Checking In: Alesia Lani Hermits Happily

Powerhouse live presence ramps down

“Like Mary J. Blige or Jazmine Sullivan, she invite(s) listeners into her universe,” wrote Kahron Spearman in his cover story on Alesia Lani last October for weekend one of ACL Fest. If her repeat-worthy R&B release Resilient or that top local booking hadn’t broken her out locally, Lani’s powerful set in Zilker Park surely did. Here, she pauses for an email.

Alesia Lani on the first day of ACL Fest 2019, Friday, Oct. 4 (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

Austin Chronicle: Where are you sheltering, and under what circumstances? Who else is there, and how’s that going?

Alesia Lani: I’m sheltering at my apartment with my daughter. It’s been interesting with homeschooling, but it went well! She’s 9 years old, gets her work done, and focuses. I also have her doing more journal entries as a form of expression and creativity. So, we’re staying busy and afloat. Overall, it’s been good.

AC: At what point did C-19 shut down operations for you, and what went down with the ship, so to speak, both personally & professionally?

AL: I did have a few shows cancel, including SXSW and a festival performance in the UK with the project ATX 6. I’m actually releasing a new song this Thursday and am looking forward to it! Honestly, I miss the stage life.

Live streams are cool, but ain’t nothing like singing and vibing with the crowd!

So, I did slow down and kind of low-key shut down like everyone else, but I still wanted to be productive. I always kept my head up as far as staying creative and finding the other ways to still be the artist that I am.

“I like to be secluded and creative, so for me, this quarantine has been kind of like heaven creatively.”

AC: As a global culture, people employ music for every purpose imaginable, obviously spanning religion to entertainment and everything in between. What happens to communities like ours when people can no longer access it in person?

AL: We lose our freedom to be able to express ourselves in person with other artists, unfortunately. But it’s understandable as a human race. I believe that we do need to step back and stay home, and stay safe so we can all one day resume a normal life again.

I hope that people can still find comfort in streaming services, in our livestream performances, on our social media, and any other content that, as artists, we are trying to push every day to keep you guys sane and entertained.

AC: Everyone is having to shift or drastically alter their work situation. What does that look like for you?

AL: My main source of income is music, performing specifically, so it’s really affected things, but I’ve picked up a few ways to stay afloat.

AC: What’s your soundtrack for the apocalypse, and what role does music play for you as a fan and scholar of it in times of hardship?

AL: I’m still listening to the same stuff, if not new things that my favorite new artists or current artists are releasing right now, as well as new music by my peers. I’m supporting and listening to everyone’s new music.

As for me, I’ve gotten so much more creative. I am personally a hermit. I like to be alone.

I like to be secluded and creative, so for me, this quarantine has been kind of like heaven creatively. Musically, I’m really appreciating all the self-love and the time that I’m forced to give myself, because in the regular times I found myself being so caught up and busy with everything that I needed to do. Now, I get to sit down and really enjoy it.

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Alesia Lani, Mary J. Blige, Jazmine Sullivan, Kahron Spearman, ATX6 2020, ACL Music Fest 2019, SXSW Music 2020, Checking In 2020

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