The first time you met the Canadian singer Allie X – born Alexandra Ashley Hughes – you are automatically captivated by her unique and beautiful allure. She looks like an exotic princess from another planet who may have decided to stay on Planet Earth… for now. Once you start talking to her, you automatically get over her looks and because you’re captivated by her realness and passion for what she does.

 

Her whole creative universe seems to be about her love for authenticity and mystery, mixed with a strong dose of DIY pop attitude. During the Osheaga Festival last August, I had the chance to chat with her before she jumped on stage to perform.

 

How is your festival experience so far?

It’s been fun! I got here a little later in the day than I usually arrive at festivals, cause it’s my first time playing a night set. I am actually playing at the same time as Radiohead (laughing) so I don’t think there will be too many people.

 

Oh, you would be surprised.

You think?

 

Yeah. You have a super strong fan base!

Yes, usually it’s very strong… but on the smaller side (little laugh).

 

Your visual universe seems like such an important part of your act, when it comes to your performance on stage or your music videos. Is it something that you put a lot of thought into?

Yes, it’s pretty intentional. I just think that if you want to give people a quality product, you have to think about all the aspects of it. The way that it feels, the way that it looks, the way that is sounds and… I don’t really trust anyone to take it as far as it needs to go. I feel like I need to take control of all those things. Because, there are so many people trying to be artists and if you are not going to do it, somebody else will. So, I just try to make it the best that it can be.

 

So, you are the whole concept, take it or leave it?

Yeah! Another thing that I tend to say in interviews is that the music on its own is – I think, very strong – but it doesn’t fully encapsulate the feelings that I want people to get. You know what I mean? If you listen to certain songs’ of mine, you will hear that super pop sound. It’s almost like that over sugary sweet thing, but that’s not how I felt when I wrote it. I feel like I need to express that sort of darkness in another way, so people get the whole picture.

 

Do you sometimes feel stuck being perceived as a cute pop artist, when you have so much to share with your fans and the public?

So far, I’ve been pretty fortunate with the press and social media platforms. People seem to perceive my layers and the fact that I am multi-dimensional person. I feel like my fans are very intelligent and really listen to the lyrics. They all have their favourite songs, but they also tend to know every song. So, I don’t really feel like I’ve been perceived as a cute pop star. If anything, it’s like trying to convince some of the big executives that, in fact, I am a real artist and not just some online cult thing.

 

 

You have an amazing fashion sense and it shows! What inspires you to create your whole fashion universe?

Well, I am always just trying to feel good about my body and the way it looks. It has been a challenge since I was a kid, like covering parts of my body that I don’t like as much as othersI think that is the key into the fashion sense that I’ve developed. I feel more confident when I stand out, even if I’ve always been scared of being the centre of attention. Those two things are kind of opposite, but they compliment each other very well in the end.

Like many artists I have a lot of folders on my desktop full of reference images. I get very excited and inspired just looking through look-books and some stuff on Tumblr or just thinking about how to combine things that I like to make something new!

 

More on the music side, the public reaction to your collaboration with Troye Sivan (who wrote the hit singles Youth and Talk to Me) was amazing!

I went on tour with him and his fans are so devoted to him. He’s just a very likeable, charming and relevant person, you know. Especially to the millennials! I’ve gotten to work with him and I could see how of a cool person he is. He totally deserves to be on that pedestal as a role model.

 

As an artist it must be interesting to collaborate with such strong personalities. Are there other artists in your fantasy world that you wish you could collaborate with?

I mean, there is that Japanese author Haruki Murakami; I am a great admirer of his work. He makes me feel like life is very meaningful and he sort of creates this zen place where it is dark and funny, but also where everything is ok and colourful. So yeah, some sort of collaboration with him would be amazing. Also, what is the name again of that director who did Spirited Away?

 

I can’t remember his name, but I think it’s the same guy who did Princess Mononoke, right?

Yes, exactly! Hayao Miyazaki, that’s it! I would also love to collaborate with him.

 

I know you define yourself as a songwriter.  When you compose a new song, is it the melody or the lyrics that pop into your head first?

Actually, it’s always the melody for me. Sometimes, but it’s very rare, I will have a title or lyrics first. Most of the time, it is actually a slow and almost painful process for me. Rarely does it happen quickly. It happened once, like in a day, with Bitch. There was like a muse on my shoulder for that one and lyrics came super quick. But usually, that is just a drying out process for me, unless I am working with someone else – which I tend to do more frequently these days.

 

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About The Author

Lifestyle Editor

Marie-Ève is a little person who still secretly wishes she were one of the Olsens twins. You can catch her running from event to event, a coffee bigger than her face in one hand and her cell phone glued to the other. At Dress To Kill, she is the one writing about the newest musician you need to discover and that trendy boutique that just opened.

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