INTERVIEW: Singer-Songwriter Jamie Alimorad

Hi Jamie, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’m doing well! Thanks for having me.

Can you talk to us more about your upcoming single “Not Ready To Say Goodbye”?

“Not Ready To Say Goodbye” is the lead single off my upcoming album This Is Tomorrow Calling. It’s an uptempo pop song, with a seductive vibe. I’m absolutely in love with the lead electric and nylon string guitar. It gives a Latin feel that enchants you and the chorus hits with a big drop and harmonies.

Did any event, in particular, inspire you to write this song?

I wrote the song as an exercise. I wanted to do something with subtle key changes, something you don’t hear too much in pop music anymore. I had the title “Not Ready To Say Goodbye” in my notes for a month or two, and after playing with two guitar riffs I came up with a melody where the title fit. The rest came from there.

I wasn’t inspired, so to say, at that moment by anything, but I had gone through a breakup within the year, so there were probably some feelings that I hadn’t tapped into yet that came out in the song.

Any plans to release a video for the track?

Yes! I absolutely love the music video we made, and I’m proud to say I directed it. I took inspiration from Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain” and Richard Marx’s “Beautiful Goodbye” videos, respectively, to capture a vibe and filming style. Courtney Harris co-stars in the video with me, and she was a pleasure to work with.

The single comes off your new album This Is Tomorrow Calling – why taking so long on releasing this material?

Believe me, I never intended for this to take so long. Back in the fall of 2014, I made a verbal agreement with one of my musical idols, Gino Vannelli, to produce my new album. We agreed to do a four or five track EP, and I launched a Kickstarter to raise funding. At the completion of the Kickstarter, there were pre-production meetings and talks with labels, and we came to the decision that doing a full-length album would be best. That brought on a new challenge of raising even more money.

We recorded a song off Gino’s 2006 album, These Are The Days, called “Rock Me To Heaven”, one of my favorites, to serve as a promo single, that I then took around and pitched myself to private investors. It took a year and a half, but we were finally able to have the funding and go back into the studio to finish the album.

How much did time serve as an advantage?

Well at the moment, watching the days, weeks, and months go by did not feel like an advantage at all. In that time I wrote about 36 songs, and as I sent in the demos that I was recording at home, Gino would give me his feedback. He called me out to his studio to go over the 9 we picked to begin arrangements. Just before I flew out, I sent him two cuts I wrote within a week; “Lucky Me” and “You Are My Home”, which we would later rename “I Am Home”. He loved these two songs. So much so, that he told me it raised the bar for the album and the other songs that I had written no longer measured up. It was frustrating, to say the least, but the way he pushed me brought out things I didn’t know were in there, including “Not Ready To Say Goodbye”.

What’s the story behind the title?

“This is tomorrow calling” comes from a lyric in my song “Brighter Days”. Its personal meaning is about looking to the horizon. While I was working on this album, my entire life changed. My family, my friends, my love life, everything got turned upside down from when the project started. Sometimes I felt so lost and so stuck that I felt like a shell. One day I saw a sign, and it had that message, and it stuck with me. It was as if a higher power was telling me that I have control of my destiny. It became my rally cry for the project, and I knew rather quickly it would be the title.

How were the recording and writing process?

Man, where to begin? This was the most intense, critical, high-pressure music situation I’ve ever been in. Gino is unlike any other musician. He can do anything and everything, and he expects you to keep up with him, which is no small task. He was brutally honest about my writing and my performance, and as our working relationship grew, we really got in a groove. From the very beginning, he told me, “You’re very good, but you can be great. You can be this generation’s, Frank Sinatra.” Why wouldn’t I want to be that?

Every lyric, every rhythm, every beat was under the microscope. There is not one moment on this album that does not have a purpose. There is truly no filler, no fluff. It’s authentic, it’s real, and it’s incredible.

What was it like to work with Gino Vannelli and how did that relationship develop?

I love Gino. He’s my Mr. Miyagi. I’ve also looked and listened to music differently from most, but now it’s on another level. Sitting side by side with him in the studio was the greatest learning experience I’ve ever had. I’d like to note, his brother, Ross Vannelli, produced and arranged “Not Ready To Say Goodbye” and “Brighter Days”. Ross is an incredible songwriter and producer who has worked with the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, Richard Marx, Take 6, Kanye West, among many others. We felt those two songs needed something different, and Ross took the reigns and absolutely nailed it!

I began working with Gino in 2012, in his Masters Class, The Art of Voice. We clicked very quickly and a student/mentor relationship blossomed.

How much did he get to influence the album?

Gino’s DNA is all over the album. I love that. It never takes away from my songwriting, it never loses the core of my tune. That’s when you know it’s a great relationship. It’s funny, I remember listening to These Are The Days back in school and I told a friend one day, as I was trying to find my footing as a young songwriter, that this is the style I want to do. That vibe is so present in This Is Tomorrow Calling, and reflecting back on that moment, it’s funny how life works.

Would you call this a departure from your previous musical work?

I would. My self-release EP and LP from my college days are much more pop/rock, power pop. This one has more of contemporary pop, adult contemporary, funk feel. Gino loves fusing genres, and I’m not shy to do it either. It’s a more mature album musically and lyrically than anything I’ve done before.

How did you get to balance your classic roots with your much modern influences?

The goal from the beginning was to examine the classic singer/songwriters; James Taylor, David Gates, Carol King, etc. I’m constantly studying music and recordings, but I tried to dig even deeper. I’m not particularly inspired by modern songwriters but can appreciate certain recordings. To me, the best songwriters are from the past, and I distinctly remember breaking down Gino’s, Sting’s, and Peter Gabriel’s material just before I got on a roll of writing songs that made the cut.

What role does Harrison play in your music?

Harrison, NY is my hometown, and will always hold a special place in my heart. All my first performances, my first band, my first musical, all in Harrison. The demos for this album were recorded in Harrison, and many of the people that backed the Kickstarter are from Harrison. The dichotomy with this album is that while I was reflecting on my past, it was time to move forward. You hear that message in the music. Most of the autobiographical moments from this album are straight out of H-Town.

What aspect of your life did you get to explore on this record?

Everything. Gino would not let me do anything but. I revisited so many moments and feelings that I had long buried. I searched every corner of my heart and soul. At times, it was brutal, especially when you put every ounce of you in a song, and you’re told, “It’s not good enough.” Oh! You just feel terrible. This Is Tomorrow Calling really touches on everything Jamie. Each track is me, in one way or another.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I read a lot of poetry while writing. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Walt Whitman, William Wordsworth, Robert Frost, just to name a few. Art also took hold of my creative juices at various points, particularly Renoir. French Impressionism musically and artistically struck a chord with me while creating.

Any plans to hit the road?

Absolutely! I’m hard at work at putting a package tour together. I have a new band, with some incredible musicians! I’ve been doing some stripped down shows in LA, but cannot wait to get it plugged in and playing across the country.

What else is happening next in Jamie Alimorad’s world?

“Not Ready To Say Goodbye” drops May 31st on all digital platforms and stores, This Is Tomorrow Calling releases in September. I have a project with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for my song “Brighter Days” that is very exciting, and very much a community effort, that I can’t wait to share the details with as we get towards summer. I have plans for a lot of music videos. The lyrics are so vivid, and from the get-go, Gino told me to imagine each song as a three and a half, to four and a half minute movie. I would love to make that happen for each song.

Watch the music video “Rock Me To Heaven”

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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