18-year-old pop and country star Ali Isabella has achieved so much, yet her sweet demeanor is that of the girl next door. Ali took the time to speak with us about her recent achievements and what she’s planning next!
The Celebrity Café: I first want to ask you about your single from this summer, “Taking My Own Sweet Time” It’s very bubbly and the lyrics are upbeat. I know that you co-wrote the song, so can you tell me a little bit about the inspiration for it and maybe the story behind it?
Ali Isabella: Sure! Well “Taking My Own Sweet Time” is actually just about letting life take you where you want it to. I am a firm believer that what’s meant to be will fall into place. You know, this year I deferred college because of my career so I’m kind of going down a different path than my friends. But no matter what you do, you need to work hard. Also, I wrote the song in the summer so I was inspired by the idea of a summer road trip.
TC: Yeah those ideas come through in the music video… you’re driving with the top down in your sunglasses, just having fun. Your sound is country-pop and I’m curious, being that you’re from Bronxville, NY, how you got into country music?
AI: Well, actually, I started out playing country music because that’s the kind of music I liked to listen to. I’ve just always loved the storytelling in the songs because that’s how I like to write my music and I grew up listening to that. Storytelling is where I felt the most comfortable. But actually now, I’m kind of experimenting with blues and even jazz a little bit.
TC: As you’ve said, you’ve been on this journey a while now. I think the longer you’ve been doing this you evolve and change and find your own sound. At the end of the day, you’re still a teenage girl. A very talented and driven on at that! But you’re only 18. Music seems to be your complete focus. Did you complete your schooling?
AI: Yes music has my complete focus right now. I just heard from Belmont University [School of Music] in Nashville. But I decided I’m going to take this year to really focus on my music career.
TC: That’s great. You’re certainly busy with music but you still find time to be involved with so many non-profits including St. Judes. Do you want to tell me more about your work with organizations you’ve been involved with?
AI: Well, right now I’m involved with the Creative Visions Foundation. I’m a Creative Activist and global youth ambassador for the foundation. They’re based out of Malibu but they’re opening an office soon in New York. So I’ve been spending a lot of time with that. It’s in memory of Dan Eldon, the son of the founder and chairman Kathy Eldon. He was a reporter who was over in Somalia when all that chaos was happening over there. He was only 22 when he was stoned to death by an angry mob… just really terrible. But it’s really a great foundation that Kathy created to carry on her son’s memory. The mission of CVF is to help others like Dan use media and the arts to create meaningful change in the world around them. I personally use my music to create change and inspire others around me. I wrote a song for the foundation called “All of My Life.”
TC: Wow. It is incredible that you are able to be apart of such an amazing foundation. So aside from your involvement with charity and recording/performing music, I understand that you are very interested in the business side of music as well. You have your own music publishing company. What kind of work is involved in that?
AI: My music publishing company is in control of everything that involved my music whether it’s my music videos or putting songs on i-Tunes. I think it’s really important to be in control of all that.
TC: I know that this summer you were involved with Cirque Musica. It’s a really extraordinary performance experience where the audience sees renowned circus acts along with outstanding musical performances, yours being one of them! Can you talk about what that was like for you?
AI: Yeah, I was a part of Cirque Musica towards the end of June for two weeks. It was really interesting how they have an orchestra and crazy acts. I just remember being backstage thinking about how I went to the circus when I was younger. Being a part of it made me really appreciate the crazy stunts these people can do. I don’t know how they do what they do. I’d get so nervous for the people on the high-wires! But yeah I performed two songs in the show written by [Tony Award winner] Debbie Gibson and when I peformed I had all these crazy acts going on around me.
TC: That is incredible. I want to ask you about how well you’ve done overseas. I know that your last album “Say You’ll Be Mine” did really well over in the U.K. And it’s certainly worth mentioning that you are the youngest artist to ever peform in the famous “Wembley Arena” when you opened for country legends Lonestart and Reba McEntire. You must have been so honored. What was that like?
AI: To tell you the truth, I just remember going on stage, and coming off stage (laughs). It was so exciting but such a blur. What I didn’t realize was playing for such a large arena, you can’t really see the people in front of you! But yes, I was so lucky and honored to have that experience.
TC: That’s crazy! What a milestone in your career. People a lot older than you have not had that opportunity so it really just goes to show how talented you are.
AI: Yeah, I am so grateful.
TC: You seem like such a sweet girl! Both your music and your image are charmingyou’re your relatable. So I’m kind of curious what your thoughts are on artists who aren’t much older than you. Miley Cyrus for instance has recently adapted a rather hypersexual image. What do you think about that? Or does it not even faze you?
AI: Well me, for sure, I wouldn’t do that. (laughs) But I totally see how she was able to do that in her career. For me, I don’t see myself going down that path in my career. In my music, I focus on that older style of storytelling. I don’t think I could do that.
TC: I definitely feel like your image works for you. This is genuinely who you are and it shows through in your music.
AI: Yeah, I generally am just a really bubbly, happy person. I can’t see myself changing that.
TC: And you definitely shouldn’t change! Keep doing what you’re doing Ali. You have worked with for so many different people. Opening for big names, headlining 2 pre-Grammy parties, amongst other achievements. Do you ever get intimidated or even just start struck with these renowned artists that you’ve worked with.
AI: Honestly, before this all became usually, I’d feel a little stress before I’d meet them but once we got to working you’d find that they are all just normal and very kind. I’ve had many memorable and great experiences.
TC: Lastly, what upcoming projects are you most excited about right now? Anything that you’re doing that you are really excited about?
AI: I’m about to start working on my second album soon and that should be out a little after the holidays. I’m really excited about that because my last album came out when I was 16 so it’s been about two years.
TC: Well, I can assure you a lot of people will be excited about that! Given that you’ve grown so much since they, we cannot wait to hear your new music. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. You were just as nice as I imagined you to be!
AI: (laughs) Aw, thank you!