There’s just something about a song that makes you think and delivers perspective on life that makes them so memorable. For Alli Walker, she’s making that her specialty.
Branding her music as “Mindful music,” Walker is tackling subjects ranging from mental health, living in the present, battling life’s hardships, and more as part of her ongoing series, “The Basement Sessions.”
With five songs released and five more to go before her album is released in September, hear from Walker about her start in music, the stories behind all of the songs she has released so far, the catharsis of “mindful music,” and more!
Pro Country: Who were your biggest musical influences growing up?
Alli Walker: I love songs. I get invested in certain artists, but I love a good song and a good story. My music is more about things that are happening in your mind and in your life. Growing up, I listened to a lot of Celtic music. I played bagpipes, so that’s a big influence in my music. When I was 16, Taylor Swift came out. She was the same age as me, and she’s the one who really inspired me to start getting into country music, like a lot of people my age. I loved Keith Urban, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, and Joni Mitchell as well.
PC: Was there a specific moment you knew you wanted pursue a career in music?
AW: I actually didn’t start singing until my senior year of high school. I randomly auditioned for my high school musical, and I ended up getting the lead female role. My entire family was extremely surprised, as was I, and I’ve just had the singing bug since then. I really started thinking that this is what I wanted to do, so I started taking lessons from my University professor who was the vocal professor at the University of Prince Edward Island. I asked her to make me good enough to get into University. I spent a year at University, and I knew I didn’t want to be a classical singer, so I packed up and moved to Toronto, which is the biggest major music city in Canada, and pursued country music.
PC: Were you feeling any type of pressure, internally or externally, as you were preparing to release “Live It” as the first part of your “Basement Sessions” series?
AW: Since moving to Ontario ten years ago, I spent the majority of that time developing as an artist. I’m a perfectionist, so I always thought I could do better, which held me back from putting music out, but I just said, “screw it, I need to put songs out.” (laughs). That’s where the “Basement Sessions” came from; I had finally kind of found my purpose within music, and that was mindful music and conscious country, and I knew that I wanted to go down that route. Once it felt right, I was super comfortable with starting to put songs out. I still write songs that are potentially going to be on the “Basement Sessions.” That’s what’s cool about putting out one song per month, I can still be writing what will be coming out for the next 5 months.
PC: “How Your Story Goes” has performed very well on Spotify since its release. What kind of validation does that success give you at such an early stage of your career?
AW: “How Your Story Goes” got on to a really major playlist on Spotify. That’s what artists really hope for; to get on a Spotify curated playlist. They’re extremely hard to get on. I don’t know how the heck it got on there, but the fact that it got some good spins is awesome, and it’s a great start to the “Basement Sessions” for sure!
PC: “This Life is Good Enough” is one of my favorites in your catalog. Can you talk about the inspiration behind that song?
AW: I feel like everybody in life, including myself, can get so wrapped up in what we’re doing. Sometimes we just have to slow down and be grateful for where we are, what we have, and how far we’ve come, and realize this life we have right now is good enough. We should be living in the moment and not looking into the future too much.
PC: “Dive Into Your Own Ocean” is a great, uplifting song. Of the four songs you have released so far, why did you and your team decide to shoot a music video for this song?
AW: I was in California for a gig, and I had like 20 minutes before the sun went down, and I said let’s go shoot a music video! We literally banged that out in under a half hour. I’m somewhere that has long, harsh winters, so to be able to get somewhere with nice weather, on a beach, with a song that happened to be coming out the next week that was about an ocean, I said, “Let’s do it!”
PC: You released “Fight Till the End” a few days ago. Can you talk about the meaning behind that song?
AW: I’ve been most excited to put this one out! I wrote it in like 20 minutes, and I just knew it was my favorite song. I wrote this song for my uncle who’s battling cancer right now. I think we’ve all been touched by people who have been sick, or we’ve been sick ourselves. It’s really an anthem for anyone who is fighting for something in their life, whether it’s their health, cancer, their dreams, or a relationship. We all have something to be fighting for, and we can all be proud of how far we’ve come, and how far we’re going to go.
PC: You have described your music as “Mindful music.” Can you describe what that means?
AW: I call it “mindful music” because the music is all about mental health subjects, empowering messages, and hard, deep questions that we ask ourselves, and the hard lessons that we have to learn along the way. I wrote songs for a really long time about boys, booze, and breakups, but then I realized that I’m married and I don’t drink, so I don’t really know what I’m talking about anymore (laughs). I just dug really deep and talked about the things that were really going on in my own life.
PC: Each of the songs you’ve released so far have delved into some pretty heavy subjects. Is it cathartic for you in any way to write and release music in that way and see the connections your fans are having with the songs?
AW: It is. I write as therapy for myself. When I release these songs and everyone shares their stories with me, I relive what I wrote, and that’s so cathartic for me. A lot of times, I think I write about things that I actually need in my own life, so it’s definitely therapeutic for me as well.
PC: You have featured a more traditional-country sound, as well as a more modern sound on your four single releases so far. Is it at all important for you to showcase that artistic versatility at this stage of your career?
AW: It definitely is. I write the songs on my guitar, and I record them on my phone. My musical partner is my husband, and we record everything in the basement, hence why they’re called the “Basement Sessions” (laughs). He’s the one that has that vision to bring the song to a certain place, so it’s definitely a musical partnership where he has the reins to do what he wants with the musical side of it.
PC: What are your plans for the rest of 2019?
AW: I’m putting out one song per month for 10 months. My fifth song just came out, so I have 5 more songs that will be released. My album will be coming out on September 13, and I think I’ll end up adding one or two bonus tracks, because I will have already released each single separately. There will probably end up being 12 songs on there, and the goal is to just keep putting the songs out and to keep making fun videos. I’m going to Mexico next week, and I’m doing a music video for the next song that’s coming out, so that’ll be exciting!
PC: Is there anything else you would like to add?
AW: Be sure to follow me online! I’m pretty active on Instagram, so follow along to see what’s coming up! My goal is to get on a tour in the fall or winter, so stay tuned!
*Images courtesy of Alli Walker and Alli Walker Facebook Page*