Ali Stone has turned musical heads as a multifaceted star on the rise. As one of Billboard’s five new artists to watch in 2016, she continued on to release her debut studio album the following year, Sexto Sentido, as well as open for Justin Bieber on his Purpose World Tour. Her widespread musical talent extends beyond singing and songwriting, as Ali plays an impressive number of instruments as well, including piano, guitar, drums, bass, and flute. Ali has also explored further areas of musical output, including work on film scores and movie soundtracks.
The Colombian-born native explains how the beauty and diverse elements of her home country have influenced her music, allowing her to make divergent and dynamic soundscapes. Relocating to Los Angeles a year ago, Ali found herself taking note of the difference in musical preference, and has since incorporated those newer sounds into her latest compositions. A taste of this can be explored in her upcoming EP En Mis Manos, due soon for release.
Her latest track, “Oculto” draws inspiration from her home country, Colombia, and pulls sounds from regional areas as well as the capital city, Bogotá. The accompanying music video serves up a minimalistic, black and white approach to work with the elements found in “Oculto.”
For more details on the above as well as further insights surrounding the impending EP, varying projects, collaborations in the works, business school, and what’s in store for the remainder of her year, read our Nocturnal Times Q&A with Ali Stone below.
Nocturnal Times: You have a variety of musical talents including singing, songwriting, and playing multiple instruments. What instruments do you play and do you have a favorite? Why?
Ali: I play piano, guitar, drums, bass, and flute. I’d say my most favorite ones are the piano and the guitar. The piano was the first instrument I learned to play when I was 4, so it’s been with me my whole life. Then, at 7, I started to play guitar and went into rock music, blues, playing solos from Steve Vai, ACDC, etc., so I feel with those two instruments I have the perfect balance between delicate and harsh sounds. They’re also the two instruments with which I start to write songs.
Nocturnal Times: So you’re Colombian-born but currently based in Los Angeles? How would you say your Colombian roots play into the music you put out today? Has living in L.A. changed your style at all?
Ali: Yes, I was born in Bogotá, and last year I moved to Los Angeles. I feel my Colombian roots have given me a wide spectrum of perspectives to put into music creation. Colombia is a very diverse country; we have rain forest, deserts, plains, snowy-mountains, two oceans, and they’re all just hours away. And, along with the landscape, everything else changes too, including music. So I feel being influenced by so many divergent sounds has given me different elements to make my music sound different and dynamic.
L.A. has influenced my style as well. When I moved here, I did notice the bass and hip hop culture here is much more strong than it is back in Colombia. And as I began to listen to it more often, I began to appreciate it more and absorb all the ideas surrounding those musical movements. I’ve brought some of those elements into my new music, which you’ll be able to listen on my upcoming EP En Mis Manos.
Nocturnal Times: Beyond releasing songs themselves, you’ve done a lot of work putting out film scores and soundtracks. How did you first get into these kinds of projects? What do you enjoy about them?
Ali: My journey in film scores and soundtracks began thanks to the Disney contest to make a remix for the soundtrack of ‘Monsters University.’ After that came out, a film director reached out to me asking if I’d be down to score and sound design his horror movie ‘Demental.’ And this opened more doors for me to make music for video games, soundtracks, etc. What I like about soundtracks is that everything relies on being able to convey the “script” into sounds. It’s a challenge, but it is a very creative process of finding the right melodies that will make you feel the storyline of the movie in a different way.
Nocturnal Times: Let’s talk collaborations. You’ve already worked on collaborations beside artists like Mary J. Blige, Alan Walker, Alok, and Justin Bieber. Tell us about one of your favorite collaborations and why it was so special?
Ali: Being in the She Is The Music camp in Nashville to make songs for Mary J. Blige has been definitely one of my favorite ones. It was an amazing experience to get to compose and produce for such an amazing artist, but above that, I feel what I enjoyed the most was sharing and learning from so many talented, successful, humble and down-to-earth women, like Mary J., Priscilla Renea, and Ingrid Burley. Being with people who treat you as equal, even if they’ve done a lot, really makes everything flow in the right direction, and that derives into making great songs too.
Nocturnal Times: Tell us about your recent release, “Oculto,” how it came about, and the inspiration behind making it?
Ali: “Oculto” was mainly inspired by my country, Colombia. I wanted to show the “hidden” side of Colombia that sometimes isn’t identified as Colombian outside of the country. So I included sounds from the regions of La Guajira, Chocó, and Llanos, with the underground electronic sounds of the capital city.
Nocturnal Times: “Oculto” also has a sexy black and white music video to accompany it. How would you say the video ties into what you had in mind for the track?
Ali: As for the video, I wanted to keep a very minimalist vibe, with black and white, all serving as elements of the track’s concept. I worked on the video with different designers to give it this dark aesthetic, giving it a more fashion-film-like look that still shows that “hidden” side of who I am. One of the designers for the video is a Colombian girl who makes clothing with chains, so even in those aspects it was tied to the origin of the song’s inspiration.
Nocturnal Times: You have an upcoming EP titled En Mis Manos set for an upcoming release. What would you like to share with us about this album?
Ali: En Mis Manos will have a very dynamic structure, mainly with dark sounds, that will show the different perspectives I have towards music, even in languages (English and Spanish.) The EP will have an electronic base in each song, and all of them will be accompanied by the different musical influences I’ve absorbed, even from the Hip-Hop scene in L.A. So I’d say, expect the unexpected this May with the release of En Mis Manos.
Nocturnal Times: What are one or two things you’d like people to know about you or your music that they may not already know?
Ali: I guess some people may not know I graduated from Business School and I speak English, Spanish, French & Portuguese.
Nocturnal Times: What else can your fans expect for the remainder of this year?
Ali: Besides from my EP, I have different songs I’ve written and produced for other artists that are coming out later this year, ranging from R&B to Latin Pop. As soon as they come out, I’ll be sharing them in my socials @itsalistone and my website alistonemusic.com so you guys can listen to them!
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