Singer/songwriter Alanna Eileen credits her Irish background as an inspiration as she was always encouraged to sing throughout her childhood.
She has described herself as being a folk singer due to the fact that she mainly prefers to play “fingerstyle” on her acoustic guitar, although the piano has now become a most recent asset to her musics. She also sings occasionally in French and Spanish.
“In the past primarily drew inspiration from literature, nature and traveling, but my new songs are more grounded in the minutiae of daily existence within the context of being in love with someone,” she said.
Alanna describes her EP, Absence, as a combination between her old and new songwriting techniques and life experiences.
Turning to songwriting was only a recent development, she explained as she never considered the idea of having a career as a musician to be a possibility. She just wanted to share her music.
A persistent and dedicated musician, Alanna said that she intends to keep on making and sharing music, and if her dream of fame doesn’t come true, a job in the music industry or teaching music would suffice.
Being able to pursue music for a living is just a plus in her eyes.
“The actual act of composing and singing is what I most love and want to do. As long as I still have the ability to do those things, I don’t mind what my career is.”
Artists that have had a major influential role throughout Alanna’s life include Mary Black and Roy Orbison, Roy Harper, Joanna Newsom, Joni Mitchell, Conor Oberst, the composer Zbigniew Preisner, Beethoven, Schubert – these were all of Alanna’s personal favorites during her childhood. Most recently, her inspirations have been Julie Byrne and Olivia Chaney.
“At eighteen, the violinist Pekka Kuusisto made a big impression. Then, when I first started trying to write songs, I listened to a lot of outlaw country music. Later, I heard Elliott Smith, then Karen Dalton and Robbie Basho around the same time, which was a combination that changed everything.”
One of Alanna’s first ever songs was titled Little Bird, she says that it was “philosophical in subject” much like many of her other songs earlier on. Her approach to song writing is constantly changing but even so, it is more of a slow process of trial and error.
“Initially it was like learning how to write all over again, because my poetry was too verbose to work within the context of a three or four minute composition. I had to simplify, so I started paying close attention to how songs in various genres are structured. It was a conscious effort with minimal results.”
Alanna’s upcoming album features a song called I Pray for Desertion which she says is her favourite due to the fact that “it’s a recapitulation of one of my happiest, and, also, conversely, most painful, experiences.” She says that for her it represents somewhat of a journey of something integral .
Alanna was presented the opportunity to record in Cairns in late 2014. Her most memorable achievement in her career to date was launching her debut album at The Toff In Town. Returning from a tour of her debut EP, plans are underway towards the release of her next album, set for release next year, as well as another Australian tour. She will also fly overseas to perform some shows in London and New York.Check out Alanna Eileen on:
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Written by Kyra Tsitsinaris