This Is She
Music is always evolving. Rock was born from the belly of Blues. Techno hatched from sinuous innards of disco. Rap burst from the loins of Funk and Rhythm and Blues. Music continues to evolve, marrying textures and sounds that could be considered strange bedfellows at first blush but turn out to create a sound that is at once fresh and familiar.
This Is She is a band that is ushering in the next phase of rock-meets-electronica with their debut EP, Nobody Is OK. Made up of three dynamic musicians, Alana Grace (vocals), Ryan Folden (drums) and Christian Paul Meadows (guitar), This Is She takes the muscle and twang of rock and blends it with the electronic synth lines and thunderous dubstep percussion. These elements conspire to create a wall of sound that throbs with intensity.
Holding it all together is Alana Grace, a woman with a soaring, powerful voice that she wraps around gritty, passionate lyrics. Grace comes by her style of singing and writing based on some pretty stellar influences. “When I was growing up my main inspirations were Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, and Alanis Morissette,” she explains. “I love their fearless styles and their abilities to sing both soft and sweet and loud and raging. I now still love listening to interesting and good singers that are popular like Adam Levine or Ellie Goulding, but my formative years were spent with other greats like Steven Tyler, Janis Joplin, and Paul McCartney.”
This Is She came together after the trio met while performing at Warped Tour 2009.
With that pedigree as her inspiration, it’s no wonder her lyrics are actually about something. The perception with electronic-based music is that it is heavy on the bombast and light on content. Not so with This Is She. “Our music tends to follow the feelings I am having about the world around me and my relationships at the time,” explains Grace when talking about the impetus of her songwriting. “I tend to think of titles that I’d like to write songs to just from listening to conversations or from topics that come up all the time,” she says of her process. “I then write melodies, and finally the lyrics have to fit the phrasing and feeling of the already finished song. It all seems to come together in odd ways, and sometimes you find that your mind almost forecasts the future in your songs.”
Of course before the songs came along, there had to be a band. The members of This Is She came together after the trio met while performing at Warped Tour 2009. Grace was looking for a new direction musically and a new project to start. Folden and Meadows turned out to be great creative cohorts. The pieces were in place all that was needed was a band name. That proved to be one of the more challenging aspects of their plan. “We had a 22-hour car ride to Austin, Texas in which we threw out name after name,” Grace explains of the origin of their moniker. “On that car ride about 20 hours in I got a phone call from someone that didn’t know me. When the woman on the phone asked if Alana was there I answered, “this is she,” and everyone stopped and looked at each other. For some reason it hit us and totally fit what we are about. I wanted to start this band as an expression of a different side of me, a sort of alter ego. So the name This Is She really is a reminder that underneath everything, this band is about showing the daring side of yourself and reconciling the person you are with the person you want to be.”
“Adding dubstep elements and an electronic base to rock music…opened up so many doors in terms of our creativity.”
Creating their hybrid sound was more organic than one may think. It flowed quite naturally from each of the members and their own musical tastes. “All of us have been traditional rock music fans and in bands that played more traditional style rock music all of our lives,” Grace says. “When we decided to become a band and find our own style, we found that we often missed the energy and exploratory nature of electronic music. Adding dubstep elements and an electronic base to rock music seemed like a natural step in combining all of our personal musical tastes together. It also opened up so many doors in terms of our creativity by allowing us to go outside of the traditional rock confines in terms of songwriting. It’s been an interesting mixture to play with when writing and recording, and I feel it has really lead us to creating a sound all our own.”
This blend of sounds has spawned some very unique and powerful tracks included on Nobody Is OK. One standout is Grow Up. It starts with an electric guitar twang then cascades into pulsing waves of pounding percussion over which Grace’s voice soars higher and higher. It’s powerful and hypnotic. Brace Yourself is a swirl of distorted sounds, trippy beats and breaks filled with Grace’s urgent voice warning “Up ahead I can see it coming, take your shot I will overcome it…” then with a click-and-boom, the song launches back into the storm of electronic push-pull.
Creating a musical hybrid can challenge audiences. However, This Is She has found ears—and minds—have been open to their sound. “We’ve been surprised at times to see what types of fans like our music, but I think our core audience is the indie rock audience, Grace observes. “You still have to love rock music and rock shows in order to follow us and like what we do so rock audiences still seem to respond best.”
With one foot planted in indie rock and the other tapping electronic beats, This Is She is about to set off on a journey that is sure to surprise and delight music fans looking to grab on to something that is at once familiar and fresh. Ladies and gentlemen, This Is She.
Tags: Adam Levine
, Alana Grace
, Alanis Morissette
, Andrew Vail
, Brace Yourself
, Christian Paul Meadows
, Ellie Goulding
, Grow Up
, indie rock
, Janis Joplin
, Joni Mitchell
, Laura Nyro
, Nobody Is OK
, Paul McCartney
, Ryan Folden
, Steven Tyler
, This Is She
, Warped Tour