Following the recent release of her album New Love, singer/songwriter Allison Weiss embarks on a UK tour taking in Bristol's Louisiana on February 22.
Originally from a small town in Georgia, Weiss knew early on that her relationship with pop music wasn’t a casual one. Whether she pressed her ear to the wall of her older brother’s bedroom to hear the latest Green Day song or played the radio while she was asleep so she could soak in the melodies through osmosis, the attraction was immediate and undeniable.
After high school, Weiss studied art at University of Georgia in Athens, but she soon started learning more about music by performing at local coffee shops than sitting in stuffy lecture halls. The plucky teen started developing a pretty impressive local following, playing larger and larger venues, until she ultimately decided to evolve her passion into a full-time profession. Andy Howells recently put questions to Allison.
When & why did you know you wanted to be a musician & how did you get your break/get signed?
I’ve been writing and performing since I was 17, so about 11 years now. I don’t know that I ever “got my break”, but after many years of touring and practicing and working in the industry, I was signed to No Sleep Records in 2012. They put out my last album, and then I signed with Side One Dummy, my current label.
How would you describe your music?
Musically it’s very fun and upbeat, I write pop songs. They’re catchy and very melodic. Lyrically it’s about those depressing moments in relationships and life that we all deal with. So there’s a bit of a juxtaposition there, but I don’t mind it. I like fun music and sad songs, so I put them together.
Who are your musical inspirations?
I grew up listening to a lot of Tom Petty, Beatles, etc. because of my parents. In high school I got into pop punk which led me to the DIY punk scene. In college I fell in love with Rilo Kiley, Death Cab, Tegan & Sara, and so many more. I’m constantly inspired by all the new music coming out, and the old stuff I haven’t gotten around to listening to yet.
Can you tell us about your most recent album?
New Love is my favorite record I’ve made. I worked with Brad Hale and Forrest Kline, two incredible producers. We made it last summer in Long Beach, CA, and I think you can feel that in the recordings. It’s got a very laid-back poppy vibe, but it’s still cinematic at times.
What’s been your live show highlight so far?
I just headlined in the U.S. and those shows were some of the most fun to date. There were the big ones, of course, like New York. Those were amazing. But the stand-out show for me was a Halloween set in Columbus Ohio. My band and I all dressed up as Luigis (as in Mario’s sidekick), and the other bands on the tour dressed up too. It was a low stage, almost on the floor, so we were right in the crowd’s faces. Everyone was packed in and it was sweaty and energetic and exciting.
What can we expect from your forthcoming Bristol gig?
I hope to bring that full-band experience over to the UK! I’ve only ever played Bristol solo and I think it’s about time you all heard me the way the records sound.
What else can we expect from you in 2016?
More touring, more videos, more fun. I’ve always got something up my sleeve.
- Alison Weiss plays Bristol's Louisiana on February 22
- A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment section The Guide on February 19, 2016.