We recently chatted with Ally Cribb about her career and EP release 'Unbroken'
Hi, for our readers who might be new to your music, please tell us how long you have been writing music and when did you release your first single?
I first started writing songs at age 12. I immediately fell in love with writing music, it became my outlet and my escape. Whenever I’d be going through something significant in my life, I would turn to my piano or guitar and start sorting through feelings of confusion, frustration or wonder and finding the words and music to give them expression. I released my first song, Bigger, in December of 2021. It was a really proud moment in my life, as I watched something I had been working on so hard for so long finally enter into the world.
Has any particular artist or genre influenced your music the most?
Definitely singer/songwriters like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Taylor Swift. Since I was a little girl I've wanted to be able to write songs like them and to stand on a stage hearing thousands of people singing the words to my songs. Canadian East coast Celtic music is also a huge influence for me because I’ve spent my summers and holidays growing up in Nova Scotia where my family is from. I am a huge fan of east coast singer/songwriters including Stan Rogers, The Rankin Family, Joel Plaskett and Matt Mayes. I love the storytelling aspect of a lot of music that comes from Nashville songwriters, and I typically gravitate towards that style of songwriting in my own music.
Your new EP ’Unbroken’ is out now and we think it's amazing. What was the general songwriting process of the tracks?
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a great deal of the EP was written and recorded at home in our small basement studio. It was a particularly tumultuous time in my life, not only because my high school years were suddenly spent isolated at home, but because of the sudden loss of my mother that triggered deep turmoil in my life. These songs spilled out onto notebook pages, screens and napkins. I would wake up in the middle of the night to jot down ideas that eventually wove their way into songs. I worked with my dad to workshop the lyrics, structures and musical production ideas. We moved the raw tracks to a couple of studios in our area for vocals, added musicians and mixing. These songs went through many iterations to get them where they ended up. And some continue to morph. One of the joys of songwriting is seeing the work constantly shift and reveal itself anew.
Is there an overall theme or message that runs throughout the EP?
Finding hope and strength in the face of adversity is a theme embedded throughout the EP. Overcoming heartache or pain – and ultimately rising above it – is the reality from which these songs were created. And it is the narrative thread that runs throughout.
What challenges have you faced since launching your career?
Writing and recording a 7-track EP is definitely a lot of work. It’s taken a lot of patience, especially considering the face that it was all done during a global pandemic, and we had to learn how to adapt to an at-home setting and use it to the best of our advantage. Looking back, I’m really proud of everything we’ve been able to do over the past two years of craziness. Even throughout unexpected hardship and adversity, we’ve managed to never stop creating music, which I view as an accomplishment.
You come from Toronto, Canada. What is the music and live scene like there?
Toronto has a very cool urban music scene that has produced global artists from Justin Bieber to Shawn Mendes to the Weeknd. All of those influences seep into the consciousness when you come from Toronto, of course. But I would definitely say I’ve also been heavily influenced by the music scene on Canada’s east coast where I spent a lot of time growing up. It has a very distinct and unique music culture that draws in Celtic and country influences that I find hauntingly beautiful and authentic. There are a couple of songs on the EP – Halifax Time and End of August – that reflect that east coast musical influence.
What are the plans for the year ahead for yourself? Do you have any gigs scheduled?
This year I’m mainly focused on completing my first year of university in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’m here for a Bachelor of Music degree, and I’m beyond excited to begin the journey and see where this next chapter in my life takes me. I feel very lucky to be studying something I am so passionate about, in a city I love so much. My plan is to slowly build up some live performances, keep writing and start some new recording. I’ve got a handful of songs I think are ready for the studio, so I’m excited to start conceptualizing what the next project is going to sound like.
If you could change anything about the industry what would it be?
I would make it a fairer business that protects songwriters in terms of the payment models and owning the rights to their own work. I would also make it a less exploitative place for young female artists, especially those who are just starting out and don’t know the ins and outs of the music business.
If you could share the stage with another band or performer who would it be?
Good question! I would love to perform with Taylor Swift or Maisie Peters, That would be an absolute dream. But really any of my inspirations, such as Joni Mitchell, James Taylor or Jimmy Rankin. Looking at more contemporary artists, I think it’d be so cool to perform on stage with Morgan Wallen, as I love his music and think he brings so much energy and enthusiasm to every show. He looks like he’d be a lot of fun to perform with.
What songs are on your playlist right now, which songs are you into at the moment?
I’ve been loving Luke Combs’ new album, Growin’ Up. I’m a big fan of country music so that’s been my go-to album recently. I’ve also been loving the new music from Maisie Peters, and I’m so excited for Taylor Swift’s upcoming album as well!