We had the good fortune of connecting with Ali Angel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ali, how do you think about risk?
I think being a creative is a life of risk-taking, which will always come with moments of blinded uncertainty followed by moments of beaming clarity, and that’s just something we have to accept and embrace as part of the creative process. To me, risks are choices we make that are fueled by hope, optimism, and a gut instinct that these choices will guide us on the path’s we’re meant to walk. I try to follow the motto, “Do something that scares you every day” in my present life, because taking those chances has always leads me to where I feel I’m supposed to be, but I didn’t always abide by this. I decided to major in Digital Media Production in college, because I always told myself that I just wasn’t good ENOUGH to be that person who majored in music and pursued it professionally; I made up a non-existent guideline of standards for what qualifies somebody as good enough to be a professional musician, and out of fear I didn’t put myself within those standards. Yet throughout my four years at Tulane, I found myself taking sideways steps along my film path to pursue music endeavors. After graduation, I decided to fully commit to my music and songwriting as my career, which some people might consider a risk. In many ways I was starting from scratch; I had experience writing songs but not to a significant extent, I needed to teach myself better at-home recording technique and buy more equipment, and I needed to find an entirely new community of musicians, songwriters, and a band to play with. It’s been almost two years since graduation, and when I look back on the connections I’ve made, the different music I have made (my first single comes out April 9th), and the improvement I’ve made in my own craft, I know that the risks are well worth it, and that my skills and the experiences to come will only get better with more time and work. Now that I’m about to start releasing my music, it feels like a brand new risk I’m about to be taking. I’m nervous and ecstatic to finally start releasing my work, and when I question if I’m following the right path I always remind myself, this next step really scares the s*** out of me, so I know I’m doing something right.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My music is a mix of retro-soul pop and some bluesy indie-rock. I’ve got a little country americana twang and sound gelled into all of that as well; it’s hard for musicians to categorize their music into just one genre. I have a long way to go to get to where I want to be professionally, but I think one of the hardest parts of that process is deciding to pursue what you want to do in the first place; I could have been sitting at a desk doing a 9 to 5 in entertainment instead of working a day job as a mommy baby music class teacher and pursuing my music on the side, so I’m proud of myself for taking the first steps, because the uncertainty can be challenging at times. The biggest lesson I’ve learned along the way is to go with your gut. I’ve invested in certain creative decisions for my music that ended up not being right for me, and my gut had been telling me that the whole time, yet I chose to ignore the signs and go with the feedback of others or conventional standards. I’m at the point where I’ve learned to really recognize these hints and address issues or changes right as they come, rather than people pleasing, avoiding conflict, or going with advice or direction that deep down I know isn’t the right creative choice for me. In the end, your instincts are always right, and I’ve put aside some of those other projects in order to focus on the stuff that I intuitively know are right for me, like finishing up my debut single “Play Pretend”, which comes out April 9th.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ideally, my best friend would be visiting during the second week of the month, and I’d take them to the Rosebowl Flea Market on Sunday. It’s my absolute favorite place to shop in the world, filled with incredible vendors selling the best antique furniture and decor, vintage clothing, jewelry, art, everything. I’m a valley girl born and raised, so we’d have to go get the best strip mall sushi on Ventura Blvd at Cho Cho San, Shibuya, So Sushi, or maybe Kushiyu or Katsuya, or the best Mexican and margaritas at Sol Y Luna. An evening show at the Hollywood Bowl or The Greek would be amazing, followed by a fun outing to Good Times at Davey Waynes or The Echoplex for Soul Funk Saturdays, or another fun club or bar in Echo Park/Silverlake. They’d ideally be visiting during the summer too, and we could go to a summer night film screening of Cinespia or Street Food Cinema or the Hollywood Forever Cemetery with the food trucks and huge pop up screen and have a picnic and watch a fun film. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I wouldn’t be able to be taking the risk of pursuing my music career if it wasn’t for the support of my family. They’ve always encouraged me to follow my creative path and do what’s right for me. My community of incredible friends has been my cushion throughout this time, always giving me the encouragement and love I need to continue on, the feedback I need on creative projects, and the confidence to pursue this career. I couldn’t be more thankful for the awesome musicians/creatives, now friends that I’ve found so far on this journey, who are helping me bring my songs and ideas to life! They challenge me to become a better musician myself and have taught me so much about the industry, creative technique, and how valuable it is to collaborate with the right people and listen to your gut when making decisions. I’ve found the music community in LA to be incredibly supportive, open to bridging connections and super uplifting, so I’m thankful to be involved in a community of such incredible, talented, and supportive individuals.
Ben Klebanoff, Audrey Angel, Bri Caamano, Evan Myaskovsky