We’ve all done a bit of singing in front of the mirror when we were younger. While all it comes to is looking a bit silly for most of us, for Canadian teenager Alyssa Reid singing in her room has changed her life.
After getting noticed performing songs on YouTube, Alyssa soon got scooped out of her regular life and given a record deal.
After taking the Canadian, US and UK charts by storm with her single ‘Alone Again’, Alyssa’s looking for a repeat success. Before the launch of her new single The Game, we talked to Alyssa about the new song, playing high school rugby and how having a recording contract can hurt your homework.
So, what can you tell us about The Game?
The Game is my second single, it’s featuring Snoop Dogg and although we already released it in Canada, we’ve kind of re-hashed it and done an exclusive UK version. We just filmed the video, so that should be coming out in a week or so and it’s kind of like a rebuttal to Alone Again.
What was it like working with Snoop Dogg?
It was very, very fun and he’s a nice guy, very funny.
This is the second time you’ve worked with a rapper, why do you do that?
It really depends. Sometimes they just add a whole new diversity on to track like with Snoop Dogg. I mean, it helps if I’m trying to be a bit gangster and Snoop Dogg does and amazing job of that.
How’s the reception been to the album so far?
Well, it’s not been released here in the UK, we’re going to make a few changes to it before it comes over here, but so far the reaction in Canada has been wonderful?
Alone Again was such a massive hit internationally, what did that feel like?
I think it hasn’t really set in yet because I haven’t really had time to stop and think about it because, to be honest, the song hasn’t really stopped yet. Every time I think it’s over, it gets played somewhere else and I have to go somewhere else and do it all over again. It kind of feels like I’m still doing the whole Alone Again thing and I haven’t really moved on and taken it in yet.
It’s fair to say that you’re a real success story of YouTube. How did the deal with Wax Records happen?
Well, what happened was that I’d re-written one of Justin Bieber’s songs ‘One Less Lonely Girl’ to a female perspective called ‘One Less Lonely Boy’ and I stuck that up on YouTube. Then, Wax Records saw it, and called me in for a meeting and I played a couple of songs for them. So, we worked together for a couple of months, wrote some songs and they offered me a record deal!
When you got signed you were still in high school. What was that like?
I was a very difficult thing for me because a lot of my teachers and fellow students at school didn’t really take it seriously. So, they weren’t very understanding of why I was always busy and why I had to miss school. I know a lot of people say ‘I couldn’t do my homework because I was busy last night’ but it was literally to the point where I just didn’t have time to do it because I was on tour! My teachers just though I was in a garage band performing at the local pubs.
I heard that the label weren’t too keen on you playing rugby too?
I had my first tour, which was across Canada and I was covered head to toe in bruises. They were like “You are quitting rugby”, but I’m in love with it. It’s an amazing sport, so much fun and it’s was something I was really tied to. So, I kept doing it behind their back and they kept finding bruises.
You wrote your first song at 7. What is it about song writing that inspired you from a young age?
Well, I used to write little short stories and poetry when I was younger. I honestly didn’t think I was going to have a career in music, I thought I was more of a writer type person. My poems then started becoming songs and then they started getting the structure of a song then I started using the proper techniques and studying a bit. My songs were terrible when they were seven, but they still songs.
You also taught yourself both the guitar and the piano, how hard was that?
Well, it took a lot of YouTube and started taking it school when they offered guitar classes and that was how I learned the basics, y’know the chords and the notes. I had to learn a lot of it though on my own. There’s still a bunch of stuff I still don’t feel anywhere near as skilled enough as I need to be for what I’m doing.
You’ve got a really big fan base in the UK, how does that make you feel?
I think it’s incredible. Honestly, I didn’t think anything was going to come out of Alone Again, we didn’t even plan to release it! The response that people have had to it is hugely overwhelming. That it was an interpretation of somebody else’s song and people have still embraced me as an artist is absolutely incredible.
So, how does a UK Tour compare to working in coffee chain Tim Hortons?
It’s a lot better to say the least. Working at Tim Hortons? Probably not my favourite thing in the world. Performing? Probably my favourite thing in the world!
So, you’ve also performed at a Miss Drag Queen pageant, what was that like?
It was different. I was 13 and it was such a new experience. I’d always been exposed to an open environment and with the drag pageant, getting to see how it all worked, and all the duct tape required was pretty cool.
You’ve been performing for years, did that help you at all?
I think the performances that I did before I was signed actually helped me a lot to gain experience on stage and to open myself up as I had never performed with a band before. The first time I did that, I was awful! So, I’m really glad I got to have that opportunity before I had this success.
So, what can we expect from the album when it comes out?
As far as genre goes I’d say it’s kind of a mix between the singer/songwriter and in terms of lyrics, it’s been related to a diary a lot. The comments that I get most though is that the songs are very relatable no matter what age you are. I have songs that 13 year old girls say is their life story and then my dad says that the exact same songs sound like they were written about him.
And finally, what’s next on the cards for you?
Well, I have a couple of big shows coming up right and then I’ll be going home for a little bit. Then I’m coming back for the Olympics. I’m doing a show in Hyde Park which should be increadible and then I’ll be getting on to writing the second album!
The Game is out on September 2nd and Alyssa’s first album (also called The Game) will out later this year.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith