A conversation with ALIA about “I’m Getting Off”

Q: Hi! “I’m Getting Off” was originally written by Steven Young when he was 16 and later shared with you. Can you describe the moment or experience that led Steven to believe this song would resonate so well with your artistic vision and message?

A: Firstly he just knows me in and out – as a being, in the story leading up to it I was going through a lot of difficulties and challenges in life that were fighting against me and my mental health. My own songs come from experiences and connections in life. When you find artists who are similar in thought and process, you inspire one another and I do feel he just knew this was a song for me, to sing and heal from and more importantly heal others. I believe if I remember correctly it was within a fleeting moment when we were in conversation about usual topics, upon that moment he played the track itself then grabbed his guitar and sat strumming away and singing (in original version), trying to show me the chords and how it is played. Perhaps a few weeks, maybe a month going by I attempted on certain days to learn the song on guitar myself – but it was strange something wasn’t clicking. I remember sending recordings to him, can’t remember where these may be ha! But it just felt almost like a missing puzzle piece or taking a breath with no air… couldn’t continue or open the song? Then one day, one of our many days in the studio, might have been a while in between and we came back to this track. I really did connect with the just with the words alone, I think at that moment it just occurred. He knows me without me needing to even mutter, he got his electric guitar and played it with these Buckley notes I adore… hit record and I sat there and the vocals then just came. We simply just live jammed it. I didn’t really think or expect what was going to happen with this song and how the cover was going to be. However, it makes it that much more meaningful to have him on the electric guitar and recreate it with the man who composed an incredible iconic moving piece of music.

Q: You have a distinctive “brotherly” bond with Steven Young. How has this unique relationship influenced the creative process and final outcome of “I’m Getting Off”?

A: I think that bond is what makes that exact sound you hear (even our other tracks we’ve done together) the raw, brokenness, that final outcome you get in this song is because we have acceptance with one another. It is a rare thing found in music, in creative processes in general. How he allows the flaws and mistakes, and lengths and breaths between – very few allow that, he does teach me to get better and do better, this note sounds better here or we sit on things and ensure we like it the next day or next few days. This recording just needs it because of what the song is about and here for… it’s actually a perfect recording and I am so proud of it but to indulge on the length, talking, lighter, the gaps those moments you hear for instance (for a song) nothing is perfect, nor me or you or anyone, and that’s okay. It’s like a sit down conversation with your closest friend, private, emotional and raw – telling the darkest and deepest of thoughts in a safe space. 

There’s a flow in our brotherly relationship but it’s so natural there is almost no effort, knowing what each other are after and what each other needs. The amount I have grown as an artist and a human because of him, no words but I’ll be eternally grateful, truly the best soul brother one could ask for!

Q: Your approach as a nonconformist artist is evident in your work. How did you incorporate your individual style and non-binary identity into the interpretation of “I’m Getting Off”?

A: Perhaps it goes without saying, but by not putting myself in a box? I didn’t think, I just did what felt natural, I just allowed my vocals to feel each word. You could say very old school live recording style. My identity being just a human in my art, I love to connect to all ears, no matter the race, religion, identity or which have you – so I don’t put labels on my art per say, rather more giving space and I hope safety and refugee where anyone no matter the person can connect to this song, and others I am apart of. As for this was more than a song, as mentioned it healed me in my time of need, this was more than just a mental health awareness track, but political, connections and so forth – I felt it touched on so many interpretations and I wanted others to have that, and feel it. Leaving it raw, sometimes is the best approach.  

Q: The song is being released during a time that is challenging for many. How do you hope “I’m Getting Off” will impact listeners, especially those struggling during the holiday season?

A: Truthfully I just hope they know they aren’t as alone as they think, speaking from experience, and it gives them the chance or ability they need to seek the help or just cure a few minutes of their day. I think the beauty of being the giver in this scenario – is I have already had many come to tell me privately their stories or struggles and saying how much this song has helped them within a certain moment or after and so forth. I believe the more open you are, whether it be in conversation or me gifting this song to the ears in need – the more others do, see, talk, feel safety and realize they can be open and that it’s okay to not be okay. Giving communities space to come together, talk with one another, support one another in whatever problems they may be involved in – is what I aim to do with my art. At the end of the day it’s human connection and interaction in caring and being kind, sometimes the smallest things can truly be the biggest in anyone’s days. So be kind, be true and be you.

Q: You mentioned that “I’m Getting Off” is a healing song. Can you share a personal experience or moment where this song provided solace or strength to you?

A: I can, I have quite a few to be truthfully honest. It did allow me to release stress and worries, a sort of yelling on top of the mountain moment, clearing difficulties my mind and soul were facing last year. Everytime I performed the song, it was giving me space and solace, and even strength. I have struggled a lot with anxiety, and depression, numerous things since I was very little. Over the past 3 years a few things within my life have triggered me and set loose these negative thoughts that are not in the slightest bit healthy. So I have personally been on a healing journey for a while, then now I have this song out to the world, even if it’s a rendition, being a part of its journey it has almost finalized my final steps in this process of healing. Getting to create it, perform it and being interviewed about it; these moments like this… where I can talk and give a voice for mental health in manner where I am speaking from the other side now – being able to be a voice, bringing a conversation in about it, and I think talking, being open and vulnerable in regards to life and health it is one of the biggest strengths. I think everyone should have the opportunity, if discussing these matters helps, it brings me solace, like a full circle moment.

Q: With your first EP receiving formidable reviews and your growing success in live performances, how does “I’m Getting Off” represent your evolution as an artist?

A: I feel it was poetic in a way, ending my year on this and as the first year of officially gigging as an artist, the beginning being so nervous behind the guitar, the little mistakes and shy, awkward laughter I would let out (I still slightly do) and the child-like feeling I had on stage feeling so NEW to the game, and to end it just standing or sitting and singing so openly with this song (and its meaning) it just felt like a massive leap that I always envisioned. To even play at the venues I have played at is just an honor, and I am respectful and humbled by the community around me giving me these opportunities and believing in me and my art. I truly feel proud of this inner child in me, achieving these steps and goals/dreams I’ve always wanted. 

Q: The release of “I’m Getting Off” will be accompanied by a music video and a live performance video. What can fans expect from these visual representations of the song?

A: So the live performance is already out on Apple Music, snippets on my socials but I will now post it on my YouTube Channel for the masses to now engulf. Gave firstly to my followers as a thank you before the rest can! It was filmed at Festival Of Light No.13, at Laylow, a venue in Notting Hill with Steven Young playing on the electric guitar with me, it was a very very special moment – it was also private event for particular heads, close friends and family so it was very very special, very happy I got recorded. The music video is in the process stages, editing and so forth with my friend Palmtree Prince who is an incredible artist in his own right as well as a wonderful visionary and lovely soul! I’ll pass a clue to its storyline, but the hint is within the single’s artwork you could say… we filmed it in and around Soho, London.

Q: You’ve spoken about representing unity in diversity through your music. How does “I’m Getting Off” contribute to this mission?

A: I think it goes similar to what I have mentioned earlier truthfully. 

To dive deeper however, I want people to understand no matter who you are, we are as one. If you find that inner peace, you can bring about change internally and externally. I want this song to contribute to healing any trauma one may have gone through. I find unity in diversity an incredibly healing process, a role that can maintain peaceful co-existence in diverse cultures and backgrounds. For me, as an non-binary lesbian who was born in Denmark, raised in a Muslim background (Egypt, Morocco) and living most of my life in England, most adult years in London. I connect to the definition of diversity and have struggled in my years to find where I fit, or who I am supposed to be for this world… I later realized I am exactly who I am supposed to be. The reference in the artwork, the white wolf and black panther represent the yin and yang (which is very much my symbol) – light and darkness. The balance you could say. This represents the unity within oneself, in acceptance one should have as it is almost a circle of life. Within life you can find yourself in situations, and it is up to the person to find that harmony and maintain that balance as when it is unbalanced there can be chaos. Then bringing it to an audience where they can feel as one, and unify that many have differences among them. These differences or struggles within their own lives, whether it may be race, ideology, religion, class, culture, etc. we humans deserve to be unified, to see how beautiful and unique we all are – in our own ways – as corruption in politics and governments have brought about so much destruction, disassociation, hate, pain and anger – especially at the moment – and it hurts me to see and feel on a personal level. So I hope this contributes, for someone, that it can help them in their darkest of days… to quote the first lyric.. “I am just the way I am..”

Q: You are working on “Soho Sessions . Side B” and a debut album with Mr. Nobody. How will the themes and styles in “I’m Getting Off” influence these upcoming projects?

A: With Side B, this will be on hold for now… as I want to make it the best thing I could do, as it will be the most important thing I’ll ever make. I have written and created the skeleton of it, just need the financial backing for it. Due to a difficult last year, and going through a certain healing process and the artist I am. I want to use my voice, and ability, to give back and I now have a few plans with a range of individuals to create some singles to help raise money for a few causes I have in mind (Mental Health, Homelessness, LGBTQIA+, War …) so I have this targeted in my work, I would say at the moment but it is and always have been what entailed to do with my art.

Then with Mr.Nobody (a.k.a Steven Young), the theme/style of this music is Modern Psychedelic Rock … a lot of production, powerful, hard hitting incredible tracks to be a part of that I can’t wait for everyone to hear.

In regards to “I’m Getting Off” influencing these projects, I mean I can’t explain how much organic therapy I got from this piece of music – creating/performing and so forth. It healed me, and gave me the power to heal others … that’s my mission as an artist. So it fed my voice, igniting the flame for the projects that are on course.

Q: Lastly, what message do you hope listeners take away from “I’m Getting Off,” and what does this song mean to you in the context of your journey as an artist?

A: I’ll use a poem of mine I once wrote; 

I want to feel people’s demons & nurse them back to life.

A heart can get lost inside someone’s trauma, it takes one to unravel its cord – a beating risk – to know what to do next.

A mind can trickle thoughts into the darkest of paths, swallow itself and suffocate those who are at their most vulnerable.

A soul can disappear into thin air, no matter how much is illuminating upon them as their shadow prey.

A body can move in ways that time is of no essence, fly or die trying? Hustle with tears weeping the fears.

For poetry or music, can lend a helping hand to those who have no syllables left in their lungs.

I hope this medicine helps.