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’s very proud of her self produced sophomore album.
When she was ready to record that album, she wanted to do it right – but, like most of us, had budgetary constraints 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 worked with Apple Expert John Rhone, whose music credits include Marvin Gaye, Queen Latifah and MC Hammer, on weekly One on One Apple consultations to learn the program. “Without that service and John’s expertise, I would never have figured out the program in the short time 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 performances.”
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 style.
“My songs never would have received that much thought and depth, had someone else produced,” she said. “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 magic.”