Move over boys—Allie is here. In a scene that’s dominated by male artists, including the likes of The Weeknd, Dvsn and Majid Jordan, Allie is making a name for herself as a much-needed female voice in Toronto’s R&B community.
Born and raised in Toronto, Allie grew up on jazz, reggae and soul. Her early influences and multicultural background (she’s Irish, Italian, Jamaican and Chinese) inspired her debut record, Nightshade, which is an eclectic mix of soulful ballads and synth-infused tracks—including a song with fellow Canadian cool girl Charlotte Day Wilson.
Apart from an addictive sound that makes you want to groove, Allie has a swoon-worthy fashion sense (just peep her Instagram if you need further proof and check out her killer mint-green jumpsuit). FLARE met up with the up-and-coming artist to talk about being a woman in the male-stacked music industry, how lucid dreaming affects her work and what famous sisters inspire her style.
We’re officially obsessed, and soon you’ll be too.
Your official debut, Nightshade, just came out. How would you describe the record?
It’s eclectic, experimental soul music. I have so many different influences that I can’t really define it as one genre, but I really don’t mind when people call it R&B. I love R&B and I’m super by inspired by R&B, so I’m totally cool with that.
The music video for your single “Bad Habits” is set in a whimsical forest and has an incredibly dreamy vibe. How did you develop the concept?
I gotta give it up to Mark Martin, who directed it. We worked on the concept and really wanted to create this kind of alternate universe and otherworldly, magical vibe. I have lucid dreams a lot, where I know I’m dreaming and I’m in control of the dream. I get a lot of inspiration from my dreams, and I try to infuse that into my work. I love images that can translate a sense of peace to the viewer, so that’s what I go for with everything that I make.
As an artist, do you feel like you have a responsibility to convey larger messages—whether they be political or cultural—through your work?
For sure. With this album, I was really focused on feminine divinity as a big inspiration, and I’m really trying to speak out more about gender equality and female representation in the industry. This is a super male-dominated industry and I’d love to see more women in positions of power.
So do you feel your experience as a woman in the industry differs from a male’s?
Absolutely. I think that there is an imbalance, and I think everyone in the industry right now really needs to focus on trying to correct that imbalance. Promoters need to make sure they are booking equal parts women as they are men. It’s the little things like that that will make a huge difference going forward. I would describe myself as a feminist, and to me, being a feminist means that you want equality. Simple as that.
How has your multicultural background shaped your musical style and personal identity?
I was exposed to a lot of different things, culturally, growing up, and I was raised to be really open to all types of people, music and food. I think that translates to my music in the sense that I love making eclectic music and making whatever I want. I don’t feel confined to one genre.
You’ve worked with Charlotte Day Wilson and other local artists like River Tiber. How would you describe Toronto’s music scene?
The scene in Toronto right now is really coming together; everyone is working together. There used to be more separation, more “every man for himself,” but right now it feels like a family vibe. Everyone knows each other, and is supporting each other, and there’s a lot of love in the mix which is really cool.
Who do you look to for style inspiration?
I really love the Quann sisters. They’re my top fashion-forward inspiration. (Editor’s note: Cipriana Quann and TK Wonder are identical twins, models and lifestyle bloggers for Urban Bush Babes—an outlet for natural hair and beauty.)
Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years?
I love to travel and explore different places—and I love eating different foods from different cultures. I see myself travelling and making new music. I see myself performing shows all over the world.
What’s one place you would love to go?
I really want to go to Japan. I’ve never been to Asia, and I’d love to play a show there.
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