An Interview with Allison Crowe

Allison Crowe Albums


Allison Crowe being awesome

Allison Crowe, the singer, songwriter, composer, producer, business owner, and, above all else, an extraordinarily talented and gifted woman from Nanaimo, BC, Canada on Vancouver Island, recently granted an interview.

Both Allison and her manager, Adrian, were extremely easy and fun to work with in getting this interview set up, and once again, I would like to personally thank them for everything they’ve done to help MarsBands get started on a high note.  In this interview Allison tells MarsBands about her songwriting process, her hobbies (like being an avid video gamer), her first performance, and why she makes and performs music for a living.

Allison also talks about her influences, what she hopes her music does for her listeners, how “uber cool” I am, her body art, and lots more fun and interesting topics.  It won’t take you long, and you will find out how uber cool Allison Crowe is.  A genuine, awesome person – even if she is a Canucks fan.




Mars: What drives you?  What was it that made you wake up one day and say, I’m going to be a musician?

 I think music itself drove me to be a musician, as well as the desire to be  on stage performing for people – from a very very young age. I’m not even sure if there was a day that I woke up and decided to be a musician, it’s more just something built in.

[“Built in”? I knew it!  No human can sing like that.  She’s a robot!  A exclusive on the first question!]



Mars: Do you remember where the first performance you ever gave was at?  

I think I’ve had a few sort of “first” performances, lol. Apparently one of my first was singing a solo in kindergarten – says my Mom! I remember doing some early performances in highschool… and before that in some summer theatre programs. And singing and playing, I remember peforming Counting Crows’ “Raining in Baltimore” for my family in a cafe years back… and then my first sort of official “gig” was probably my 16th birthday at a jazz club in Nanaimo… hehe, lots of firsts, so my memories kind of all blend together! 🙂



Mars: How does it make you feel when people compare you or your sound to other artists?  I would imagine it is flattering, but possibly frustrating as well?

I kind of love it when people compare me to other artists, because it’s always interesting to hear what other people are hearing! Because I am me, and I’m not fond of listening to myself because it feels strange, I have no idea what I sound like half the time – so it’s cool  – and very               flattering,indeed.



Mars: What has influenced you and your music?

A ton of different things have influenced how I play and sing… Pearl Jam, Counting Crows, Ani DiFranco, Loreena McKennitt, Joan Osborne… the list goes on… classical music, jazz, musical theatre… It’s all in there somewhere, in one way or another!



Mars: What is your favorite hockey team?

Vancouver Canucks, for sure. 🙂


[As a Blues fan (Go Blues!) I’m not sure I can forgive you for that…]



Mars: Assuming you actually have any, what do you do, or would you like to do, in your free time?

Hang out with my wiener dog, belly dance, cook, eat, cook, eat, bake, write, play video games, (I just finished Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and am very excited for Skyrim – which comes out 2 days before my birthday… just sayin’), jog – lather, rinse, repeat. 😉

[Skyrim: Avaiable November 14th, Allison Crowe’s Birthday: November 16th]



Mars: From when you first started performing to now, what is the most valuable lesson you have learned about life and music?

One of the most important things I’ve learned is that we’re all in this together in life – and that music can bring us all together in a positive way.



Mars: What is your process for making a song?  Does the music come first and then the lyrics, lyrics then music, or does it all just seem to come together at once as if by some sort of Allison Crowe magic?

My process for making a song changes for every song, it seems. haha. Some spring out from lyrics alone, some are melodies that I put words to, some are a mix of both… It’s ever changing.



Mars: Which do you prefer, cats or dogs?  Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter? Catsup or Ketchup?

Both, all (though I am fondest of the Fall), and catsup because that sounds cooler.


[Let the record show, Allison Crowe prefers “catsup” over “ketchup” and is non-committal on dogs vs. cats so as not to offend her wiener dog, Link.  Let the record also show, she has two cats (Johnny Cash and Sambuca) to just one dog.  I think we can extrapolate from that.]



Mars: I understand that you have had formal voice lessons?

I have indeed! I still do when I can, though it’s been too long now – and I still use the warm-ups and technique and all that goes with that.




Mars: How long can you hold a note? 

I’m not sure… I may pass out before I count properly.




Mars: You do realize how powerful your voice is, don’t you?  Surely you’ve heard or seen where singers voices can be so powerful that they can shatter glass.  Has all the glass from your house been removed and replaced with plastic so this doesn’t become problematic for you?

So far I’ve not had to replace any glass… and thank you!




Mars: After a performance, do you need to rest your voice or do you do anything special to preserve it?

Indeed, I rest a lot and drink a lot of delicious peppermint tea – and I also use a glycerine spray called Entertainers Secret – recommended by Janis Ian!


[On behalf of myself and readers, thank Janis Ian for us!]



Mars: What do you want your audience to get from your music?  Each song, of course, may have its own special meaning, but overall with your music, is there something you want your listeners and fans to take from your music as a whole?

I want my audience to get whatever they need from my music. When I write, I know what it’s about for me – but when people listen, it can be about whatever they need it to be at that moment in their lives… I really love that idea – so that’s what I hope for – that they can take from it what they need.



Mars: Besides the addition of various instruments to your sound, how, if at all, would you say your music has evolved and was it intentional?  If so, why?

I’m not sure! I’m hoping throughout the years that I’ve become a better musician, that’s kind of my only intent and what I work towards – and will until the end of time. haha




Mars: How many tattoos do you have? What are they and what, if any, meaning do they hold?

I have 6, and don’t tell my Mom but I’m probably not stopping there. 😉 My 3 large ones were all done by my friend Des in Nanaimo (  My first one was a mermaid fairy – I couldn’t decide so I got both – and to me now it kind of symbolizes if I’m falling I can still fly and if I’m drowning I can still swim, to keep going no matter what… The other one I have on my back is my moon sign fairy (Leo) and the big one on my arm is my Scorpio fairy (my sun sign). And they all seem to represent my ever changing hair colors, hahaha. On my right arm I have a circle of 3 dolphins in a Celtic knot style, which is based on my company logo (which I’ve drawn since I was in highschool) – and which I’ve since found out symbolizes travel, luck, success, art… very cool! [Very cool, indeed.] I got it on my 25th birthday in Dublin, Ireland (the design on my arm isn’t one I’ve drawn myself, mind you – haha), and the last one I have, on my left arm, is Le Chat Noir. I got that in Prague a few years back. (I was going to get it in France, but ran out of time.) It’s backwards, though, because I messed up explaining exactly what I wanted – but I find that hilarious now. (it looks very much like my cat, Johnny)

Allison Crowe’s Tattoo (click for larger image)


Mars: I’m not from Canada, but I have a shirt that says “Canada” on it.  How cool am I?

You are uber cool.  :oD




Mars: What does the future hold for you?  Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?   

I’ve always been terrible at this question – haha – I hope to play more and more music for more and more people 🙂




Mars: Talk about your record label.  How and why did you make it?  Do you record other artists?

I’ve always looked up to Ani DiFranco because she’s done things her way, and that’s the inspiration for me to start my own company and do things totally on my own. So far, I’m the only one on my label! (and I’m pretty easy to work for) 

[I’m not sure, but I think that’s an open invitation for bands to get signed by Allison Crowe…]



Mars: What is your favorite song you have written?  Favorite album? And why.

He he, I have no idea… I really enjoy playing “Disease” live because I have a lot of fun with the piano… (though I’m not sure how much the piano itself enjoys it) – and I think “Spiral” is my favourite album so far, just because it’s my newest and orchestrator/producer Kayla Schmah did such a great job adding sounds and arrangements to it!



Mars: You do covers of a lot of songs.  What do you like about covering a song? 

I find covering a song a lot of fun – you can put your own twist on things!  Sometimes, too, if someone is not familiar with your music, but they know the song you are covering, it sort of builds a bit of a bridge between you and the listener, and you can meet new people!



Mars: You do a killer version of Smells Like Teen Spirit!

Thanks! I heard Tori Amos do a cover of it years ago and thought – YES! I have to play that!! It’s a lot of fun.




Mars: Who’s your favorite, brand new musical website who asked you for an interview, and is named after a red planet?

That would definitely have to be MarsBands 😉


[See what I did there?]


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Other Songs to Check Out

  • Disease
  • Happy People
  • Sea of a Million Faces
  • Silence
  • Hold Back
  • Choose to Be
  • Hallelujah
  • Let it Be
  • Time After Time

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