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Interview with Avalon Stone
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I got into music by accident at a young age. My parents were delayed on booking summer camps and there was one week where there was only one camp left available in the city for my age: a songwriting camp. I had done talent shows before and always enjoyed singing, but I never really gave it any thought before that point. I ended up loving it, especially songwriting. I joined the performance program they offered, and the rest is history. Over the next few years with my band, everyone who came out to shows always told me I should pursue music full time, and that I had ‘it’ (still not exactly sure what that means). But I also heard the stories from other musicians about how hard a road it is to follow so I was tentative about it. Then when the pandemic happened, I felt what a colossal loss it was to not be able to play music. That’s when I decided that I would do anything it took to make that my life. When I was younger, my interest in mental health also made me wonder about pursuing neuropsychology or forensic psychology. But the truth is, I really believe that I would have ended up in music either way. I can’t help but be thankful that I found my calling so early. I just had to accept it and the road ahead. The passion overruled anything else for me.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I’m not playing, writing, listening to or working on music, I like to engage in activities that inspire me. This is a lot of things, like watching movies, spending time with friends and family, journaling, reading, going on self exploration journeys, travelling, etc. I find that in order to write music that feels authentic, it is important to have life experiences to draw from, and most of the time that stems from conversations I have with people when I am doing things separate from music. Anything that makes me think about things in a deeper way, or find new meaning, no matter how small it seems at the time can end up inspiring a song.
How long have you been making music?
I wrote my first song when I was 10 years old, played on my first stage at 11, formed my first band at 12, and played my first paid gig at 13. It’s hard to imagine, but I’ve been performing, writing, playing and experiencing music in any way I can for a decade now.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m from Kitchener, Ontario which has a lot of love for blues music, and great youth programs run by local blues musicians. Growing up in this community allowed me to understand the roots and soul of music from a very young age. Now that I’ve found my own musical voice, grunge inspired alt-rock music, I still apply those very important concepts I learned from the many mentors here while growing up. I really feel like it made me have a deeper connection and understanding of music as a whole. I’ve got my next single coming out in January, and you can really feel the blues vibes underneath the heavy guitars and drums.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
I have played over 300 shows in my life and I have had some amazing experiences. For me, it’s not the specific shows that are memorable. It’s the moments. Like playing a song while fireworks were going off in New Jersey when I was 13, playing a Rush song in Memphis at a Blues competition when I was 14, people reaching for my setlists right after I play, watching tears roll down peoples cheeks while I sing in a dimly lit jazz club, meeting people who have become some of my biggest supporters, moments I share with my band off and on stage, and the list goes on. The show that I still think about often is when I opened up for Big Wreck (who is one of my favourite bands) in front of 1000 or more people this past summer. Looking back and seeing myself on a big screen and then turning around again to face that large of a crowd was such a rush. I don’t think that feeling will ever go away.
What is your favourite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
A venue that I have been playing at for almost a decade now is Maxwell’s in Waterloo. They have always been so supportive there and it is a great time, whether I’m there to play or watch other awesome artists (or both)! There are so many venues that I would love to play, like Massey Hall, Whisky a Go Go, Red Rocks Amphitheatre and so on, but the place I’m most interested in and is the most unique to me is The Caverns, which is a music venue inside of a cave. I think the energy there would go so well with the music that I do and it would be a dream to be able to experience that.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
This one is always a tricky question for me because there are so many bands that inspire me and that I admire greatly. In terms of people who are still alive and/or active today, I would probably pick Smashing Pumpkins and Bad Omens, but if I could pick anyone from the past, I would say Soundgarden and Nirvana.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
What I would say to someone who is just getting into making music is to get out there and explore the scene around you. Go to open mics and perform your songs, find people who want to support you and that you want to support, and take in as much as you can while staying authentic to who you are and who you want to be. I spent a lot of time dimming myself down to fit a certain view that people around me had because I was afraid of rejection. Now that I am doing what feels authentic to me, the music flows easier, and performing it is even better. Offer something no one else has to offer by being yourself, and be confident in what you have to offer. That is when people really start to notice. That is the advice I would give to my younger self.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
All my songs have a place in my heart, I feel very connected to them. The one that means the most to me varies from time to time based on what I have going on in my life at the moment. Right now, the one that I’m resonating with the most is my next single, “Harder.” It is about the pains of growing up, understanding more about the world around you, and not liking what you find. I wrote this song a couple years ago, before I even knew I was going to become a solo artist. I’ve performed it many times since in different environments, and I will often find myself on stage at its mercy, realising that I relate to it yet again.
Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
One of the songs off of my upcoming debut album called Drag Me is my favourite to play because it always brings the edgy energy that I love to lean into. You can tell by the pictures of me while playing it, and my body is all twisted to move with the music, and I’m making faces at the band and we’re all getting into it. My most requested song is my debut single Forget You, just released in October 2023. There’s this big note at the end of the bridge, and every time the song builds to that moment it’s like the whole audience is on a roller coaster, the kind that climbs up and up and then finally drops off in this big climactic ride! I love it when people get so excited that they start to cheer in the middle of a song.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
My creative process differs every single time, whether I’m writing with someone else, multiple people, or by myself. Inspiration usually comes from something in my life that I’m spinning over and over again in my head. I pour my thoughts into these situations until something clicks and a lyric pops into my head, usually accompanied by a melody of some sort. This usually happens when I’m lying in bed subconsciously trying to digest and put into words my lingering feelings at early hours of the morning. I’ve learned to keep a guitar beside my bed to encourage myself to get up and use that inspiration to craft something that I can perfect when I’m lucid or able to fully dive in. I have learned that I can’t rely on inspiration to come and that it’s not something that can be forced, but I always seem to have something to say.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
In my storytelling, I like to explore the deep dark corners of the mind and shed light on things less talked about. If not obvious to the song, there are undertones of longing, desperation, sadness with a defiant edge. Writing about these things makes me feel like I am expressing myself in a truly raw and authentic way, and that deep form of self expression is a truly healing experience. I always have thought that if I could help others by expressing myself, I would, and that is what I do now.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
My debut album Chained is being released throughout 2024, and so I will be spending the next year recording, perfecting, and playing these songs that I am so excited to share with the world. I have been playing many of the songs on the album live and will continue to do so to give fans a sneak peak at new music. There is always a lot going on, which I have a lot of gratitude for. Harder is going to be released in January, just in time for the seasonal sadness to start kicking in.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
The easiest way for people to keep up to date with me is to sign up for my newsletter which is accessible by my website: www.avalonstonemusic.com. My socials are @avalonstonemusic everywhere and also can be found on my website.