Alejandra O’Leary: Crawling from the Wreckage
Alejandra O’Leary is a formidable guitarist, an impressive singer and a songwriter dedicated to venting the raw emotions most of us would rather keep hidden. On her latest album, All I Know, she dedicates herself to speaking the truth, now matter how painful it is. “Rock’n’roll is all I know,” she says. “That’s why I used that song as the title of the record. I’m not very good at many things, but I’m good at expressing emotion with my words, music and guitar playing. The phrase also sounds like gossip. This album has some very gossipy ideas and innuendos running through it.”
The songs on All I Know are primal, visceral expressions driven by O’Leary’s stirring, multi-layered guitar
attackand her passionate vocals. “I wanted to sing in my lower register, which I’ve never used before. I had to relax to reach those subtle tones, then push my voice to an almost falsetto place, to blow off the steam. The high highs and low lows intensify the drama of the songs.
“A lot of the songs are about women trying to save men from themselves. I like to take the inner conflicts I’m experiencing and turn them into characters that can play out my emotions. I was going for high drama, musically and lyrically, cranking up the drama as high as I could get it. It’s not a chilling out kind of album. It’s an amped up, pacing around at night, ripping off your clothes kind of album. I don’t play screaming music, so the intensity has to come through the arrangements and lyrics, not sheer volume. These songs are about chaos and the aftermath of turmoil. It’s about assessing the wreckage and being resigned to it, while you’re figuring out how to live with it.”
UNDER THE INFLUENCE with Alejandra O’Leary
Nature: I live in Maine. Looking at the ocean and knowing how vast it is and how much it contains, that we can never see, is humbling. Especially one a turbulent day, when it’s really rockin’.
The Smiths/Morrissey: I’ve always loved how funny and insightful they are as songwriters. They carry on a tradition I love in art - finding humor and seriousness in the same thing.
Dogs: I saw someone in a wheelchair walking a dog. Caring for vulnerable creatures makes you more human. Even if you’re disabled, you have the urge to nurture. It’s often on display in the way we care for dogs and other pets.
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