Interview: Alanna Lyes – Back Around

ALANNA LYES is a British singer, pianist and songwriter. More by accident than design she became the go-to session singer and top-line writer for the Electro Swing community creating melodies and contributing vocals to numerous songs for labels including Wagram, Ragtime Records, Electro Swing Thing and Adapted. 

Hi Alanna, how are you today?

Very well, I’ve got a new single out today and I’ve just been for a swim in an outdoor pool so life doesn’t get much better… How are you? 🙂

David) I’m doing really well, thank you

For those that haven’t heard of you yet, how would you best describe your sound and who have been your biggest influences so far?

I’d probably describe my sound as Dark Vintage Pop with a sprinkle of sultry jazz and trip hop. I’ve taken inspiration anywhere from Billie Holiday to Melody Gardot… Caravan Palace to Amy Winehouse… Sevdaliza to The Weeknd… fairly eclectic, but also brought together by a lush darkness that I adore.

You also take inspiration from a variety of different genres. Can you tell us what kind of music you listened to while you were growing up?

I was lucky to be surrounded by a very musical family with many different tastes… so I grew up hearing everything from Jazz, Blues and World Music to Rock and Heavy Metal! I’ve always had a personal love for pop and electronic music though.

And what was the first album you remember owning?

I think it was probably S Club 7 as a kid!

You have just released your new single ‘Back Around’. Can you tell us how that release came about? Is there a story behind it?

This whole album is documenting finding self-worth after having very little for a long time, and re-writing a lot of my past when I didn’t feel strong. ‘Back Around’ re-imagines the times that I felt powerless to men and their sexuality, and puts me in control. 

How would you say it compares to your previous releases?

The first release in this series, ‘Disappear’ is a little different because it’s still written from a vulnerable place and is almost the turning point in changing how we view ourselves. So ‘Back Around’ is a contrast, as that powerlessness is gone. That silky smooth, sultry sound is something you’ll hear in all these tracks through..

The coronavirus outbreak has obviously affected everyone’s plans, but what have you got in store for the rest of the year?

I’ve got a couple more singles planned over the summer, and then the album is due to come out in the Autumn, which I’m really excited about. I hadn’t planned to gig until late 2021/early 2022 but I’ve been asked to play at a real festival with real people in August, so how could I refuse!

And finally, what do you hope to have achieved as an artist in the next five years?

I would really love to be able to produce all my own tracks – currently I write at the piano and enlist the help of my wonderful pal Atom Smith. I don’t really like to set uncontrollable and unattainable goals of fame and fortune… I would just like to keep moving forward, always learning and progressing.

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