5 Questions With Indie Allen
He first appeared on the music scene in 2011, but singer Indie Allen believes his music has not reached a large enough audience and hopes to change this with his upcoming mixtape - IndieMeName. Speaking to The Gleaner, Allen said the project will be his first official body of work and will "target the grassroots through street-related topics". A play on his Instagram handle, IndieMeName follows the singer's 2016 EP Indie Moment, which encompassed a myriad of sounds and genres, exposing Allen to an international market. Though he is of Montegonian soil, Allen spent 2018 making his presence felt overseas, and made his performance debut in Europe on the celebrated Reggae Geel Festival in Belgium. Last year also bore fruitful for the Catch A Fire singer as he appeared on the Canadian television series Club One New Releases, which highlights home-grown and Caribbean musicians through interviews and performances. Just a few days into 2019, and the crooner's music has been added to international streaming platforms Tidal and BBC Radio 1Xtra - another milestone for the 26-year-old, who has no major backing or record label. In this week's edition of 5 Questions With, The Gleaner engages Indie Allen as he speaks about the creative and production process of IndieMeName, which he hopes to release in February - Reggae Month.
Where did you pull your inspiration from for the songs on the mixtape?
It's always the experiences I've seen and been a part of as an artiste. Since the release of my EP in 2016, the journey has been different in terms of growth. I've had a lot of experiences that have taken me to a lot of places, and presented different outlooks and ways of thinking, causing me to reflect on everything that has been going on. I decided to construct a concept from all these experiences, to create something new that gives variety while introducing me to a more local audience. We want to focus locally before we do any travelling this year.
Which producers are you working with?
I'm working with persons who encapsulate different styles that I want to explore. I don't want to drop any names, but there is a producer from Trinidad who I'm working with right now. The mixtape will basically be exploring a variety of sounds and showcasing different aspects of my talent. It will be something for the streets - not necessarily strong content that needs parental advisory, but 'street' in terms of the topics that we're focusing on; like love, the notion that everything takes money, and topics like perseverance.
Why did you opt to release a mixtape instead of an album?
I am actually working on an album, but we wanted to build the brand a little more. I think my unique selling point as an artiste is being that soulful singer who shares my experiences and the feelings I'd like to evoke. We want to use that to capitalise on getting more intimate audiences, audiences that will appreciate this kind of music, and, at the same time, we found it very important to target the streets; the grassroots people; the people who would not necessarily gravitate to deeper sounds just yet. We want to grab the attention of those persons before we put out an album, so this is an introduction for them, then we can drop an album after.
Aside from tapping into a new audience, do you have other expectations for the mixtape?
I expect it to grow the brand and bring more value to the brand because a lot more persons would be aware of who Indie is and how versatile an artiste Indie is in terms of skills and delivery and just being a creative individual. I hope it will take my brand to the next level.
As an independent artiste, how have you managed to successfully penetrate new markets and release new projects?
The strength of God and my manager. I have a small cool team; my manager Ricardo has been of great help in areas where I can't do it alone. Mi haffi just thank God seh mi have a few people around me where dem willing fi go the extra mile to keep the brand growing and moving.