"Alyssa Bernal drew influences from Jason Mraz and John Mayer." - Interview

A few years ago, Alyssa Bernal was a typical high school student in Texas. Now, the singer-songwriter is touring with Lifehouse and bringing her music (which ranges from acoustic ballads to jazzy and soulful danceable tracks) to audiences across the country. If you haven’t yet heard Alyssa Bernal’s name, you will in the future. Her lyrics are instantly relatable, and her soothing, yet powerful voice, is unforgettable. Originally a YouTube sensation, she recently released her first EP, and plans to release her first full-length album early next year.

I recently had the chance to interview Alyssa Bernal after her set at the Fillmore, Detroit on November 8, 2010.

Q - You’re currently on your first tour, and since we’re sitting here, on your tour bus, I’ll start out by asking you how the tour has been going?

A - It’s a lot of fun! I’m not tired as I thought I’d be. I eat a lot; I sleep a lot. It’s a lot of fun, going from city to city, performing for new faces and getting people to have an interest in a new artist. It’s cool winning over crowds. That’s the best part!

Q - How has your life changed in the past few years?

A - I’ve definitely changed as a person. I’ve always been shy, and I’m still shy, but I’ve grown so much in a small amount of time. I’m definitely most confident. I’ve molded myself as an artist in the past year, and I’ve gotten to know myself more.
Q - Your songs are deeply personal. Can you talk about your writing process?

A - I usually have to be really inspired in that moment. When I’m inspired, I write lyrics and concepts down. I think of a chord progression, and I write the music first. I think of melodies, and then I write lyrics to them.

Q - Are there particular artists that influence your work?

A - Definitely. Jason Mraz is a huge one! His genre is kind all over the place, and I think mine is too. John Mayer. Corinne Bailey Rae. I lean more toward acoustic, soulful stuff.



Q - If there was one person you could do a duet with, who would it be?

A - Jason Mraz, or lately, Taylor Swift because I think we have a lot in common.

Q - You started your career by posting your music on YouTube. How do you think that site influenced where you are today? And how do you think YouTube and other social networking sites can help artists get their music out to the masses?

A - I think people want to hear how other people cover songs and change them up a little bit. They want to discover new artists for themselves. They want to tell their friends about ‘this new girl on YouTube who plays guitar.’ I think it’s exciting for most people. People get discovered left and right on YouTube. When people come up and ask me for advice, I tell them, “It won’t hurt to put yourself up on YouTube and MySpace.” I wasn’t trying to get discovered on YouTube, but it looks like that’s what you have to do nowadays.

Q - You have an EP that’s out now. Do you have a full-length album coming out soon? What can fans expect from you in the future?

A - I do! I believe it should be out early next year. Like my website says, it has a summery kind of sound. It’s pop, but you can expect a funky, soulful sound with a little bit of jazz. If you look through my iPod, a lot of my influences are there: the jazz part is from Jamie Cullum, the soulful part is Joss Stone. It’s kind of all over the place. The writing is very honest and very na├»ve. If you listen to the lyrics, you can tell I was experiencing things for the first time in my life. There are a lot of songs people can relate to.

Q - Is there anything you’d like to add that I haven‘t covered?

A - I love touring! This is a completely new life for me. It’s nothing like what I expected. I am busy, but I love tour life. My brother is my drummer. I grew up in a music-based home, so my brother came along for the ride.

Q - It looks like you have a pretty sweet place here.

A - Yeah, this is supposed to be an older model bus, but it’s still so cool to me. It’s awesome and like a playground.

Q - Thank you for coming to Detroit and sharing your music with us. And thanks for doing the interview.

A - My pleasure. Thank you!


BYLINE:

Kate Brindle is a stand-up comedian from Ann Arbor, MI. For more information and for tour dates, visit her at http://www.katebrindle.com/.
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