How would you classify your music?
Idalee is alternative folk rock.
Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?
Kurt Cobain and especially the MTV unplugged Nirvana performance made Idalee want to write songs. Since then, he’s been influenced by the Killers, Weezer, Tom Petty, Jack’s Mannequin and Dave Matthews Band.
What do you want fans to take from your music?
I want them to spend time with themselves in an honest place – that’s what the songs do for me. The songs I write let me marinate on issues, they let me escape reality for a bit and see things from a higher level. I hope it gives my fans some peace in that way.
I also just want to make people feel good and feel strong.
Tell us about your latest release, “Starting Now” and your video to “Heal”
Starting Now, the title track on the EP is what the whole record’s about – it’s about second chances, and being better than you were yesterday. I’ve written a lot of negative stuff in my years but this is a compilation of pretty optimistic songs. There’s some pain in the songs – especially Heal, but the record sees light at the end of the tunnel.
Heal is a special song and an even more special video. I’ve been fortunate to work with prisoners in their quest to heal – heal their own scars, the scars they’ve left on their families, and the scars they’ve left on society. I wrote the song about my work with those behind bars, and about my own journey to heal from a toxic past. I think the blend resonates with people. The video was shot in a prison in Houston, where I performed the song with talented prisoner musicians.
What do you love and hate about the Music Business in your opinion?
I had a brush with some big time players, and I gotta tell you, they were awesome. The folks I ran into that got me a demo deal at a major label (which I would later squander) were some of the nicest people I know. The people I’m meeting these days are also really great. They’re jaded yeah, but their honest and they’re just cool. I know the business is full of all types, but I love the people I know so far in the small music world.
I hate that radio’s basically gone – or at least significantly marginalized. I loved the magic of the FM airwaves- the fact that everyone could be riding the same musical wave at certain points in life here on Earth. Don’t get me wrong I love diversity in music, I just think there was something fantastical about radio that’s now lost in a sea of personalized playlists in earbuds. For the record, I’m totally part of the problem. I’m pretty exclusively Spotify these days. I wish we had “the show” that radio used to be.
What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?
Best concert I’ve been to was a Foo Fighters show in Northern VA where I patted Dave Grohl on the back.
Live shows have been high points in my life. It’s been a while since piling in a van and playing through cities, but I do miss traveling and channeling that adventure into a new exhibition each night. I finish those nights a sweaty horse mess, and I love that.
How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?
I’ve moved into the desert – the outskirts of the Phoenix area, and its beautiful. The beauty of the desert has crept into my art. The simplicity of vegetation here, the massiveness of the mountains, it’s made me a little more in tune with nature… so much so that a song on my new EP is called Tree Got Rain. Would’ve never written that a year ago. Sure it’s a metaphor, but it’s also about a tree. Did I really write that?
If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?
I don’t know if Kurt and I would get along since he was living in a dimension I no longer inhabit, I would still dine with Nirvana. I would ask that after dinner, we thrash out to improvised two chord, song-like, melodic yelling sessions. We’d cowrite a few songs that way.
What is next for you?
I’m talking to some friends about their tour schedules and live dates to line up some fun events this summer. I’m working with a buddy to get some media placements for tracks on the EP – I’d love to set the tone for a emo movie scene with “Home.” And I’ll be looking to co-write with other musicians to blend up some awesome.
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