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Take Five With Alison Cecile Johns
By AAJ Staff
Meet Alison Cecile Johns:
Alison Cecile Johns is a vocalist and composer with one eye on the world of jazz, rock and ’70s R&B, and the other on an open sky of world music and electronica. Legendary composer Pauline Oliveros praised her “spiritual voice,” and she has worked with composers as diverse as Sebastian Robin Craig, Jonas Muller, and Detroit Escalator Company’s Neil Ollivierra. She is currently working on a CD titled Come Back As A Flower: Compositions of Stevie Wonder, coproduced and arranged by guitarist Mimi Fox.
Teachers and/or influences?
Stevie Wonder; Cassandra Wilson; Betty Carter; Ella Fitzgerald; Rickie Lee Jones; Billie Holiday; Chaka Khan; Bob Marley; Aretha Franklin; John Coltrane; Eric Dolphy; Jimi Hendrix; Jeff Buckley;
I knew I wanted to be a musician when…
MTV first started up and I saw Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders perform “Tattooed Love Boys.” It was like a slap to the face, a deep visceral shock. Suddenly I realized that this actually could be done; that being a musician in a band was an actual possibility.
Your sound and approach to music:
The voice is the first instrument. In this complex organ we can tell truth without words. What makes a singer great is honesty, the resonance between his/her outer voice and the inner one. While you have to do the hard work to develop technically, and establish your own point of view, the thing that takes you one step higher as a performer is in the spirit and the heart.
The point is: whatever your instrument, get out of the way and let the music take over.
Your teaching approach:
My teaching approach is to honor yourself and your true voice, to not be bogged down in comparisons, and to learn enough technique to free your heart.