Los Angeles based singer, songwriter Ali Stone unveiled her new sultry techno track Oculto earlier this month. Taken from her forthcoming EP En Mis Manos, Ali is a woman of many talents; production, mixing and mastering being just three of these. When Ali isn’t creating new music she’s also supporting campaigns including Women Working For Women. We spoke to Ali Stone about all of the above and more in our exclusive interview.
Hi Ali, how are you today?
I’m good! I was just at the studio finishing a couple of songs I’m producing.
Can you sum yourself up in five words?
Passionate, disciplined, hard-working, humorous, easy-going.
You’ve just released your techno vibe new single ‘Oculto’, can you tell us more about the track?
Oculto was mainly inspired by my country Colombia. I decided to include some Colombian elements, like percussions from the regions of Chocó and Guajira, an accordion from the Caribbean Coast and underground elements from the capital city. I feel these sound identities are sometimes not so obvious to what people outside from Colombia would expect and tend to be hidden deep in the roots of the country. That’s why the track title means hidden in Spanish.
Is the darker direction where you’d like to take your sound?
I love exploring both the dark and bright side of what I can make musically, but I would say the EP to which Oculto belongs will have a darker profile.
You enlisted the help of LaQuan Smith as the head stylist on your video, how did you enlist him onto your team?
He was one of the designers in this. I met him last year at a fashion show during New York Fashion Week, after which we connected with Craig Bosket, the producer, and began thinking about making something together, that included both my music and fashion elements.
The track is taken from your upcoming EP ‘En Mis Manos’, which translates to ‘In My Hands’. Can you tell us more about the recording and the release in general?
As I was saying, ‘En Mis Manos’ will have an overall darker essence, and it will maintain an electronic narrative, but each song will have its own style. There will be some dark trap, electro house, techno. The full EP is composed, produced and engineered by me, so people will get to hear exactly what my essence and sound identity is.
What inspired you to take creative control over your releases?
When I began to write and produce songs, I always pictured in my head how I wanted every track to sound. I decided to learn how to mix and master my songs to get to the point where the ideas I had in my head could translate to the real song. I couldn’t afford having somebody else do that for me, and in the end I think no one will ever work as hard for you (and for free lol) as you will for yourself. So that’s what led me to develop skills where I could control the entire creative process.
Have you hit any setbacks or challenges?
I’d say I’ve had different positive challenges in my career that have made me learn and aim to become better at what I do. One of those was when I had to learn how to mix in 5.1 for a movie I was scoring. It was very different to the usual stereo mix I’d do, but it was really fun to learn how to give my scores a different presence in space with that.
How has your experience been as a woman in the industry who writes, produces and performs? You’ve participated in the Women Working For Women campaign, and we’d love to know more about it.
Women Working For Women promotes gender equality and female inclusion in jobs that have been traditionally linked to men. I’ve always been very vocal about this because there are still some sexist stigmas around the role of women who produce, engineer, perform, etc. I remember back in Colombia I was told to not tell people I mixed and mastered my songs because it was “not well seen to have a woman do everything – that’s intimidating”. Another time I was told during a session I didn’t dress like a producer haha. I’m glad to see other people become so vocal about this as well, like Alicia Keys who had me on She Is The Music, the Women in Business Congress, among others.
You’ve recorded the soundtrack for Demental, alongside a remix of ‘Roar’ by Ingrosso for Monster’s University, but which film would you love to write a soundtrack for?
I’m a fan of everything James Wan works on, so definitely one of his movies! I also love Martin Scorsese’s films.
Have you had a stand out musical moment?
I’d say the first time I performed, which was at a music festival in Colombia. I was one of the DJs at the electronic stage, and I decided to play drums, play guitar solos and sing, along with DJing. I don’t think anyone expected that to happen haha. It was very exciting to see the reactions of the audience and the other artists at the festival.
What’s your favourite lyric on any track you’ve written to date?
Hmm I think I have favourite lyrics from each song, but I really like one from Recuérdame, which is a song I wrote about death, that says “I’ll be waiting for you where I won’t have to fight for the absence of time”.
What does the rest of 2019 hold for you?
Besides from my upcoming EP, I’m working on songs for other artists, which you’ll get to hear this year! I’ll also be present at the ASCAP Expo, where I’ll be one of the panellists along with Victoria Monet, Tommy Brown, among others. I’ll have some shows mainly in the US and Colombia…you can keep up to date with everything that will be happening on my socials, where I’m constantly sharing all of this.