In a world of robotic, studio produced pop
acts, where talent doesn't necessarily apply, Alicia Grant just
doesn't fit in. She's a talented independent pop/rock solo
artist, whose music encompasses radiant, hook driven pop songs with
world beats and electronic undertones. And, as an L.A based songwriter
and musician, she just released her self produced sophomore album.
When she was ready to record that
album, she wanted to do it right - but, like most of us, was
low on cash and found it near impossible to enlist help, in a
declining economy. Without buckets of cash, no one seemed interested.
"Everyone was busy trying to stay afloat," Grant says, so even
though she had only been playing guitar a few short years, she
reluctantly investigated recording her music, on her own.
In an attempt to keep costs down, and do
what she knew she was capable of, she set out with a basic intention
- create and record a simple acoustic album. Just her and her guitar.
However, the final result on her new release, "Moon Over
Mars," is a very long way from simple.
On a trip to the Apple store with a quest to learn the
basics and advanced capabilities of the industry standard music
recording software, she was completely turned around by
Apple Expert Andy Lara, an accomplished musician himself, who gave her
a demonstration of the Apple software, Logic Studio. It changed the
entire course of her album.
She later hooked up with Apple Expert John
Rhone, whose music credits include Marvin Gaye, Queen Latifah and
MC Hammer, for weekly One to One Apple consultations to learn the
program. "Without that service and John's expertise, I would
never have been able to figure out the program in the short time that
I did." she said, "I was actually hoping John would
help me produce. We even had several meetings early on, over dinner,
and scratched out a simple contract, but John was so busy
with work and personal events that it never worked out."
"Looking back," she reveled, "it's obvious I was
just meant take on the entire project myself. I discovered I
was capable of way more than I realized. And, it's the most gratifying
thing I've ever done."
Listening to everything from Colbie Caillat, Frou Frou,
Jai Uttal, Deva Premal, Telepopmusik, Massive Attack, and A Fine
Frenzy, the creative juices began flowing and "Moon Over
Mars" came to life. Alicia began weaving what she calls,
earthy, crunchy electronic sounds between world beats, into her
catchy, hook driven songs for a sound that's very different from
her previous album.
Mastering engineer Bernie
Becker said upon hearing Alicia's music for the first time,
"Wow! This is like driving fast and eating candy at the
same time!" With energetic, hopeful songs like
"Tomorrow Is A New Day," written for
people experiencing hard times, offering a reminder
that tomorrow can bring better circumstances, to a rich and
haunting "One Of These Days" about empty promises
coming to an end, to the uplifting, guitar driven love song
"Straight To Your Heart," about connecting with your
soul mate, "Moon Over Mars" is loaded with
expressive, uplifting, memorable songs, each one different
from the next.
Fortunately, Alicia was able to involve amazing
musicians from coast to coast, including L.A. guitarist Dan
Sistos (Christina Aguilera, Toni Braxton, Paulina Rubio),
bassist Tom Witt (Enrique Eglesias, American Idol Live!,
Jennifer Hudson), percussionist Pete Corpela (The Lion King,
Alphonso Johnson, Jimmy Haslip), Pianist Carlos Rodriguez
(Eric Benet, Humberto Gatica, Juan Rivas) and world renowned
New York cellists Mike Block (Yang Wei, Yo-Yo Ma, Republic of
Strings, Edgar Meyer) and Greg Heffernan (Lee Konitz, Vijay
Iyer, Natalie Merchant), to relieve some of the pressure
of having to do everything herself.
Grant says "These
musicians are brilliant, and they all have a lot more
experience than I do. I feel so blessed that they graced my
album with their incredible talent. Each of them brought their
own unique style to the songs, and gave standout
Alicia had a vision of exactly how she wanted the album to be.
Having written and produced the entire CD herself, with the
exception of Grace, (the music was written by longtime friend
and first album producer, Dan Sistos), she was able to capture
the essence of each song, expressing exactly how she felt on
each, giving all the songs the attention and care they
deserved, as if she was building her dream home and each song
was a different room with it's own unique character and
"My songs never would have
received that much thought and depth," she said "had
someone else produced. It's a dream come true to see something
from conception to completion like this. And, the way
everything came together the way it did, felt like pure