Alanna Eileen creates music that will still your heart and take your breath away

Alanna Eileen's voice is pure and warm. Somehow both gentle and powerful, the sound of its refrains has the power to simultaneously move you and stop you in your tracks. This magical music of this ethereal Melbourne-based folk singer/songwriter has been described by one music critic as "designed for those that hurt and ache in order for love to shine some light into their life." He continues, "I’d go as far to say that this is music shaped by the very disappointment of true love never really knowing how to connect itself to your existence. Within each instrumental passage and melodic hook of these songs there is a yearning for a deep escape and a warm embrace."

Indeed. Raised by a musical father, Alanna has spent countless hours immersed in classical and traditional music, escaping to the orchestra as a teen on a Friday night, and committing her time to learn ancient ancient Irish, Scottish and English folk songs. It is never a good idea to compare artists with other artists, but the comparison must be made between Alanna and Jewel, but not in a token way. The comparison is made to highlight that Alanna Eileen, while similar in tone and spirit, possesses a rare gift that could grace any stage in the world and silence audiences night after night. 

Alanna took time to talk with Music Love all about her dedication to her craft, life in Australia and her upcoming full length release.

Alanna Eileen. Image by Julia Trotti

Alanna Eileen. Image by Julia Trotti

Music is how I make sense of the world. It’s a place I can escape to and it feels like a kind of home. I can disappear into chord progressions or how it feels to sing a certain phrase.
— Alanna Eileen, singer/songwriter/heart-warmer

What does music mean to you?

Music is how I make sense of the world.  It's a place I can escape to and it feels like a kind of home.  I can disappear into chord progressions or how it feels to sing a certain phrase.  It's also a way to connect with people on a fundamental level.

Who are your favourite Australian women in music?

One of my favourite Australian musicians I've heard is Lucy Roleff, a Melbourne singer-songwriter and illustrator who writes beautiful, intelligent music.  Others include Julia Jacklin from Sydney, Angharad Drake (Note from editor: who Music Love interviewed here) from Brisbane and Leah Senior who's also from Melbourne.

How do you look after your voice?

I think the main thing is practice.  I don't have any particular rituals I adhere to, but it's important that I sing every day.  For the past year, I've been traveling constantly and haven't had a permanent base, so it's been harder to maintain a routine when it comes to singing, but I try.  

What is your wildest music dream?

I'd love to do a long tour encompassing Canada and the US one day.  Apart from that, releasing my first full-length album is all I've really wanted for a long time.  Being able to share it with people will be very fulfilling.

My earliest influences were the traditional Irish, English and Scottish folk songs I spent hours learning, with countless verses full of ardent hyperbole
— Alanna Eileen, singer/songwriter/heart-warmer
 

Do you have traditional musical influences?

Yes, my earliest influences were the traditional Irish, English and Scottish folk songs I spent hours learning, with countless verses full of ardent hyperbole.  My father's a singer so I was influenced by what he would play, things like Hank Williams.  I also got into classical music as a teenager and would go by myself to see the local orchestra on Friday nights.

What was life like in Perth compared to Melbourne?

The summers were longer and hotter, the venues were less plentiful, there weren't as many musicians and the atmosphere was very different. 

I also got into classical music as a teenager and would go by myself to see the local orchestra on Friday nights
— Alanna Eileen, singer/songwriter/heart-warmer

What is your favourite place in Australia?

I lived in different parts of Tasmania on and off for a few years, mostly in remote locations.  I think it's still my favourite place in Australia, particularly the wilderness areas.  

What is your favourite Australian café?

When I first moved to Melbourne I lived in a shed in Fitzroy North and there were a lot of cafés and restaurants nearby.  I've been vegan for a long time and it was surprising to me how prevalent veganism is in Melbourne.  I don't go out to cafés very often, but I used to walk down St. George's Road every day and one of the places I remember visiting for coffee was a Latin American café called El Chino.  I liked it because the interior made you feel like you were in the 1970s.

Who is your favourite non-musical Australian artist?

The poets Gwen Harwood and Kenneth Slessor.  Slessor has some beautiful lines - "deep and dissolving verticals of light ferry the falls of moonshine down".   I used to read his work as a teen.

Has anyone told you that you sound like Jewel?

Yes, I used to get that a lot when I started out.  I often listened to Jewel's first album as a little kid, so it could possibly be an unconscious, residual influence.

 

You can catch Alanna's magical performances in Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand on the following dates. More info at www.facebook.com/AlannaEileenMusic. Listen to her music on Bandcamp and Spotify. Her new single comes out in March, most likely. We will keep you posted

1st February - The Toff in Town, Melbourne with Ben Mastwyk and Tom Lee-Richards

9th February - The Newsagency, Sydney with Brendon Moon

11th February - Whammy Bar, Auckland, New Zealand with van der Wel and Fables

16th February - Wunderbar, Lyttelton, New Zealand with Holly Arrowsmith and The Lucky Lost