ARTIST NAME: Allison Conrad
SONG TITLE: Burn
ALBUM TITLE: Playing with Fire
RELEASE DATE: 16th May 2019
GENRE: Folk, Singer-Songwriter
Allison Conrad is a Canadian singer-songwriter based in East London.
As a female, piano-playing songstress, she takes inspiration from Regina Spektor and Sara Bareilles, her two personal heroines of songwriting.
She wrote, recorded, and released her first EP: Playing with Fire, a concept album inspired by the fierce female characters portrayed in Game of Thrones, in October 2018.
The video for the song Burn, featured on the EP, has just been released in time with the Season Finale of Game of Thrones.
Tell us how you develop your sound and style to make it different from other musicians.
I like writing about things that other people aren’t singing about, things that make me angry, as a woman, or just as a person.
I like writing about the struggles of specific women, whether autobiographically or inspired by another’s story.
I love finding the universality of specific stories and the determination and resilience I see in so many women, so many people, and even within myself.
Tell us your opinion on the way new artists are coming up and the frequent release of songs.
It’s a tricky one in the indie market because most of us don’t have producers paying us to write and record, we don’t have labels backing us, everything we do comes out of our own pocket, so the frequency of release is mostly dependent on how much spare change we have. We have new material, we’re writing and creating constantly, but can we get it to an audience this month? Let’s check our pockets…
State your experience as a musician.
I grew up playing the piano since the age of 5. I studied classical and jazz music and began writing songs for worship at my local church whenever I disagreed with a hymn and felt the words weren’t right or relevant.
I started writing more intensely as a way to cope with life as an adult.
When I moved to London, that’s when everything started to click for me. I started playing at the open mic and small gigs. I formed a band with the other musicians I met at the open mic, we recorded together, we continue to play together and here we are.
Tell us your opinion on streaming and digital download of songs.
Please stream, download, watch and ingest as much indie music as possible. Music is silence without an audience, we need listeners, it’s free, it’s fun, so go have a listen.
Tell us your goals and plans.
My goal is to continue to tell stories with my music, stories that aren’t being heard in other places, stories of people who are misjudged and underrepresented, and to create a space for others to do the same.
I hosted a successful all-female lineup of music entitled “That’s What She Said” at The Finsbury Pub. It was incredible! I hope to make it a regular event. There are so many inspiring female artists that I would like to shine a spotlight on in London!
Tell us five current artists that are your favorite.
Regina Spektor, Sara Bareilles, Lucius, Walk Off the Earth, HAIM.
Tell us your best song up to date.
Definitely ‘Burn’ – It’s gotten the most positive response from audiences and I feel so empowered when I sing it because I just get to let loose right at the end. And I’m so excited that I have a video to share with it too!
Tell us your dream and hope for the future.
To write musicals with Lin-Manuel Miranda – That’s all I want.
Tell us what has changed in the music industry.
On the one hand, the music industry is now open to everyone and anyone because you don’t need a label to produce your own music, you can record in your bedroom and have your single on Spotify the next day.
On the other hand, how do I get myself heard in such a saturated market?
Tell us your opinion on television/radio stations playing the same songs from established artists and giving little chances to independent artists.
People like what other people like. We’re often scared to try new things and we like hearing what seems familiar.
The radio plays songs that will give them listeners.
I think there’s definitely room for more indie artist radio stations, I think there’s a massive audience that wants to try new things, to hear something unfamiliar and like something that no one else likes yet.
Tell us the challenges independent artists are facing and how to tackle them.
We face a lot of challenges in the way of marketing because most of us are musicians who don’t know a thing about marketing or social media.
The most successful indie artists I know have capitalized on social media, they post regularly, creatively, and they get your attention.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
‘Burn’ is the first single from the EP: Playing With Fire, a concept album inspired by female representation in the HBO series Game of Thrones, written and recorded by Allison Conrad.
In a world where being a woman is synonymous with victimization, the song protagonist seeks power through the only means she sees possible – violent revenge.
The track is mostly a cappella with complex harmonies until it breaks out into a rock ballad showcasing the unhinged desperation and primitive nature of vengeance.
The message speaks to an aggressive resilience developed from being constantly underestimated and using that to find internal power.
‘Playing with Fire’ is the first EP release for Allison Conrad, a Canadian singer-songwriter based in East London. It was recorded at Mattison Studio with producer and sound engineer, Julien Baraness and the video recorded and edited by WMAF.
Tell us your opinion on using social media to promote music online.
Social media is the only way to go! That’s where all the eyes and ears are.
Tell us about your music career.
My first EP: Playing with Fire was launched in October 2018. The video for Burn released on the 16th of May 2019. I’m currently in the studio recording two new singles that will be released later this year!
Tell us what still motivates you to go on with your music career.
There are always stories left to tell.
Tell us about you as a person.
I’m a hopeless romantic, always seeking out the stories, the experiences, and the songs that will inspire the most passion.
I sold everything I owned and flew across the ocean on a chance that someone was as hopeless a romantic like me, it turned out to be true because we made it so. We define who we are every moment of every day, if we stand still long enough to write a succinct definition of ourselves, we might as well be dead.
Elaborate on the story behind the song.
It started as a dare. Do you think you could write a song about Cersei Lannister? You hate that character so much! So I had to. I had to get inside her head and write the song from the only person’s perspective that believes she was justified in her actions. So I wrote it as Cersei, but it became my own narrative, not that I want to burn everyone to the ground, but that I can’t be underestimated. And who is the one person who underestimates me the most? Myself. So it’s a song about breaking bondage from my own negative self-image.
Tell us the process involved in making this song.
I wrote the music and lyrics and asked my good friends Brian Grogan, Lin Hamami, and Easymess to figure out some backup vocals.
I sat in the back garden with cellist, Lucy Campbell, and the best violinist I know, Mónica Viñoly, and we created string parts.
I saw Cianán Curran playing the Bodhrán at an open mic and thought, I must have him on the recording too! So we did it all at Mattison Studio run by Julien Baraness and now it’s here!
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
Allison Conrad. That’s me!
State the title of the song and the meaning.
‘Burn’ – It comes from the mad king’s last words in Game of Thrones. “Burn them all.” It means complete and total vengeance.
State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.
‘Playing with Fire’ – I chose this title because it seemed fitting for a concept album about a show with dragons, vengeance, and literally burning things to the ground.
Also, I’m playing the piano and playing around with ideas and characters and all creativity is like fire, it’s beautiful or it burns you.