in ,

INTERVIEW: Toronto songstress Alle The Dreamer tells of being stuck between the past and present on “Lonely Hallucinations”

Photo supplied by PR

Loosely describing her music as pop, dreamy breakout artist, Alle The Dreamer, brings a fluid blend of vintage and cutting-edge influences to create a distinct sound of her own.

“Lonely Hallucinations” is a song about feeling stuck; stuck in the past and present, and struggling to let go and make peace with it.

“I wrote this song about being stuck between the past and the present. It’s a break-up song about my inability to see clearly, and wanting peace,” Alle shares. “Feeling paralyzed in my decisions and constantly reliving memories from the past. I also have this deep fear of making mistakes and then regretting them in the future, so it was kind of like all of these mixed feelings that were coming up. You know when someone is talking to you, but you’re just somewhere else, lost in memory? Yeah, that’s ‘Lonely Hallucinations’. It’s about all the thoughts and memories that live in your head that no one knows about.”

Establishing yourself in the local music scene early on, you wrote and recorded with collaborators throughout Toronto, LA, and London; accumulating numerous credits including as a featured artist on DVBBS’ single “Wicked Ways,” Morgan Page’s “Beautiful Disaster” and as a co-writer for Little Mix’s “F.U.” How did you first become acquainted with the local music scene?

Alle The Dreamer (ATD): “When I was in my late teens, I started performing around Toronto at open mic nights and met a lot of new people in the local music scene here. It was such a fun time filled with musical experimentation and exploration. I was also at the time, studying Jazz Voice in the Fine Arts program at York University. Every Friday, the department held a jam session for all students in the Music program, to come and perform with a house band (4th-year music students) so you could meet different people and collaborate. It was here I met a lot of like-minded humans and started experimenting with different musical genres and songwriting. Up until this point, I had only written lyrics in my journal and stored melodies on my voice recorder. So funny to think about this. Nowadays I record on my iPhone and it’s super easy. Back then, everything was a bit more complicated when it came to songwriting. I was a bit timid and shy to share them with people and so it took me time to open up and learn more about who I was and what I wanted to say. Once I started collaborating more seriously with producers and songwriters in my early 20s, my confidence grew and so did my abilities. I am a big believer in the 10,000-hour rule. I also believe there is always room for growth when it comes to your craft, and I believe I still haven’t written my best song yet.”

Despite your successes, there came a time you stopped making music and forwent singing altogether, as music became more of a chore than something you found fun. After some time away full of deep reflection and inward focus, you found life in music yet again. Tell us of that time in your life, and what you discovered about yourself and others, in the process. How were you able to rise from the shadows, and back into the light?  

ATD: “Great question. I really took some time to look inward, rest and made time to do other things that made me happy. I really tried to build an identity outside of music and get to know myself better. Music is all I’ve ever known and loved since I was a child, and my whole identity was built on music and the dreams I had. Literally, every decision I ever made in my adult life was made in mind with music and my career, and how that would impact me. So it was nice for a while to put that to the side and live life. I travelled, picked up other hobbies like sewing class, and adopted 3 dogs that bring me so much joy. I spent time with friends and went to birthdays and events. All these things I felt like I sacrificed for so long because music was my number one priority and everything else was second.”

“Burnout is a very real thing, and I remember one of my last writing trips to LA, the people I worked with were so tired and depressed over the constant hustle that is the music business and trying to make a name for yourself. This made me feel sad, because we’re all here just chasing a dream and getting lost in the future and what could be, that we are forgetting to live here in the present and be grateful for everything we have right here and now. It’s like everyone totally forgot that the point of creating music should come from a place of joy and freedom. I internalized this and told myself, that’s not the life I want. I didn’t want to be apart of a rat race. I didn’t want to be stuck in this cycle of never feeling good enough and being almost there. So I took back my life and said ‘fuck it, I’m going to create now not because I have to, not because I’ll let someone down if I don’t, not because I have to prove people wrong and prove something to people, I’m going to create music and chase this dream for myself, but I will be balanced in doing so.’ My dad would always say, ‘Honey, It’s about the journey, don’t forget.’ These words helped me release so much pressure I had put on myself and I now share that wisdom with younger writers when I’m in the room with them. I wish I had people telling me this when I was an aspiring writer. So after my long-needed spiritual break (& If I’m honest forced break) from music, I started to really miss it. I started to miss the feeling of creating and singing in general. Like the days of me singing in the shower or singing on a walk home and not feeling stressed about having to preserve my voice for my sessions. Without music in my life, it felt like I had this big hole. Like a part of me was missing and nothing I did could ever match the feeling of happiness I got from writing a new song and sharing it with my friends and family. Looking back, it was the perfect break I needed to give me a fresh outlook on life. When I create now, I’m so grateful and humbled to be invited into rooms and meet new people. I’m coming in refreshed, inspired and ready to write music I’m proud of.”

A song for those confronting their uncertainties and insecurities; paralyzed by decisions and reliving memories of the past, “Lonely Hallucinations” speaks of feeling stuck, and the struggle to let go and make peace with where one is. Like a seesaw, one may not stay balanced for very long but can aim high after every low. How do you feel the release of this song has allowed you to feel kinder toward yourself and led you to become more accepting of what is and what will be? How have you learned to express this vulnerability and power in such a way that it has become transformative and freeing?

ATD: “I feel more at peace now with Lonely Hallucinations being out in the world. It was important for me to start this new chapter on my terms. I keep highlighting the theme of ‘new chapter’ because writing these songs over the course of the last 10 months felt like a total mind, body and spiritual transformation from the person I used to be. I’ve been working towards this moment in my career for over 10 years. I’ve seen everything in this industry; the good, the bad and the ugly. Yet here I am, positive as ever and ready to create a space in this industry for my fans to feel safe and seen through my music. I’m really honest with myself and what I’m going through when I work with others. I don’t hold back on my experiences and the lessons I learned. I had a session with Kara Dioguardi many moons ago and she was really hard on me. She said to me and I’ll never forget, ‘I get that you want to be positive and be that kind of artist, but you can still be honest with how you’re really feeling. That’s the shit people relate to. Not how amazing your life is and how perfect, but the things you go through and are afraid to say, that’s the shit people want to hear.’ That forever has inspired me on my journey of being a songwriter and artist.”

“Lonely Hallucinations” was produced and co-written with Derek Hoffman (RALPH, Grae, Caveboy, The Arkells). What brought you to the conclusion that Derek was the right person to confide in, and allow you to feel comfortable sharing the thoughts and memories you’d kept to yourself for so long?   

ATD: “When you create a song with someone, you want to feel free to express yourself. You want to feel seen and not judged. You want to feel calm and feel like there is an energy to just flow and that you’re both on this journey, trusting each other and trusting the process. That’s the magic we shared when we wrote ‘Lonely Hallucinations.’ That’s the kind of setting one should aspire to create in and it takes time to foster. That’s when you get to the good stuff. That’s when you experience moments like ‘I can’t believe I wrote that.’ Songwriting is a spiritual and noble pursuit because not only are you healing yourself through creating and the expression of said creation but your music can also change a person’s life and comfort them through hard times. Lyrics and melodies have always been there for me in life. So I’d like to give that back to my fans in hopes of it being there for them.”

This year’s material has led you to the comings of your debut EP, ‘Starting Over.’ A journey full of new beginnings, what are some individual truths that are congruent with who you are, and wish to become as an artist, as a new chapter unfolds?

ATD: “For me, when it comes to my music and my artistry, my only motivation is to be happy. To create from a place in my heart that is aligned with my true self. To create music that not only heals my soul, but the hearts of others. I hope these songs that follow can inspire, encourage and be like a warm hug from someone you love. I literally started my career from scratch again because I wanted to change the narrative. It was time that I took my story into my own hands and rewrite that story. That’s the power we all hold. If you don’t like the path you are on, change direction. It’s not easy at all, but the other side of that is glorious. So many life lessons I learned that humbled me to my core and funny enough that’s exactly what I needed looking back. I think we forget that we are the authors of our own stories and that no one should hold that power over us when it comes to writing yours. In terms of the bigger picture of my career, I really want to make a positive impact on this industry and I’m still trying to understand what that fully means and looks like. But I have made it my mission to uplift others. To uplift women in music is super important to me, while also continuing to share my knowledge and experiences with aspiring songwriters and artists gives me purpose.”

Connect with Alle:

Matthew Patania

Hi, I’m Matthew, and I am the Founder of Pulse Music Magazine. Having attended my first live show in the Spring of 2015, I realized just how much joy music brings to my life. As my love for music continued to grow, I decided to create a publication that serves as an outlet to share stories told through life's grandest medium.

Written by Matthew Patania

Hi, I’m Matthew, and I am the Founder of Pulse Music Magazine. Having attended my first live show in the Spring of 2015, I realized just how much joy music brings to my life. As my love for music continued to grow, I decided to create a publication that serves as an outlet to share stories told through life's grandest medium.

INTERVIEW: Billboard No. 1 Singer-Songwriter Dustin Collins talks latest single, “Gone,” and forthcoming record, ‘Workin’ Man’

Flatland Cavalry keep the fire kindling with the release of their latest EP, ‘Songs To Keep You Warm’