What is your name?
My name is Ally Cribb.
What is your genre of music?
I’d say I primarily fit into the pop genre, with a strong country influence in terms of songwriting. I love the storytelling aspect of a lot of country music and Nashville songwriting. I’ve also been inspired by listening carefully to the songwriting techniques of artists like Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Adele and other contemporary artists who dominate the charts with such unique creativity. I try to tell a story in every song I write, drawn from either personal experience or the experiences of people I see around me. To resonate and feel authentic, I think songs have to come from lived experiences that draw you into a moment or thought that seems familiar and powerful.
Give us a little bio of you.
I’m eighteen years old, and I’m born and raised in Canada. Although I was born in Toronto, Ontario, I spent a lot of time as a childhood in my dad’s hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia has a really unique and ridiculously talented music scene, and I think that definitely played a big role in defining my musical identity and the music I write today, especially in my song End of August.
What made you go into music?
My dad is a musician with whom I would practice and play music growing up. He brought me up in a very musical home and I always looked up to him. I watched him play piano and saxophone in different bands when I was younger and I quickly realized I wanted to experience the same feeling he got whenever I watched him play. I think in many ways, he influenced the way I write songs today and the attention I pay to detail in lyricism. He was the one who taught me that what makes a good songwriter is the ability to make every line as detailed as possible, while still finding a way to make the listener want to sing along. The listener should feel like they’re right there in the moment you’re describing. My dad is the one who inspired me to make music.
Who are your influences?
Definitely singer/songwriters like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Taylor Swift. Since I was a little girl I’ve wanted to be able to write songs like them and to stand on a stage hearing thousands of people singing the words to my songs. Canadian East coast Celtic music is also a huge influence for me because I’ve spent my summers and holidays growing up in Nova Scotia where my family is from. I am a huge fan of east coast singer/songwriters including Stan Rogers, The Rankin Family, Joel Plaskett and Matt Mayes.
Are you signed?
I’m currently an independent artist, although it’s always been my dream to sign a record deal.
You released your EP ‘Unbroken,’ tell us more about the EP.
The songs for Unbroken spilled out onto the pages of notebooks, scraps of paper and screens over the past couple of years. It has been a time of intense challenge and inspiration in my life including the sudden loss of my mom while spending my high school years largely isolated by the pandemic. Throughout it all, I’ve tried to find myself through this music. I started writing songs at age 12. Whenever I’d be going through something significant in my life, I would turn to my piano or guitar and start sorting through feelings of confusion, frustration or wonder and finding the words and music to give them expression. This creative process has been the one constant in my life. I hope this record can offer some glints of compassion, hope and resilience to anyone who needs them as much as I have. I’m incredibly excited to see Unbroken — a project that has existed for so long in my head — enter into the world. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed making it.
What is the meaning behind the EP?
Finding hope and strength in the face of adversity is a theme embedded throughout the EP. Overcoming heartache or pain – and ultimately rising above it – is the reality from which these songs were created. And it is the narrative thread the runs throughout.
What was the writing and recording process like?
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a great deal of the EP was recorded from home in our small basement studio when we first started the recording process. We also recorded in Studio 13 in Hamilton, Ontario, with sound engineer Urmas Soomet, and the Halifax, Nova Scotia, studio of sound engineer and producer Josh Kelly, both of whom are amazing at what they do.
Describe each track in two words.
Bigger: powerful, confident California: wistful, forlorn
Leave It Behind: hopeful, sanguine End Of August: reflective, longing
Love Still Lives Inside: heartbreaking, nostalgic
Halifax Time: comfort, warmth
Thirty Minutes: contemplative, helpless
Who did you work with on the EP?
It’s really lucky that I’ve gotten to work with my dad to make this EP. As a collaborator, he’s always understood and respected my creative vision. Together, we also spent time in the studio with two incredibly talented sound engineers, Urmas Soomet and Josh Kelly. Urmas is a calm, reassuring, steady hand who patiently guided me through my first experiences recording vocals in a studio. Josh is a mixing/mastering/production whiz who brought each track to life. I actually met him by chance a few years back at an open mic night in Halifax, never imagining at the time that he’d play such a big role in the creation of my first record.
Will we see a music video for any of the songs off the EP and if so what can we expect from the creative process?
Yes, which is super exciting. There is a music video underway for California, the second track of the record. I created it with the incredibly talented Hoppy Hopkinson, who also shot the music video for Bigger, which is now at almost 50,000 views on YouTube. I love his creative vision. He just has the ability to hear a song and immediately see a visual story in his mind. He recently shot some behind-the-scenes videos of my musical process at home which I’m excited to release. It’s been a pleasure working with him, and I hope we can continue to create together.
Do you have any live shows or a tour coming up and if so let us know where we can catch you at?
I recently had a live show for the EP’s release party, which was held at The Dive Shop in Toronto. It was a lot of fun, and I hope to keep performing live.
Will we see any collaborations and if so, can you tell us a bit more about them?
I don’t currently have any collaborations underway, but I’d always be open to co-writing with other artists who have a similar sound/feel. I’ve only ever written alone or with the help of my dad so I think it’d give me a fresh perspective to write with someone totally new.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Five years from now I see myself having graduated university, performing, doing what I love as a living. I definitely do want to get more knowledge and insight into the business side of the music industry. I’d love to write for other artists and sell my songs.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Growing up, my dad would always say to me; “There’s many things in life you can’t control. When you walk into a room, you might never be the smartest, or the richest, or the most successful person there. You can’t control any of those things. What you can control is how hard you work. And your commitment to that work is what will distinguish you and provide a sense of meaning, pride and satisfaction at the end of the day.” That has definitely helped shape my work ethic and my belief that anything can be achieved through hard work, dedication, and perseverance.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Definitely my guitar, my capo, a few picks, a bottle of water, and some speaking notes.