DETROIT PROUD: Blaire Alise
Okay, so she has her own band, her band has played the renowned Metro Times Blowout, and she was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston for their summer program – where she was crowned the winner of the Berklee College of Music Singer/Songwriter competition…twice! Oh, did we mention she has accomplished all of this by the age of 16?! Yeah, we’re pretty impressed too.
Blaire Alise is the front-girl and singer/songwriter for her band Blaire Alise and The Bombshells. They capture all of the retro-groovy rock of the 1950s and 1960s while putting a modern Detroit edge on it. We chatted one-on-one with the 16-year-old rocker to find out all about her band, her ambitions, and what she loves about the city of Detroit.
Read all about it…
Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m a musician and a songwriter. I started playing classical piano when I was four years old. I began to get serious about music when I was about fifteen and in my first band. I then started my own band, Blaire Alise & The Bombshells, because I wanted to write my own songs and do my own thing. You know, control my own destiny.
Tell us about Blaire Alise & the Bombshells…
Blaire Alise & The Bombshells has a throwback style reminiscent of 1950s and ’60s rock ‘n’ roll. I write all of the songs and The Bombshells consist of Craig Adams on lead guitar, Ian Mathes on bass, and Krystian Quint on drums. We’ve been playing around Detroit for the past year and been having a lot of fun! We put out our first vinyl 45 in May. Recently, we recorded two new songs at Ghetto Recorders with Jim Diamond (he plays the mean tambourine on the two songs). They are now up on iTunes and will soon be on vinyl!
What made you decide to go into music?
Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I can’t imagine not playing or performing. I’ve always loved rock and roll and was constantly made fun of for listening to Led Zeppelin rather than the Jonas Brothers. The other kids thought I was weird, and maybe I was. I never really cared. I decided I wanted to go into music when I started playing with my first band and took it more seriously once I formed The Bombshells and spent a summer at Berklee College of Music.
You go to Boston’s Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship?
Actually, I received a full scholarship to Berklee’s Summer Program…because I’m still in high school (yes, I know I’m young or so everyone likes to remind me!). The summer program was a great experience! I was able to perform my original songs, take interesting classes from some really great teachers, and meet other musicians from all around the world. I learned so much about music and to have confidence in myself as an artist.
You were also selected as a winner of the Berklee College of Music Singer/Songwriter Competition for your song “Nothing Left of Me to Take.” Could you tell us about that?
Last summer, I auditioned for a showcase and was selected with my song “Nothing Left of Me to Take.” My mentors were songwriters Melissa Ferrick and Sally Taylor (daughter of James Taylor and Carly Simon). This summer, I was selected again for one of my new songs called “I Got Something.” I was given the opprtunity to perform the song with a full band of Berklee students and faculty members in the Berklee Performance Center, the college’s main performance venue. It was quite an honor to be selected and to hear my song being sung by all the people in the dorms!
You and your band played the Metro Times Blowout – how was that?
The Metro Times Blowout was unbelievable! It was so cool to see all of the bands in Detroit come together to play the festival. I had a great time playing the Blowout Waltz with The Sights at the Kick-Off Party and opening for them at New Dodge! Eddie [Baranek] has been so supportive and a great mentor. I’m very grateful for his help and seemingly endless wisdom. The Blowout was a very critical show for my band and I. It was basically how we introduced ourselves to the Detroit music scene. We got a lot of exposure and new opportunities from it!
You’re so young, only 16? How do you do it all?!
I work my a** off. Seriously!
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by the past and present. In my songwriting, I try to find the balance between the simplicity and the catchy-ness of the music from the ‘50s and ‘60s and the raw energy of the music currently coming from Detroit.
What do you do in Metro Detroit in your free time?
I love going to see the local bands play whenever I can, but since 16-year-olds technically shouldn’t be hanging out in bars all the time, I also go to the DIA and Detroit Film Theater a lot. My favorite local venue to perform and see shows at is the Magic Stick. I’ve seen a ton of great bands play there, so it’s always special whenever I have the opportunity to perform on the same stage. When it comes to food, I’m very happy anywhere in Mexican Town.
Do you and your band have anything you’re currently working on?
We’re working on a music video and we have a lot of shows coming up! We’re really looking forward to playing Ann Delisi’s Listening Party in September. A full-length record is definitely in our future and we’d love to play some shows in other cities around the Midwest.
Do you also do solo work?
I occasionally play solo shows, but I prefer to play with my band. I’m definitely not the songwriter who sits on a stool and plays acoustic guitar!
What do you like about being from Metro Detroit?
My favorite part of living in Metro Detroit is being a part of the strong community here. The local music scene is awesome and all of the Detroit bands have been great to us. Having spent some time at Berklee in Boston with many other musicians from around the world, I really appreciate the music that comes from Detroit; it’s very unique. There are so many great bands around town.
To find more information on Blaire Alise and The Bombshells, click here to visit their website!