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Ali Angel on Reviving the Vintage Soul Sound

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LA-based singer, songwriter, and musician Ali Angel distills the essence of vintage blues in her music. She combines the simple power of blues roots with indie alt-rock and a subtle hint of twang to render a fresh sound uniquely her own. Though Angel is relatively new to the scene, her gritty guitar and vocals deliver the sound of an old soul.

Ali Angel inspired by vintage blues

Angel has been a longtime fan of the genre-defying musicians of the ’60s and ’70s. “Artists like The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Hall and Oates, and Prince each incorporate hints of soul, country, rock, blues, and folk,” she says. “They’ve definitely influenced my musical taste. As a lover of everything retro, evoking that vintage sound and lyrical mindset has always been fun for me.” 

Angel isn’t alone in her nod to the vintage blues vibe. Retro soul is working its way into modern-day music with momentum building into full-on revival.

“Artists like Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak are making the vintage sound even more mainstream,” Angel remarks. “Their latest collaborative album sounds like a combination of their music and Sly & the Family Stone. St Vincent’s newest album strikes me as a love story to 1970’s music with inspiration from people like Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, and War. There’s definitely a desire to revamp that warm retro sound and bring the horns and brass back into pop and rock.”

Check out the vintage blues sound in Ali Angel’s Single “Play Pretend”

Angel’s latest single, “Play Pretend,” takes inspiration from the feel-good melodies of Motown artists and blends it with the classic rhythm and energy of country and blues. “I think people are inherently drawn to certain genres,” she explains. “That bluesy, soulful music is the stuff that gets me the most excited.”

The genuine optimism in “Play Pretend” is a perfect fit for those nostalgic strains of a time gone by. Angel’s lyrics relive the blissful moments of a sunny, summer weekend and imagine them stretching across a lifetime. With a smooth guitar riff and subtle brass, the song transports listeners out of their daily hustle into the “golden light” of a simply perfect moment.

Ali Angel’s debut EP

Currently, Angel is finishing the last bits and pieces of her debut release. The self-titled EP offers a diverse mix of alt-rock, retro-pop, beachy pop-soul, and a soulful ballad for good measure. “I tried to show all of my musical interests with this group of songs,” Angel says. “I’m always going to be making music that crosses genres, and my sound will always be changing and bringing in new colors.”

The six original songs on Angel’s debut EP spring from a lifelong passion for songwriting. She picked up a guitar in third grade and composed her first song not long after. “It was called ‘Another Girl,’” Angel remembers. “It was a sad pop ballad about my guy friend liking another girl, of course!”

Angel may have refined her creative method, but the innocent emotion of the little girl belting out ballads in her backyard is in every song. “I can always tell when it’s going to be a good songwriting day,” she says. “On a day like that, I sit down with my guitar or piano and just start riffing. Once I’m on a roll, I let things flow for as long as I can. The words and melodies come simultaneously. Usually, I finish a melody and have half of the words done before getting more thorough and thoughtful about lyrics. Sometimes melodies need to be reworked, and sometimes the best ones just come out.”

Angel’s debut EP will be released soon, and there’s more to come from this promising independent artist. ”I’m eager to get this project out and start on new songs,” she says. “I went super retro with this EP, so I’m going to challenge myself to play around with some more modern indie pop-rock stuff for the next project.” To check out what Angel is working on now, readers can visit her webpage, listen on Spotify, or follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

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