Here is another interview my friends and I did on our e-zine, The Waking (which is currently on hiatus while we move to a different location), back in 2008 with an incredible indie artist, Alisa Turner. We first discovered Alisa's beautiful music on MySpace and became instant fans of her piano driven sound and very honest lyrics. Plus we were really intrigued by her tour called "Performance and Pancakes", where everyone sits down to enjoy a nice pancake dinner before Alisa performs! How awesome is that? We were really happy to be able to do this interview with her, where she talks honestly and openly about her music and her life. I think you'll be very blessed by reading this interview, I know we at The Waking were! :)
TW: Alisa, first of all, thanks for doing this interview with us. We love introducing people to great artists! So tell us how you first you started singing and performing as an indie artist?
Alisa: Well I took piano lessons as a little girl but with my father being a pastor and us always on the move, it was hard to keep up with lessons and finding teacher's. Eventually I just started fooling around on the piano by myself and discovered being creative and making stuff up and I've never stopped : } I never took voice lessons, just kind of sang all my life everywhere I went... Songwriting and singing is like that favorite Sweatshirt everyone's got, It just Fits!!!
TW: What made you want to take the indie route instead of signing with a label? And in what ways has it been challenging or rewarding?
Alisa: Well, to be honest, I never really chose it, All artist start off as indie. Some of us get picked up sooner than others and then there are some that refuse to sign and stay independent. There are many perks to staying on your own, But you still need a lot of help or it will eat you alive : } It takes EVRYTHING you've got And more to survive and have a shot at doing a dream like this. I definitely know that labels these days aren't what they use to be. Just because you get signed doesn't mean your going to do well and doesn't mean you won’t get dropped the next month. I'm very particular, But, if the right label came along with the right deal that benefitted both sides, I would most Definitely consider. This question is a little interesting, I've just been offered a record deal by Gotee Records/ Warner Bros. (Toby Macs label) But, we shall see what happens : }
TW: What is the inspiration behind your songs? Are a lot of the songs autobiographical?
Alisa: Allllll my songs so far are autobiographical. (and my what a long word : } Now I won’t say they will always be the rest of my life. As an artist, we like to create and be a story teller or even tell someone else's story. But I have to say, I never started out doing music because of my love of it or dreams of being a rockstar. I wrote because I was very sick growing up and in more pain than I'll ever be able to put into words, and writing was the only thing that kept me breathing, kept me going.
TW: We all loved "9 Verse Song", what was the inspiration and story behind that song?
Alisa: Awww haha I'm so so so happy to hear you guys liked it!!! Ya know I wrote that one night, after just being exhausted of feeling and thinking so many things that I never put into words. So...I gather all my bravery and guts and let it all out : } It was an Awesome moment and continues to be an awesome moment with each show I get to sing it at!
TW: What song is the most personal to you?
Alisa: Ummm gosh, they truly truly all are.... 9 vs Most definitely, songs about my father, but I would say one that I am most ummmm I guess protective of is Breathing. I was in so much pain and it truly was what kept me breathing that night... It was a very vulnerable moment, talking about suicide, ya don't hear that topic brought up much....
TW: I read in your blog that you recorded your EP with Don Chaffer of Waterdeep, what was the writing and recording process like? And what was it like working with Don?
Alisa: Oooo I just love Don. It was the Best so far experience of being in the studio. I didn't feel nervous or pressured or insecure, it was PArty CentRal!!!! We just had a blast and made it fun. In between each take, the most important topic of conversation was where were we going to be eating our next meal at ; } AND, I'm going back in the studio with him this January!!!!
TW: How can people purchase the EP? And are you planning on releasing a full length soon?
Alisa: You may go to ITunes to purchase it as well as attend of live show. Or you can MySpace me about it and send me in the mail your cash or check and I will mail one out to you!
TW: You've been doing a really interesting thing on your last tour, before your performance there's a pancake dinner. To sugar crazed people like us that sounds like the perfect pairing. Music and pancakes. It's such a unique and fun idea! Where did that idea come from and how have people responded?
Alisa: Well....pancakes were always a huge thing to us growing up. My dad was constantly making them for us, especially on Saturdays. After my daddies sudden passing, those memories and special things he did for us became even more special and started showing up in many songs. Then when we were planning these house shows, my booking agent suggested I throw in some pancakes to seal the deal since I sing about them and just truly Adore them and let's just say, they truly have sealed the deal. It is CRAZY how people have responded to the pancake thing. People on my MySpace will just leave me comments of their favorite kinds and stuff, its like the subject everyone's been wanting to talk about but never had the chance. And now they do : } yum!
TW: Do you make the pancakes or do you have someone else make them?
Alisa: Oh I LOVE making them, I love to cook and bake. Every now and then the host will take over, but I prefer to help if I can : }
TW: Well we just have to ask you, what are your favorite kinds of pancakes and do you have any recipes?
Alisa: Oh I'm a simple girl, a box mix is fine with me. Just Add Water : } I love just traditional pancakes, butter and syrup BUT....my other secret love is throwing in some blueberries...OOOOOO a little piece of heaven!
TW: How did you first come to know the Lord? Did you grow up in a Christian family?
Alisa: My father was a pastor my whole life, I lived more in the churches we were at than my own home. I really think I asked the Lord into my heart probably a hundred times....From Sunday schools, to awanas, to my mom sharing it with me : } But ya know, just in the past 5-6 years am I really starting to understand that it’s not a religion or hobby, it’s not about what you do or don't do. Although some things may fall into those categories, but what's most important is that it’s personal. That He is alive and well and though this world is crazy and complex, His love is simple, unconditional and beyond words.... He is my best friend.
TW: Is it hard to keep your relationship with God strong while your out on the road? And what do you feel God's been teaching you lately?
Alisa: Ummm definitely not hard to keep it on the road. He goes everywhere I go, we experience so much on the road, I love it. Ya know it will probably take another interview to really give you a back round of my life and it’s journey but real quickly, I was born with Mercury Poisoning btu. We didn't find this out until I was 24yrs old. I was so sick growing up and by last winter I had MS and early Alzheimer's. I lost any and every ability because our medical community and FDA don't want to acknowledge there mistakes in fear of being sued. In short, satan really REALLY targeted me during many of these difficult years because I was so weak and sick, I couldn't put up much of a fight. It got to the point where I couldn't even read my bible... So my mom has been reading to me and explaining things. But everyday I feel him, he holds onto me. Once we found a doctor who really wanted to find the ROOT of my problems rather than just medicating my symptoms, I am Finally recovering. I do special treatments every week. So slowly but surely I'm getting to know what life was suppose to really be all along and I’m getting to experience God as it was Also suppose to be....
TW: On the road I know you come in contact with so many young people. What is the common thread between all the stories you hear from them?
Alisa: Well wow.....I've heard sooooooooo many stories. A lot of pain is what I hear and feel but what's most common and troubling is that many and most of them don't have proper tools and support around them to process what's going on and what to do. A lot of them turn to cutting and eating disorders and much much more....They need support. A hug. Someone to listen.....
TW: What struggles have you faced that you feel makes it easier to relate to people, and minister to people at your shows?
Alisa: Well due to being sick, I experienced a lot of depression and anxiety among other very scary things. You don't hear many artist talking about such issues in their shows, it is a little bit of a downer subject BUT, these girls and guys are so desperate for real, for something and someone to relate, so they are glued to me on stage when I get to talking about that in my show.
TW: What do you feel is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Alisa: Ummm ya know....there are issues unfortunately popular like cutting, there's issues with Hollywood lifestyles that are unreasonable, BUT I really don't think those are the issues. Kids start pursuing things like that when something in them isn't being properly addressed. Perhaps bad home environment, loss and grief any many other things....And again, when they don't have a healthy home life or spiritual life and things like that, they start to feel lost and they start looking for quick fixes. Relief....they get desperate.
TW: Last question, ministry of any kind can really be stressful and challenging at times. When your trying to do anything for the Lord the enemy really tries to attack.Tell us how we can hold you up in prayer?
Alisa: Well boy o boy you are definitely right about the enemy attacking! I would just love prayer that God would continue to give me direction in healing and providing financially for my healthcare so that I can keep doing what I'm doing...
To hear Alisa's music and see where you can catch her on tour go to: