Ever since allie released her Strange Creature EP in 2013 she has explored a sound that is at once familiar and adventurous as well as being traditional and refreshingly new. Her emergence and aesthetic, rooted in soulful music has come alongside a definite sonic shift in R&B, yet she has managed to add her own inimitable and distinctive creative approach. Working collaboratively with other Toronto-area artists like Elaquent and 2nd Son who are inherently wired to push rhythmic boundaries of their own, allie has been able to issue tracks like “Cross My Mind” and the SOCAN Songwriting Prize-nominated “Private Island” that boast immediate appeal while traversing eclectic sonic paths. Having just released “I Can’t Wait,” a sumptuous collaboration with Birthday Boy, allie spoke with MNFSTO.com to discuss her sound within the context of Toronto’s creative community. – Del F. Cowie
a l l i e will be appearing as part of Manifesto at Future Sounds on Friday, September 18th with Adria Kain, Spek Won, Clairmont the Second, City Fidelia and Birthday Boy
9pm – 2am
Daniels Spectrum (Ada Slaight Hall), 585 Dundas St. E.
$20 Advance Tickets
Follow a l l i e on Twitter at @alliemoves
Since you’ve started have you noticed more of an interest from the R&B coming from Toronto?
For sure, for sure.
Why would you say that?
There’s something definitely happening here. It’s hard to define it. And a lot of people are calling it a sound. I think that’s a little too limiting a term because there are a lot of different sounds going on that are super diverse. But I think that there’s just a lot of talent here, a lot of people are like pushing and taking advantage of the fact that there are a lot of people watching right now. And I think there’s a really different feel of community for me right now where I think in Toronto where a bit of the divide on the music scene and right now it just feels like everybody is supporting each other like coming together to make some dope shit.
What are some examples of the things that are particularly impacting for you in terms of the collaborations happening in the community?
Well, like I’ve just been working with a lot of people from Toronto lately and like I’m working, obviously I’m doing some stuff with Birthday Boy. I’m working with River Tiber, there’s a bunch of different people and it feels like the scene has really opened up for me cos when I started I was working with a lot of producers that weren’t in Toronto kinda right off the jump and that was a bit tough ‘cos it was a lot of internet stuff and we couldn’t actually get in a room with each other. I was really missing that personal connection so that’s kinda been the best part of it for me to be getting in a room with people and to be actually working with close friends I can build relationships with.
So you recently dropped “I Can’t Wait” with Birthday Boy, that’s the only song you guys have worked on, right?
Yeah, that’s the only thing that we’ve put out. We’re working on some other stuff right now. We’ve both got a lot of projects on the go, but I’m working on my full length, he’s working on some stuff for that. And then as I said River Tiber and 2nd Son [who produced allie’s debut EP Strange Creature] and then there’s just a lot of people in the scene that I’m really looking to right now for inspiration and also right now that I would love to work with, like Harrison, bizZarh and it’s cool because they’re all friends so it feels really natural and organic and I think that’s a lot of the reason people are looking at us right now, ‘cos it is actually organic, you know? It’s not forced. It’s not contrived. It’s a bunch of people who are actually friends who are really supporting what each other are doing, working together and I think that makes it something special because, I don’t know there’s a genuine quality on the scene right now that probably a lot of other cities don’t have.
You’ve said there’s a lot of eyes on us right now a couple of times. What do you think has been a main contributing factor to that?
The really obvious one is the Drake effect [laughs]which everybody talks about a lot. And now The Weeknd is like making this big move. So people are paying attention ‘cos of that, but I think that it’s more than that. I think it’s not just the music scene, it’s the city itself is really growing and changing and turning into something really completely new and in all facets of the city, so I think that it’s just natural that the music scene is having this evolution and that people are like more interested in what’s going on in Toronto and also more interested in the artists that are living here and working here and coming out of here. It’s cool because for so long as a Toronto musician you really had to leave and this feels like really the first time where you can lay down roots here and do your thing. You still have to leave, but it just feels very different to me right now.