Allysse may not be on Show! Music Core, or M Countdown, yet. But, that doesn’t mean she’s not a Kpop artist. She’s American, but she’s written and produced a Kpop single – in Korean, which was released on iTunes in August, 2014. And, although she’s now independent, she was actually once signed to a Korean entertainment company and moved to Korea. Also, she’s appeared on the Kpop show “After School” with Eric Nam and San E. Needless to say, they were impressed by her singing skills.
Although, I’d heard of Allysse previously, during KCon 14, what made me stop in my tracks not too long ago, and took my breath away, was her amazing cover of Aaliyah‘s “At Your Best,” in Korean and English, combined – Konglish if you will. Amazed by her fluidity of skill, in music and language, we reached out to Allysse to conversate and understand the wellspring of her awesomeness.
GMM: What inspired you to cover “At Your Best”, by Aaliyah? And, in Korean, too?
Allysse: Well I’ve always been a fan of Aaliyah since her debut and I’ve never done a YouTube cover of her songs. Since the anniversary of her passing was coming up, I thought that’d be the perfect time to do so. So I chose to sing it in Korean because I wanted to do something different. Take an English song and sing it in Korean. No one’s really doing that!
GMM: Can you quickly tell us about you, that is introduce yourself to our readers?
Allysse: Well I’m Allysse, a San Francisco native, singer-songwriter-producer that loves K-pop!! I’ve been a K-pop fan for 10 years and can’t wait to see how K-pop changes in the next 10!! I love most genres of music from all over the world but one of my favorites is K-pop!! Some of you may be familiar with me. I won “Best Vocal” for the Bigbang Global Cover Contest back 2012, I was at KCON 2014, and last year won 3rd place in the Preliminary Round at SF K-pop Fest for K-pop World Festival Competition!
GMM:A few months ago, you flooded your SoundCloud account with some great music. Tell us about those songs. Are they all originals? And, any reason you didn’t release them as a collection of songs like in an EP or Album?
Allysse: Yes most are originals from past CD releases and some are unreleased. I’ll actually be releasing some of the unreleased songs on my most anticipated EP due later this year!
GMM: You’re also a producer, right? Are any of these self-produced?
Allysse: Yes! The only one’s I didn’t make the beats for was “Vita Dolce”, “So Wrong”, and the Aaliyah cover.
GMM:You’re pretty versatile. You do straight up RnB, some hip-hop and also K-pop. Tell us about your journey into K-pop?
Allysse: So my journey into K-pop pretty much started 10 years ago. I came across Se7en’s “La La La” music video on YouTube and from there, I became an instant fan of not just Se7en or YG Entertainment, but of the genre itself lol. Now my dream in general was always to become a singer. In my teens, I started writing songs and before long starting making my own beats. It wasn’t until 2010 where I did my first K-pop cover of “I Need a Girl” from Taeyang. I gained a lot of attention from that video and from then on, I started auditioning for companies and shows like Cube Entertainment, SM Entertainment, MBC Birth of a Star, and SBS K-pop Star. Which then lead me to getting signed in 2012 to a Korean agency in Gangnam. Never thought my dream would turn into wanting to be a Foreign K-pop star! Fast forward to today, I’m working independently with some collabs in the near future!
GMM: You’ve also got some remarkable achievements in that genre. You have a single on iTunes, and you were signed by a Korean agency. How has that journey been, and where would you like it to go?
Allysse: Well when I was signed, it was definitely a step I knew I had to take. Even though the company was small, I knew I’d still be able to learn and grow as a person and artist. I got to learn even more about Korea, the culture, the language, and K-pop! Even though I lived and worked for the company in a short amount of time, it was a great experience and I’ll always have love for the people I made friends with and the ones that showed their support!! Of course I’d love to go back!! I’m doing things on my own now so I have to prepare for this year! I’d love to be a famous foreign star in Korea some day!! I would really love to perform on M Countdown and all the other music programs!! Hopefully some day do a mini tour in Korea and appear in Korean movies and dramas too!! I feel like 2016 is going to be an exciting year!!
GMM: We now have officially, K-pop’s first African-American member of a girl group in Alex of Raina. Do you consider this an exciting development? And, any specific thoughts on her debut?
Allysse: I heard the song and music video for “Demonstrate” as well as the live performance of that song. The song is good and so is her rapping. I was expecting her to rap in Korean though. I think it’s great that a K-pop company took a chance and liking to someone that was non-asian!! It needs to happen more often and I think with time, it will! I wish that she would have been in the music video to represent herself though,since she is a member of the group. It seems more like she was just a feature on the song than a group member to me.
Update: Alex is no longer a member of Raina.
GMM: So what’s next for you? And, what are your goals?
Allysse: Well later this year I plan to go back to Seoul!! I’m shooting a project out there and I’ll later reveal what it is when the time is right!! I’m also currently providing singing lessons for anyone wanting to learn Korean songs or K-pop!! My goals for this year, is to release a k-pop song with a music video, release my 1st mini album, gain more attention and exposure in Asia and North America, perform in North America and Asia, collab with many Korean producers, singers, and writers, and finally do more dance covers too!!
GMM: How can your fans keep up with you?
Allysse: My fans can keep up with me on my blog, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Afreeca TV, SoundCloud, and YouTube!!
Here’s my links:
GMM: Anymore amazing covers… or new singles on the way?
Allysse: Yes! I’m working on new covers as well as songs for my upcoming EP due later this year!! My newer songs that I’ll be releasing, will be available on all Korean music sites as well as all North American music sites!
Well, there you have it! This is a hardworking, talented, up-and-coming artist. Spread the love!
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