A Conversation With Ahlei

November 20, 2020

At only 17 years old, Auckland artist Ahlei is already capturing attention with her unique brand of indie-pop. After releasing a series of short songs on Spotify, Ahlei has quickly picked up a buzz, and it’s not hard to see why. Incorporating soft crooning vocals over lucious electronic production her songs have a distinctive charm.

We caught up with Ahlei to chat about how she got started making music, seeing success and her production style.

Check out the interview below.

Tell me a little bit about yourself? Who you are and what you do?

Hey! I’m Ahlei and I like to sing sometimes! I’m 17 years old and I currently am a high school student in Auckland.

How did you get started making music?

I’ve always been writing little songs in my bedroom whenever I think up an idea. Even before then, I’ve been covering songs and always singing. From there, I kind of just realised that it’s something I’d love to try out and to possibly have stuff out!

Tell me about some of your musical inspirations?

My whole life, I’ve been surrounded by music. My dad plays the guitar and both my parents sing! And my brother is the most musical person I know, and inevitably I gained a love for music as well. My family has truly inspired me in terms of music, and I also gather tons of inspiration from other artists who I feel are kind of like me! Like Beabadoobee, Clairo and Billie Eillish, I feel as though we’re all similar in age. But it’s really inspiring to see them achieve so much at such a young age, and makes me realise that hey, maybe I can do that too! Haha.

You’ve released a series of short songs on Spotify that have begun to pick up quite a buzz. Tell me about what it’s like to see them doing so well?

It was definitely a shocker, to say the least! I’m honestly so happy to see everyone enjoying the songs I’ve been putting out and it just makes me more excited to release more music that I know everyone will love!

What was your thinking deciding to release a series of shorter songs weekly, rather than an EP or project?

I wanted to do something different, rather than release an EP or an album right off the bat! Releasing shorter songs in a short span of time gives the listeners a taste of the music we’ll be properly released in the future. I wanted to prompt discussion and interest among my listeners and so far it’s definitely been working really well! Kind of like an entree before the main dish, haha!

You’re preparing to release your first full-length single ‘Hiding Place’, tell me a little bit about the song?

Hiding place for sure is my favourite among the songs we’ve released so far, mainly because it holds such a special place in my heart. It’s the first proper original I’ve ever written and the first original that I’ve sung in front of an audience (at my first ever gig!). The song also holds a lot of emotional backstory and because of that, it tugs on my heartstrings every time I listen to it, and I hope that everyone else feels the same way when they listen to it. Definitely one of my all-time faves <3

You often release acoustic renditions of your tracks, which give the tracks a whole new feel. How do you go about transitioning an electronic-based track into an acoustic rendition?

Well, you hear most popular songs get covered as an acoustic version. Almost always the feedback/reaction is that the acoustic version gives you more ‘feels’ and that they connect with it more. Seeing as that was quite common with a lot of songs, I figured it’d be great to just do that with my own songs and see how they go!

Do you tend to write the acoustic version before or after the full version?

I tend to sing the full, actual version first and then work on the acoustic afterwards! 

Tell me a bit about your production style as a whole?

I’d say that my production style is mainly indie-electronic and chill? There are electronic elements to my songs but as you’ll hear there’s jazzy chords, real piano and guitars etc, which is a nice blend! I have a few friends that I’m able to bounce ideas off which is great, makes it a bit easier.

What does 2021 have in store for you?

If I’m going, to be honest with you, I have no idea! 2020 has been such an unpredictable year, but I do know that next year is going to be so good and I plan on releasing as much as I can. Hopefully on the weekly again at some point! 

You can check out her new song ‘Hiding Place’ below.

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