Our lovely comrade Alecia Chakour is going to be playing Rockwood Music Hall this coming Sunday, July 29 - so to celebrate, we thought what better than to catch up with our talented young lady?!
Alecia Chakour Live
Sunday, July 29
Rockwood Music Hall
New York, NY
Giant Step: How's it been to tour around with such incredible musicians such as The Warren Haynes Band, Nigel Hall, and Soulive? Any learnings and valuable experiences you've picked up?
Alecia Chakour: It is a serious blessing to have found a musical family that is so full of fire and total love for what they do and who they do it with. I get to be a part of this big supportive community where I can stretch out, open up, listen and be completely myself in the music. I've learned in that openness to truly trust myself, which allows me trust and love the folks I'm surrounded by. Also, I've learned the three magic words: sweat, talent, humility.
GS: What about being on Letterman with the crazy amazing Allen Stone? What's he like to work with?
Alecia Chakour: I just got back from rehearsal! Allen has a real unique power to him... so naturally soulful, warm and full of positivity. I love that I get to make music with such a diverse range of artists, and he is certainly something special in the bunch.
GS: We know you've got a local show coming up at Rockwood on the 29th, how are you feeling about bringing it back home? What can we expect to hear at the show, what's the energy going to be like?
Alecia Chakour: I'm so excited to get cooking with this crew! The band - my brother Alex, Neal Evans (Soulive), Sam Cohen (Apollo Sunshine/Yellowbirds) and Miles Arntzen (Antibalas) - they are a dream team. They connect to that dynamic, loose, bluesy vibe but bring such originality and excitement to the music. It's been a while since we've played together, and this feels like the perfect way to get things moving... very up close and personal. We'll be trying out a lot of new tunes that we'll be recording soon with the rest of the fam, so I'm excited to share.
GS: Sounds like you've finally got some time to work on your own material and are gearing up for your long-awaited debut album super soon! What are things sounding like right now and what's driving your writing/recording process? What does that all look like for you? And when can we expect this thing?!
Alecia Chakour: Yes! Man... I have been ready to do this thing for a while, and I'm so happy to now have the support! Growing up with a blues musician papa has certainly been a direct influence in my music - so the tunes I write are pretty direct and raw... Think Bobby "Blue" Bland in 1974 style, but me... now... Ha. What's most important for me with this record is to capture that live energy and be in the moment with the band... arrange the tunes and make 'em shine, but ultimately just let everybody loose. We'll be tracking when we're all home in September, so I'm hoping the release won't be too long after.
GS: Your heritage is a mixture of Middle Eastern awesomeness, we've heard. Can you tell us a bit about it and what kind of role it plays in your music?
Alecia Chakour: I come from a family of all shapes, colors, incomes and denominations, so I've got a lot to draw on. Everybody has a story to tell, and I think my background definitely gives me a unique perspective. Soul music is about getting personal and being human and so I sing about heartbreak and struggle, but within the context of my own experience and communities. Post 9/11 America also gives me that extra drive to represent and remind people how connected we all are...
GS: Your voice is staggering, we know this. But in today's saturated market, it's undeniably difficult to stand out - to you, what makes Alecia Chakour an artist to watch for?
Alecia Chakour: Aww, thanks. My goodness... Well, I hope that people continue to respond to the honesty in what I do. I just plant my feet and let go. Plus, the folks I play with are way too funky to ignore.