Shy and soft-spoken in person, Alise Marlane opens up and shares her perspective on the world when performing her thoughtful, introspective songs. Singing about anything from "the two most important things in the world - love and nature" to the TTC, Marlane put on a relaxing, intimate show at Oasis last Thursday night.
She took the time to sit down with me pre-show and answer a few questions.
Here's what she had to say:
Tell me about yourself and your background, where you're from, etc.
I'm from Montreal and Toronto. I've been back and forth. I live now in the Gatineau Hills, which is north of Ottawa. It's a small village and a beautiful place, but not too far away from a big city with some interest of culture. It's had a lot of influence on me; there's a unique and creative population there.
Are you a full-time musician?
Lately, yes. I've been playing my whole life. I started with piano; my background is classical. I started writing on guitar in my thirties - I don't know where it came from. And I've started performing more in the last few years, a result of settling in one place. But music is something I've always done.
Who are your musical influences?
Oh, I hate this question! My influences are never-ending musically. Anything and everything. Sometimes I'm not aware of influence, someone will tell me "Oh, you sound like Joni Mitchell," or whatever.
I listen to the big name female musicians: Jane Siberry, Joni Mitchell, Ani DiFranco, Joan Armatrading, Rickie Lee Jones, and Billy Holiday. As far as influences in my current life, I would say Ian Tamblyn. I went to a workshop of his a few years ago. I had already been songwriting, but it was amazingly encouraging for me: his feedback, advice and wealth of knowledge.
How would you describe your sound?
Well, record storeowners usually categorize it as folk. It's not
traditional folk though; I think it crosses boundaries stylistically. I
have an eclectic, folk-oriented audience that's interested in the whole
package, and less interested in the mainstream, and I think that reflects my
style of music. I'm still feeling it out, it's still at an early stage. I've
yet to see who wants to listen.
What has the response to your album (Stillness Hold On) been like?
It's been great so far, especially locally. The number one response is that it's an album they've been able to listen to over and over again. I think people appreciate the fact that, as a debut singer-songwriter album, it isn't overproduced. I'm thrilled with the album.
What are your plans for the next little while?
Now I just want to play more, also to settle down and write, I don't want to be too hyped about the album, I want to stay focused.
Writer: Fiona McLean