Saturday, December 7, 2013
Boston College sophomore and Windham native Amy Allen is changing schools -- and majors -- and is releasing her second EP in May. Last summer, she scored a "VIP audition" for the hit TV show "The Voice." A trip to Los Angeles later, she sang in front of Christina, Cee Lo and the gang, and although she didn't make it past the blind auditions, Allen says she wouldn't change the experience for anything in the world.
Amy Allen is in the nursing program at Boston College, but will be attending the Berklee School of Music in the fall.
WHAT'S ON AMY ALLEN'S iPOD
"Barton Hollow," The Civil Wars
"Somebody That I Used to Know," Gotye
"Silver Lining," Rilo Kiley
"The Chain," Fleetwood Mac
"Come Away to the Water," Maroon 5
"Winter Winds," Mumford & Sons
"Shake It Out," Florence and The Machine
"Parachute," Ingrid Michaelson
"When You Were Young," The Killers
"Run Daddy Run," Miranda Lambert
TURN YOUR RADIO DIAL to 102.9 WBLM every Friday at 8:30 a.m. to hear Aimsel Ponti wax poetic about her top three live music picks for the week with the Captain and Celeste.
GO caught up with Allen during Easter break from Boston College and got the skinny about her upbringing, her shift in higher education and the new EP.
What are you studying at Boston College, and when do you graduate?
Currently, I'm in the nursing program, and will be graduating in 2014. However, this winter, I had a realization that songwriting and performing is truly what inspires me to grow as a person. So I applied to Berklee School of Music, and will be starting there this fall. I can't wait! They have a singer/songwriter major.
Your forthcoming EP is called "Neptune." Tell us about it.
"Neptune" was a blast to make. I wrote the title track last spring, and it won a Boston College singer-songwriter competition. I decided it might be a good jumping-off point for the new EP. While still at school, I also wrote "Lightning Storm" and "Oh, Peter," which were inspired by feelings of missing home and wanting to relive a more youthful, carefree past.
Last summer, I met up with Jon Wyman, who also produced and recorded my first EP, "Honey," and we recorded those three songs. We finished up the EP in December by recording the final two tracks, "Calling All," which I wrote less than 48 hours before recording, and "Slipping Slow." I was fortunate enough to work in the studio with Chuck Gagne, Spencer Albee, Ryan Dolan, Zach Jones, Johnny Venom, Jon Roods and, of course, Jon Wyman, who made all of my aspirations for the album come true.
How did the making of "Neptune" differ from when you made your debut, "Honey"?
I felt much more comfortable the second time around communicating my thoughts on where I wanted the songs to go. At this point, I've spent so much time working with Jon (Wyman) and bouncing ideas off him, that he's grown to be kind of like the big brother I never had. Even with "Honey," when I first came to him as a timid 17-year-old with some brutally recorded demos, he believed in me. This time around, I finally believed in myself.
When did you first play in public?
Well, the real reason I started playing music was to be in a supercool all-girl rock band at school called No-U-Turn, which my older sister just happened to be the drummer for. I don't know if I just wanted to be like her or if I just wanted to jam out with some cool middle schoolers while I was still in fourth grade, but either way, it led me to learning bass, which led to learning guitar, which eventually led to singing and songwriting.
Was music a big part of growing up in your house?
Music was and still is huge in my family. I think I probably attended more than six Rolling Stones concerts before I was even officially a teenager. I grew up in Windham but went to school in Portland, so every night after ballet or sports practice, our commute home would consist of my two older sisters and I sitting in the back seat of my dad's car screaming along to songs by his favorite bands like The Who, Rolling Stones, Sammy Hagar, Fleetwood Mac and Queen. I think our favorite was "Fat Bottomed Girls" -- we really got into that one.
Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at: