Interviews

Pop Up-and-Comer Alita Talks Finding Her Sound, Quarantine Inspiration and New Music

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Alita, an up-and-coming pop singer whose most recent single, “Too Close,” dropped on Friday, May 1. The singer racked up quite a few streams (over 100,000, to be specific) after her single “Human Nature” made it onto Spotify’s “Fresh Pop” playlist. Alita touched on her brand new single, what she’s been doing in quarantine, her plans for new music and more! Check out our interview below.

Your new single, “Too Close,” just dropped on May 1. Tell us a little bit about the track and what it means to you.

It did — I’m so happy it’s out in the world. This is a song I wrote over a year ago; it started as a writing exercise. I was trying to put myself into the shoes of someone I was seeing at the time. I felt we had this great chemistry and connection, but we ended up not being on the same page about what we wanted.

I couldn’t understand where he was coming from, so when I was writing one day, I sat down to explore how he might be feeling. “Too Close” came from that solo session, really just writing to process this hollow feeling I had. It turned into a little more of a bop than a sad ballad, but that’s really where it sprouted from. It’s a song that carries weight in a way that my other songs haven’t, because it’s one of the first where I felt like I started to capture the sound I wanted.

It’s been a journey of trying on a lot of different sounds and ideas for size, and “Too Close” felt like one of the first where I could release a full breath after listening to it. It’s been a long time since I wrote it, and I’ve evolved since, but I’m still so proud of it. It feels good.

Photo: Austin Hodaie

Do you have any plans to release an EP or an album this coming year?

Nothing officially, but that’s the plan. Our current stay-at-home lifestyles have changed my session plans. I won’t be traveling down to LA — like I was going to — anytime soon, so new music is on hold for right now. But I have another single coming out mid-summer so we’re working hard on that!

Has being stuck at home due to the coronavirus outbreak inspired your creativity music-wise?

Definitely from a lyric perspective. I’ve started to work on basic demos for ideas I’m really excited about, and I’m still writing all the time. I’ve found that this time slowing down has put me in a nostalgic, contemplative mood. I’ve been thinking a lot about my family, my upbringing and writing about those stories.

Your single, “Human Nature,” really resonated with listeners, and Spotify even featured it on its “Fresh Pop” playlist. What about that song is special to you, and why do you think it resonated so well with listeners?

“Human Nature” is a song about my college breakup, and I wrote it well over two years after we had ended. That breakup story is the worst I’ve experienced and still sticks out like a sore thumb when I think back on my relationship history. There was a peace I had found by the time I wrote it, and I think it shows up in the melody and the overall feeling of the track.

The song is about the inner battle between logic and emotion. I think people gravitate towards it because it has a really strong “groove.” The production is kind of lush-sounding and it makes you want to move your body without it being too “dance-y,” if that makes sense. I’m grateful people have liked it. Thank you, Spotify, for the love.

When you’re not in the studio or writing songs, what do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any unusual or quirky hobbies?

I’m 25, but I really live like a retired older woman when I’m not working. I have three dogs, I love to read and craft. I love spending time with my family and close friends. I definitely have a very bubbly side to my personality, but I also can spend a lot of time alone. That’s the side I’m nurturing these days. During this quarantine time, I’ve been learning how to garden. We’re actually working on a little series about it — “a complete noob tries to keep a garden alive” kind of vibe.

Describe your songwriting process. Do you tend to write melodies or lyrics first, or does it change depending on the song? Do you usually write alone or with others?

I almost always start songs by myself. I actually don’t think a single song of mine was started and finished in a studio setting. Usually I write a demo, either on piano or guitar, or using some beat I like. Lyrics always trump melody in my head, even though I know they’re equally important. So a lot of the collaboration I like is for structuring or rewriting melodies and hooks. That, and the production help, is really what brings the songs to life from my little old demos. I prefer to write all lyrics, but I’m always open to ideas. I’m excited to work with new people this year and find a new collaborative flow.

Photo: Austin Hodaie

If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?

I would love to write with Jon Bellion. If we could be on a song together, even better! He is a next-level musical genius, and I think he would force me to up my game just by being in the same room as him. But honestly… the list of dream collaborators and writers is endless — Julia Michaels, Ali Tamposi, Leon, Adele, Lennon Stella, The 1975, Leon Bridges.

You’re from Seattle but currently split your time between there and LA. Do you draw any creative inspiration from the lifestyle differences of the two cities?

Unfortunately, I haven’t really been experiencing the Seattle/LA split because as we were jumping into that, quarantine kicked in. But that’s the goal — that later this year I’ll be spending 50 percent of my time down in LA. LA gives me both drive and anxiety, honestly. It’s where I want to be for my career, but not my personal life. I love the sun, I love the opportunities, I love the motivation and speed of the city.

My home in Seattle is an entirely different pace. I live a little far out, on an acre. Distanced neighbors. It’s really different from Los Angeles. I can’t really speak to the creative energy being different in each city, because I’ve done 99 percent of my writing here in Seattle, but LA is really where I want to be for the next project.

Do you have any plans to perform any shows later in the year or next year due to the coronavirus outbreak?

No performance plans on the books yet. We’re focusing on releasing music and getting back in the studio. But once things free up and it’s safe to travel again, booking shows is next on the list.

Featured Image: Austin Hodaie

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Sarah DeNunzio

"A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer." - Karl Kraus