Smoke, J Cole and John Wood (poet).
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into the industry?
I prefer using the term wisdom over advice. As a fairly new artist myself, I’d share the wisdom that I’m still processing, this is not a career for the faint-hearted. Your faith and perseverance will be tested so if you want microwave success this isn’t the career for you. There are a lot of emotions that we feel as creatives trying to gain influence and make a living using our gifts, the best thing we can do is channel those emotions into our songs. It makes music relatable, pure and a sonic testimony of our lives. That’s leaving a true legacy if nothing else.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
If I could go back in time and give myself wisdom, I’d tell myself two things: 1. money is just a tool and learning how to use it to invest in what I really want is more important than saving it and 2. Accept what’s in your heart and go after it. You will have opposition because it’s not a traditional career but trust in what God has put in your heart and you've literally dreamt for your life.
Of your work which one means the most to you and why?
This is a tough question but I’d have to say a song I wrote called, Self Talk. I sing and rap in this one and it’s my first time doing so. The lyrics are a true depiction of where I was at the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020. You have to listen to get the tea.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write?
I go through beats on the internet or beat packs that I get from producers. When I hear an instrumental I want to write. A melody will come to me and I get so excited because I follow the melody for the words. Typically, it's all pretty natural and I write the song in about an hour. But I won’t force it, if I can only perfect one verse and hook, I’ll do that and come back another day to finish the remaining verses, bridge and whatever else I want to layer into it.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your work?
I like to share messages of hope, love, passion, femininity and truth in music. I also just want to share my experience of accepting myself as imperfect as I am. I consider myself a recovering perfectionist and it’s an everyday battle. I know I’m not the only one so I want other people, especially my generation to find solace in that through my music.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
I didn’t do any for my first album because it was like my coming out party and I wanted to prove to myself that I could create something beautiful without features. This year and this project my goal was to do more collaborations. So far I’ve done four collabs and haven’t had any disagreements. I’m pretty direct on what I want and I think that’s the key to avoiding disagreements. And when they happen, I think it’s important to not take things personally and be a good listener.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
My plan is just to keep challenging myself and creating music and visuals that get better and better! I have so many ideas and executing them takes time when you have limited resources so I also pray that I can connect with people who want to invest in me and be a permanent part of my team. I’m going to be releasing a summer banger in July, so stay tuned for that. I’m also dropping my second album this fall.
INSTAGRAM LINK https://www.instagram.com/thealonadecade/?hl=en
FACEBOOK LINK https://www.facebook.com/thealonadecade
TWITTER LINK https://twitter.com/alonadecade
Indecisive Album Link on Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/1Hat17RN0BHxH3gYJ3J6vJ?si=k9BTihnbQ1K9ps62SSZL_A