Cookie with a Bite!
ALANA DAVIS is somewhat of a rarity in the music industry. Signed with a major label, she is one of the most independent minded singers around with her acoustically driven fusion of jazz and funk. That sound launched her into the mainstream with her 1997 album Blame It On Me. Now, she is back with a new album called Fortune Cookies and a US tour. QV conducted a phone interview with Alana as she was traveling around the country.
As I begin the interview, I tell her that Im calling from Los Angeles where her new single, I Want You, has been getting substantial airplay. In fact, there was even a launch party for her latest album, Fortune Cookies, at a QV nightclub in West Hollywood called Revolver.
Oh, youre kidding! she exclaims.
I then tell her that the album flat is plastered all along Santa Monica Boulevard, to which she responds,That is so great! I was in LA not too long ago. I wanted to go and meet more people when I was there. I did one show in Santa Monica, but didnt get to go anywhere else. But next time I will. So tell everyone to memorize my face.
Critics and fans across the country are taking notice of Alana Davis unique brand of music. She has managed to defy all music genres by creating her own stylea blend of jazz, funk, and acoustics. Davis co-wrote all the songs on her new album with the exception of two covers. On one of those covers, I Want You, is a song that appeared on Third Eye Blinds debut album, but Alana took it and twisted it to make it all her own.
One of the big names that Alana worked with on her album was hip-hop masters, the Neptunes, on the song Bye Bye. When I asked her how this collaboration came to be, Alana confesses she was searching for something new and exciting and in her search, she found the Neptunes.
She says, I dont really listen to pop radio, but over the last year, I found some things I had to get...and they were all produced by the same guys (the Neptunes). It was an opportunity to do something with some people who were doing things I could never do.
When asked about who she would like to work with in the future, Alana hesitates, not because there arent any artists around to work with, but because as she says it, her music is her music. The whole process of writing and performing comes from herself. She explains, My music is born in a place of solitude. I do all my writing by myself. There are lots of people Id be honored to work with, a lot of talented performers, but in the large scope, its kind of a personal discovery thing.
Her personal discovery began in Greenwich Village where she grew up. Her mother and father were jazz enthusiasts who constantly played music in the house. Inside of these conditions, Alanas artistic endeavors were inevitable. Alana began writing at a young age and she set out to make music on her termsmusic that combined all of her early influences of funky rhythms and jazz with the lyrics of a folk poet.
One of Davis greatest influences is the legendary Stevie Wonder. She explains, There wasnt a time that I didnt listen to Stevie Wonder. My parents were big fans of his. Because my mom was a singer she was pretty opinionated and wouldnt play just anybody.
Alana says that the toughest job for her is performing in front of a live audience: It was nerve wracking the first time (I performed). Im getting better, feeling more comfortable.
For a woman who seems intimidated about performing live, it is quite remarkable that she performs alone on the stage with only a guitar and no band to hide behind. But this is exactly how Alana wants to present her musicin a very candid way.
Alana is currently on a tour with Five for Fighting that will go through most of the year. The tour is quite important to promoting her latest album because there havent been any videos shot for her songs. And, in the age of video controlled music, its inspiring to find an artist who is earning her audience through radio, and most importantly, live performances.
Alana Davis is the definitive troubadourtantalizing her audience with funky rhythms and jarring lyrics. Her music only matches her personality, full of frankness and an honest disposition towards everything corporate. She is someone with a lot of things to say backed by a wisdom seldom seen in music today.
When asked what she would say to her fans, QV and straight, she states, with honesty, something we should all take in whole-heartedly: Just be you. Were all individuals. Theres a huge pressure put on for you to conform, to fit in, to be cool from such a young age that it can really hinder your actual natural abilities. Were all put here for a reason so embrace that.
Cookies" is available on Elektra Records. You can also check out
Alana Davis on the net at www.alanadavis.com