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What got you into writing music and when did you start singing and playing guitar?
Ever since I was in elementary school I have been a lyric writer. I believe one of my first songs was about my dog, Buster, in second grade. In high school I wrote a bit with some friends I formed a band with and a couple other friends for short periods of time. I learned my first basic chords on guitar when I was 18 and have written songs on my own ever since. I remember it taking a bit of time to learn how to play and sing at the same time. After a while I put together my first shows where I was living in the Arlington/Marysville area North of Seattle, invited some of my musician friends to join me and many times used the shows as a way to raise funds for different charities.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
This is always a tough one, but the first that always comes to mind is Eric Clapton. Definitely Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Imogen Heap, too many to mention. 90’s Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morissette were definitely influential early on and on my voice.
How would you classify your music? Is there a genre that you identify with?
If singer-songwriter is an actual genre, but since it’s not really very descriptive I would say Acoustic Folk. Which isn’t all that descriptive either, I guess.
What is the song making process like for you? Do you start with a melody, chord progression… write your lyrics first?
For a major portion of my songs the lyrics come first. I get song ideas and develop their stories. Sometimes doing a lot of writing or journaling to narrow down to just a few lines. Other times I start with a chord progression I like and allow some words to pop into my head and follow the story from there. I enjoy trying something new with each song, so in my next songwriting sessions I will most likely try starting from a melody or rhythm.
Do you ever get writers’ block? If, so, what do you do in these situations?
I have come to believe that writer’s block isn’t actually a thing. It’s more allowing yourself to get stuck and thinking that you need to wait to have an epiphany or inspirational moment. If you sit down and write whatever every day you’ll come up with something to work with, even if the majority (or all) of it seems like crap. You’re just kind of getting that crap out of your brain to get to the good stuff. Not that I’m super disciplined and write every day. I aspire to though and remind myself that if I’m feeling something similar to writer’s block it’s really me just not putting in the work.
What was the inspiration for your latest album? What do you want people to feel when they listen to it?
I was more deliberate about my song choices for my latest album, the Jade EP, than I had been in the past. They ended up mostly being songs that I fingerpick, have a positive upswing in them (if you can hear it), and felt like my strongest of a handful of songs that I had written in the last few years.
I’m hoping my album leaves listeners feeling hopeful. If they find something relatable or familiar in the songs, that’s a nice connection.
Plans for a new album?
I have plans to write as much as possible this year, which will hopefully result in forming a new album in the next year and a half or so.
What advice do you have for any aspiring musicians out there?
Be open to learning as much as possible about your instrument, music, writing, whatever is is you want to be really awesome with. You’re never done learning but at the same time, get out and share what you have now! Even if you don’t feel quite ready. You only get better with experience.
Is there anything else you would like the readers of Audio Assemble to know?
Not sure! I hope to meet some of you someday – you can find me on facebook, sign up on my mailing list or on my website! www.allisonpreisinger.com