High school graduation is a busy time for anyone, but for Detroit-based Blaire Alise, things are extra hectic. The garage-rock singer-songwriter and guitarist is gearing up to study at New York University in the fall, at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. On top of that, she's still recording and playing live throughout the country, including a record release show at UFO Factory on July 10.
We caught up with Alise over the phone from Nashville, where she talked with the enthusiasm of someone whose goal is to do it all and who knows she has the energy to make good on that.
Metro Times: So what are you working on down there right now?
Blaire Alise: I'm recording four songs. I'm actually working with an independent music publishing company down here in Nashville. They're called Carlin, and they have quite the catalog of artists, like from King Records, and Federal Records. It's a lot of music like James Brown, Little Willie John, and they've done stuff with AC/DC. I've just signed with them, and we're working on some new stuff, and I'm really excited.
MT: Can you talk about then the new 7-inch EP that's coming out next week? Is it different from your last album?
Alise: I don't want to sound too full of myself, but I'm very proud of it. I put some work into it. And yeah, it's different from my first album in the aspect that I think I'm definitely progressing as a songwriter, and it's a step forward in developing the new thing, you know? I'm coming into my own I feel like, so it's got some neat stuff. It's still upbeat and fun and catchy songs, but there's a newer sound to it.
MT: A lot of your influences seem to be artists who recorded 40 or 50 years ago. What got you into them in the first place?
Alise: I have always been a Beatles nerd. Yellow Submarine was probably the first album that I ever heard. My mom got it for me, because she was sick of listening to Barney, and it's pretty much all the music they've given me. They gave me the Beatles and I took it and ran and just discovered more stuff from that. And there's a lot of people that I've met in Detroit, just people I've played shows with, different bands who just are like "Oh, you gotta check this out." Just being with a band and on tour, I've discovered so much more music in the past year than I've ever heard.
MT: Is there a certain point where a song clicks, and you know you're going to record it?
Alise: Oh yes. Sometimes I'll just be doing something like swimming or taking a shower, and I can hear the entire song, and it's the weirdest thing. It doesn't happen on a regular basis, but sometimes it'll just come. Like the first song on the EP, it's called "In the Morning." I was listening to a Rolling Stones album, Their Satanic Majesties Request. It sounds like none of the songs on that album, but something about that album, like before I went to school that morning, something just clicked and I'm like, "OK, I know this song is going be good and I need to write it down right now." I'm 15 minutes late to where I'm going, because once you have that moment of inspiration, you can't put it off, or else it's not going to sound as natural. It's the weirdest but best feeling ever when that happens.
MT: Are there certain musicians that you look up to as an inspiration?
Alise: I look up to people who do things in music that don't revolve around just performing. Like, to start a record label would be pretty hype. There are some musicians that write for film, which I think is really cool, to have a lot of different aspects to your career and be able to write film scores and have a record label and have a radio station. I think any of that is really cool, just to take your performing and use it to get to another level and have even cooler stuff and take advantage of that.
MT: NYU sounds like it'll be perfect for that. You seem to have tons of options there.
Alise: I don't see myself anywhere else, to be honest. I'm really excited to learn about all the behind-the-scenes stuff, stuff that you don't normally see. I recently did an internship with Ann Delisi at WDET, and learning about radio opened up a whole new world to me. And it's still music, but it just opened so many new possibilities. Like learning about pro tools and recording, it's just opened up a whole new world.
MT: Does that mean you're going to be taking a break from this band?
Alise: Oh no, I'm only just beginning. I'm not stopping because I'm going to New York. With the publishing thing I just signed, I want to do more and more. I just want to take the opportunity in New York and not abandon what I already have. I want to use it to get to a new level.
Blaire Alise and the Bombshells celebrate the release of their 7-inch EP, Just Another Day, with a show at UFO Factory on Friday, July 10; Doors open at 9 p.m.; 2110 Trumbull Ave., Detroit; ufofactory.com; $7. Adam Theisen is an intern for Metro Times.