Indy: Your parents were both musicians, right?
AD: Yeah. My dad's a really great guitar player and my mom has an amazing voice. When I was young, they did a lot of traditional music — they were in a bluegrass band with my good friend Marie's dad. So they'd play all sorts of funky bluegrass jams. And a bit later on, my dad started a Grateful Dead cover band. But I didn't think it was all that cool — in high school I was like "Oh God! My dad's in a Grateful Dead cover band!"
Indy: So you rebelled by studying graphic design?
AD: I was rebellious in the opposite way of how most people are. Because my parents were a little more free-flowin', I took the road of trying to do really well in school and getting straight A's and that sort of thing. And my parents were like "God, Alela — why are you stressing yourself out? Why do you study so late trying to get good grades? Why don't you just go to bed and chill out!"
Indy: But you've turned into an amazing singer/guitarist on your new To Be Still solo set and The Silence Of Love from the other band you front, Headless Heroes.
AD: Well, I played a little bit of guitar in high school, and I was slightly interested in it, but really not any good at it. And then when I moved away from home to San Francisco when I was 19, I really picked up the guitar at that point and taught myself how to play. And I was teaching myself how to play by writing songs.
Indy: Was there a point you realized that music was your career?
AD: I was working at a breakfast café, and I was the hostess, so I would walk around filling up people's coffee and getting them water. And I kinda realized "Well, I'm spilling water all over people, and I'm a helluva lot better at singing than I am doing this!"
At the hi-dive in Denver, Nov. 20.
This show at Stargazers with the Charlie Milo Trio will be broadcast live on local…
This is awesome! Excited about the new music and adventures for his year!
Thanks so much!!!