Seattle singer/songwriter ALITA made her debut in early 2020 and hasn’t slowed down since. Following the release of her highly successful independent release “If I Have To,” the artist recently shared the moving and intimate visuals for her new single “Bodies.” Now signed to EQ Distribution, Roc Nation’s independent distribution company, ALITA’s music continues to find the ears of Spotify playlist curators and industry execs alike as her singles surpass thousands of streams.
“This industry is not for the faint of heart, and yet that vulnerability is essential in storytelling and making honest music,” ALITA penned recently in an open letter to young women in the music industry. It’s that same described vulnerability that shines through in “Bodies” as she sings, “Feeling kinda’ reckless when it comes to you, I’m cautious with who I give my lovin’ to, but now I’m feeling kind of dangerous.” Co-written with Jonny Keenan and Hiram Hernandez, the songwriter voices both her admitted desire and hesitation for a new love interest.
When a woman shares her deepest emotions and reality, she also creates space and permission for others to do the same. As a result of coming into her own power, “Bodies” will inspire listeners to take charge of their own narrative, also. We caught up with the Seattle-based artist to talk about her career so far, shooting the video on her iPhone, and navigating her way through the music industry.
Living through this pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way artists are creating and releasing music. How do you stay inspired and creative during this time?
ALITA: It’s hard. I’m really fortunate to have a friend/producer I’ve worked with a lot who is open to remote sessions, and we still are able to work well together on that format. It’s definitely put travel plans and new collaborations on pause, but I’ve been fortunate that I’m not an artist who was heavily relying on touring this year. I had a backlog of singles that I’ve been able to prep for release. Now I’m heading into the new project and its creation, and it’s a whole new challenge. I’m trying to embrace it, though, because it’s really just requiring me to be more self-reliant. I’m spending a lot of time alone, reflecting on what I really want to say, and that’s powerful.
Was the music video for “Bodies” created during this period of isolation – what was the creative process like?
ALITA: I filmed & edited the entire thing on my iPhone, which is pretty incredible. It took me forever. But it was fun! It showed me I’m capable of bringing a visual to life with limited resources and next to no help.
For those who may be listening to you for the first time, how long have you been creating music and how did you get your start in the industry?
ALITA: I’ve been writing since I was a child, but I really jumped into the industry with both feet these last 3 years. I had been planning on going to school for music, and for various reasons, didn’t end up doing so. I went for something entirely unrelated, and was angry with myself the entire time for giving up. Once I graduated, I dove back in. I had a little more maturity by then, and the ability to look at myself more honestly. It’s been full steam ahead ever since!
Being from Seattle, how does the city and your immediate environment influence your music or your sound?
ALITA: It affects me in ways I’m not conscious of, I’m sure. But my influences really come from artists all over the world, and so it’s not like I’m trying to emulate a Seattle artist specifically. I think the golden age of Seattle music was a little before my time.
What guides your decisions when you’re choosing new music to release?
ALITA: It’s really a gut thing. Once I’ve fleshed out a song, I usually know if it’ll be a single pretty early. I also have a lot of trust in my manager, Jackie, and her opinion. A lot of managers don’t get involved in their client’s creative, but Jackie has an exceptional ear. And she’s blunt with me. That’s invaluable.
Where do you draw inspiration from, and do you ever feel scared to broach a certain subject with your song writing?
ALITA: I draw inspiration from my life and my loved ones’ lives. I’m not consciously afraid of writing about certain topics, I think any hesitation I feel comes from not feeling prepared or ready to broach a topic. I have to let ideas come to me in their own time. Once I feel I can explore it authentically, then I dive in. But there are a lot of songs in me I want to write, but don’t think right now is the time. And that’s okay.
“Bodies” is a very empowering song for women that takes back control over the narrative of sexuality. Did you have any intentions or goals when you set out to write it?
ALITA: “Bodies” is one of those songs I put off writing for a long time. I’m almost always the only woman in the studio, and for a long time I felt like the unconscious biases in the room would affect my ability to write openly. Eventually I got over myself and wrote the demo alone in my little home studio. Really, I just wanted to explore sensuality and femininity without fear or shame. The music industry and a lot of male artists hypersexualize women constantly, but get real uncomfortable when they hear a woman herself owning the narrative. I really just wanted to stick a big middle finger to that, and have fun doing it.
What’s something that you want new listeners to know about you as an artist, or take away from this release?
ALITA: All of my releases so far have been centered primarily around fun pop music that makes you move and makes you feel good. I want fans of my music to keep that in the back of their minds as we enter this new era of my music. It’s unlike anything I’ve put out, but it’s more me than ever. I’m not losing that pop sensibility I’ve had in my current releases, it’s just about to get a little less predictable. Which I’m excited about!
Watch the official video for “Bodies” below, and follow ALITA on Instagram to keep up with future releases.