We had the good fortune of connecting with Aliek and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aliek, what do you attribute your success to?
I think mutual respect and authenticity have really served my success. It’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I’m making my own music and putting my own image out there. I’ve spent the passed decade, at least, collaborating with wonderful artists, being in bands, singing back ups and really training myself for what all of that takes; the rehearsals and long nights in the studio. I think surrounding myself with artists and friends that I really admire and having those respectful and safe environments to play and critique each other has been so important, And those same people have really shown up to support me now that I’m moving in my own direction. Having that community of friends and artists is crucial. Being a queer artist and human, growing up you inherently hide and try to assimilate as much as you can. It took most of my life to peel those layers back and start seeing myself more fully. Every day that I step closer to myself, the clearer the world can see me, and I know how important that can be for anyone trying to relate to someone through art. Its so important for me to not hide who I am, and to be unapologetically me in my art, so that someone has that example to freely be themselves too and maybe feel a little less alone in the world. Art can really influence people. Its powerful, and I’m very aware of that.
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.
When I had anxiety as a kid (of course I didn’t know to call it that then) I used to make up little songs and sing them to myself. I didn’t think anything of it then, but I think that was the start of my relation to music. It has always been something that has helped me process my feelings and helped me to heal. Music can take you far away from where you are, or give you the language to understand your feelings, even without words many times. Also from an early age I learned that the easiest way for me to connect with people was to make them laugh. I always got in trouble in school for trying to entertain everyone during class. My friends loved it but the teachers weren’t so fond. But i felt fueled by being performative and the reciprocity that exists between an audience and a performer so I found an outlet in performing on stage doing musical theater. I went to college in LA for musical theater, and while I loved it at the time, I realized that I actually love music and acting a little more separately. So I began trying to write little songs to myself again, but this time write them down and see if they made any sense. It took a very long time and a lot of bad songs to get to the place where I trusted myself to write from an honest place and without cinical judgement of my own work. I had to work the muscle that allowed me to write a work first and then go back and edit it instead of trying to write the perfect song out the gate. Interestingly enough, now that I got to the place where I don’t judge it harshly as it’s coming out, I do tend to write most of a song on the first pass. But now I don’t feel like I HAVE to, I just prefer it. I also had to come to the realization, when I first tried to write songs with intention, that I wasn’t all that connected to my emotions at least not in a way that I could speak about them, so I had a lot of work to do with myself. Learning how to ask myself what I want or why I feel a certain way, learning how to be aware of how I effect others, learning about my triggers and about taking accountability; all of that changed the game for me. I wasn’t just writing surfacy love songs, but writing about the inner-workings of my brain. Realizing again, what I knew at an early age and forgot, that music for me is therapy. And sharing that openly allows me to heal and allows people the chance to learn about themselves. That is so cool for me. Music is about connecting, and the fact that people listen to the music I made and they feel something about their own lives is magic to me. Thats the reason I do it.
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.
I would definitely take them to eat at my favorite restaurant in China Town called Lasa. It is some of the best damn food in LA (filipino inspired), and on top of that is owned by the kindest, most endearing brothers named Chad and Chase Valencia. Its a must. I would make sure to take them to The Griffith Observatory for an observatory show, because it is beautiful there, and makes you feel so insignificant in the most beautiful way. We’d have to take a beach trip, maybe camp on the beach and make a fire. I think that one is pretty self explanatory. And we’d have to finish with a trip to Joshua Tree/Palm Springs because that is my favorite place to be in LA. There is something mystical about the desert. I feel so close to nature and somehow rooted to the past. It’s kind of hard to explain, that is why I would just take them there. Also, very important, if this is a non-Covid imagining, I would take them to see live music. That is my favorite thing to do in LA hands down. We could go to one of my favorite spots; The Roxy, The Troubadour, or The Hollywood Bowl. Oh yeah, this is a solid trip
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are honestly too many people to thank, because we really are a community. I apologize ahead of time for all the people I miss. To name a couple though: I’d like to thank my good friend Mia Coleman (Artist name Viaa) for having me as part of her unit on stage. I learned so much touring with her and watching her process as a solo artist. You really have to fight for your own work, and she was a shining example of how to show up for yourself. I’d also like to thank my friend and producer Louis Bartolini (Lou Koo) who only ever treated me like a professional who knew exactly what I was doing and what I wanted, which gave me the freedom to believe that myself, and move through the experience with confidence. That man creates such a safe space for collaboration, it’s unreal. Plus their production is so fire. These songs wouldn’t exist without him. And speaking of not existing without someone; I have to acknowledge my fiance Jazz Aguon. We have been together for almost 10 years (she’s gonna hate that I rounded up but thats okay) and she has helped me in life more than anyone. I can’t stress enough the importance of a partner who really sees you and affords you the space to constantly evolve. She has always met me where I’m at while pushing me to go forward. She has been the mirror for me, to see the things I actually like in myself and the things I want to work on. I only see the whole picture because of her guidance and support. Plus she is an incredible artist with the best taste, so having someone in my corner with an opinion I trust as much as hers is invaluable. I love you baby. Thank you for being my best friend, and true definition of partner.
Other: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1i6mTxwWLa5LFVKMU7GkmH?si=rlnsntcXREO4t2qSiceVLg https://soundcloud.com/aliek-mgmt/tracks
Red Heart Media