Ali Stone Interview: Exclusive Talk With The Columbian Producer
It’s no secret that Ali Stone‘s career reached new heights when her remix of Axwell Λ Ingrosso‘s ‘Roar’ was chosen for the hit Pixar movie Monsters University. Since then, Ali has had the opportunity to work alongside the likes of Justin Bieber and Mary J. Blige. She also became the youngest film composer with her original soundtrack for the horror movie ‘Demental”. During the last weeks, she released a very strong single called “Oculto”, a real killer tune.
So it shouldn’t surprise anyone, that Viralbpm was eagerly anticipating an Ali Stone interview, in order to talk with the talented artist from Columbia about her upcoming projects, her newest track and a lot more stuff regarding her professional carreer in general.
V1. You recently released your track ‘Oculto’, ahead of your forthcoming ‘En Mis Manos’ EP. What differentiates this track from your other releases?
Ali Stone: This is the first techno song I’ve released actually, so I would say that’s the main difference with this one. Also, the vocal songwriting I did for this one differentiates from my other songs, in the way that the instrumental elements have a more protagonist presence, whereas in my past singles, vocals have been a primordial element in the construction of the track. It was fun to experiment a new approach with “Oculto”.
V2. What were your initial artistic intentions for ‘En Mis Manos’ EP? When did you start recording your EP and did you experience any difficulties throughout the recording process?
Ali Stone: My intention with my music has always been to show people who I really am and what my identity sounds like. Since I was little, I’ve been influenced by a wide range of music, from my classical piano education to 90’s pop, blues & rock guitar solos, music from my country Colombia, even the urban movement I’ve seen now that I live in LA. So with “En Mis Manos”, I want people to feel that and understand the different sounds I have “in my hands”.
I began to write my EP towards the end of last year, basically organizing conceptual ideas of what I wanted to convey in the EP. I made various tracks but in the end I wanted to cut the final 5 songs for the EP, so I’d say the difficulties lay mostly with the song selection that would tie everything into a diverse EP.
V3. Are there any interesting or even funny stories behind some days during the recording process or behind some of the tracks in particular? Do you have a secret, favorite track of your EP?
Ali Stone: Well, I tend to be very strict and a perfectionist with my own work, so I have several A,B,C mixes, masters, versions with vocal fx, no fx, haha. I’ve had to start naming my files with date and time of what I do to be able to have everything organized, especially with the mixing and mastering stages.
On the track “En Mis Manos”, that gives the title to the EP, there’s a part in the song that has a vocal cluster. For this, I recorded 21 tracks of lead vocals, backing vocals, whispering & shouting phrases. I wanted to give the illusion that a lot of people were in the room for that, so I just played around with the pitch and formant of my voice so that the cluster accomplished its full purpose, this was super fun to do.
A funny story regarding that same song (which wasn’t so funny at the time) was that when I was almost done with the mixing of the track in my Ableton session, Ableton quit. But this time, I got a warning message saying Ableton couldn’t retrieve the backup session and the project would sound “different from how it sounded previously”, and indeed, when I loaded the session, I lost everything I had done. I wanted to punch my computer in that moment, but I ended up making a better mix the second time…so I’m grateful it happened, it made me make smarter and faster choices in the second mixing stage.
I really love “Oculto”, and “Umbra” has a very clubby vibe, perfect to dance to!
V4. Aside from the release of your EP, should we expect from you anything else? Some shows, remixes or collaborations you could reveal to us?
Ali Stone: I was just in Colombia, where I’ll be back playing in July. I’ll also be in Washington D.C. and New York City to play during the summer, so be sure to follow my socials @itsalistone to know more details about those sets! As for collaborations and songs I’ve done for other people, there are 2 songs that I wrote and produced for Disney artist Jorge Blanco and Mexican artist Danna Paola, from the Netflix series “Elite”. So have your eyes and ears wide open for these two projects, which are coming out very soon! There are a couple of other productions I have for a Canadian and an American artist that will be coming to light soon as well, but at the moment I can’t spill any more details on those I’m afraid!
V5. Many artists believe that all it takes is one good hit in order to make a breakthrough. Would you say that your classic remix of Axwell Λ Ingrosso’s ‘Roar’ was this type moment for you as an artist?
Ali Stone: Yes, this was actually what turned my hobby into my career. This moment was crucial because of all the noise it generated, and I remember I would say yes to every opportunity that came with it, like composing a soundtrack for a movie, remixing more artists, playing festivals. I think having that good hit or shot is a blessing, but the real deal lies in the hustle you put after that happens, the discipline, focus, perseverance. This career is about being persistent, relentless, hard-working, patient, so that’s the secret to perpetuating the effect of a door-opening moment like this one.
V6. How was it to work together with artists like Justin Bieber and Mary J.Blige? How does this help or influence an artist like you?
Ali Stone: Both experiences were amazing! What I loved the most about them was how humble, kind and generous they were. I feel this really makes the difference when it comes to working with/for other people. I live by the phrase “treat others how you want to be treated”, so seeing they treated me as equal means a lot.
Both these opportunities helped me in the way that they gave me a lot of visibility and served as a platform to extend my music to a broader audience that maybe didn’t listen to my music before, so I’m very grateful for this.
V7. Is there any artist you really admire these days? Maybe someone you would like to work with together on a new track?
Ali Stone: I’ve always wanted to work with Shakira, who is also Colombian. That would be a dream! Recently I’ve been listening to a lot from Billie Eilish and bülow, I’d love to work with both of them as well.
V8. How do you spend your time when you’re not all about music? Any hobbies or side activities while you’re taking a break from recording or performing?
Ali Stone: I like to read at night, when I’m done with my sessions. I also love watching horror movies and right now I’ve been watching every new episode from Game of Thrones, even if it’s super late at night, haha. On the weekends I like to go bike-riding around my neighborhood, and whenever I’m performing in other cities or places I’ve never been to before, I like to go out to museums, do some tourism, try their typical food…do everything I can to get to know the culture of the place I’m in.
V9. Thank you for your time and we hope you will keep doing your thing in the future. Any final words you want to share with the Viralbpm readership?
Ali Stone: Thank you for this amazing interview! If any of the Viralbpm readers want to know more about me or talk to me, message me at @itsalistone, I love getting to know more about the people that support me. And if any readers are budding producers and want to send over something for me to give feedback on, just message me on my socials, would love to listen to other fellow producers/songwriters out there!