July 17th, 2011 13:12 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with Teen Pop Singer Alana Lee 'Butterflies'
THE MULTI-TALENTED 14-YEAR-OLD SINGER, WHOSE DEBUT VIDEO "BUTTERFLIES` HAS MORE THAN 10 MILLION VIEWS AND COUNTING, SIGNS WITH INNOVATIVE INDIE LABEL 37 RECORDS FOR HER UPCOMING FOLLOW-UP EP
"Butterflies,` Produced By ARK Music Factory (Renowned For Rebecca Black`s Infamous And Hugely Popular "Friday`), Marked An Auspicious Musical Launch for Lee, Also An Accomplished Actress Who Has Appeared In Numerous Short Films and The Feature Film `The Measure Of A Man`
A lot of 14-year-old girls get `Butterflies` "but only Alana Lee has more than10 million (and counting) YouTube viewers sharing the ups and downs of young love with her!
While the media was focused earlier this year on Rebecca Black`s now infamous song and YouTube video Friday "also written and produced by ARK Music Factory " the multi-talented Southern California based performer was building an enthusiastic fan base of her own, with a much stronger like ratio.
One of Alana`s more prominent fans showing love is celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who featured the video for `Butterflies` on his website Perez TV. The track also broke through into the Top 100 Download charts on iTunes in seven different countries.
Building on this momentum, and super-excited but feeling no nervous butterflies " in her stomach, Alana is recording her highly anticipated six song debut EP, to be released in time for a series of shows she will be performing this summer. She is signed to the innovative Long Beach, Calif. label 37 Records, whose roster currently includes the indietronic band White Apple Tree, Orange County (Calif.) based underground pop band The Gromble, Americana rocker Charlie Baker, singers Kristen Trayer and Melody Zephyr and folk singer-songwriter Cathy-Anne McClintock.
The label is owned by Steven McClintock, a veteran singer, multi-platinum songwriter and music producer who has three BMI Millionaire Awards, including one for a song he wrote for 80s teen pop singer Tiffany. He also produced her vocals during her superstar time and wrote 15 songs spanning three records, two of which become number #1 Hits- `All This Time` and `If Love Is Blind.` McClintock managed Shiny Toy Guns (Universal) and continues to manage their publishing/licensing through his company 37 Songs/McJames Music. He also managed Paul Jefferson (Almo Sound) collecting another #1 song with Aaron Tippin. McClintock signed electro brother duo White Apple Tree to the label and management guiding their recent mainstream success overseas in Germany for their track `Snowflakes,` which was used in the soundtrack for German Indie blockbuster film KokowÃ¤Ã¤h, which was nominated for an MTV Euro Movie Award for Best German Movie. In addition, McClintock co-founded the innovative, world-wide music licensing company SongCatalog.com in 1999. Continuing on with the groundbreaking project, McClintock and 37 Records take the reins of Alana Lee`s very promising career.
Alana played a big part in choosing the songs she would record for her EP out of over 100 suggested to her by McClintock. The collection will include Synchronize, `It`s Nothing Personal, `This Is Me,` `Drive Me` and `Turn It Up.` There will also be a remix of `Butterflies.`
"I think it`s a good blend of material for me," says Alana, who has been singing since she performed her favorite Britney Spears song `Lucky` at age four on a cruise ship talent show. She began taking voice lessons at age eight.
I chose these songs to record because they`re the most relatable. These are things that have happened to me and address situations that could happen to most kids my age. Because I love music so much, I`ve always believed that anything you go through can be described with a song. All of these are fun, catchy and age appropriate. My favorite if `It`s Nothing Personal,` which I know any kid still in school will understand. It`s about this person who is bothering me and I want to tell them, but not so they take it in a bad way.
Musically and lyrically, Alana feels that these songs truly convey who she is in her life right now as a person and an artist developing her unique voice. She adds, The big thing I am communicating is that I`m still a kid having fun and doing what I love to do. If I can relate to these songs, everyone can " but it`s not just for girls my own age. I think the appeal is greater than that. I think guys will be able to relate to it too. And kids who are older and even adults will enjoy it if they like good, fun pop songs.
While the images in the compelling `Butterflies` video are full of charming young schoolgirl innocence, Alana "who will be starting high school this fall "is conveying a slightly older mid-teen vibe, not only in her songs, but in her style of clothes as well. As evidenced by the earthy, natural and easygoing pop-rock fashions "which edge slightly towards the bohemian "in her latest photo shoots, it`s clear that Alana`s growing up, but not too fast. These are styles that can be worn not just by teens Alana`s age, but across many different age groups.
The trends she sets in the teen fashion world are simply an extension of those she is bound to set musically as her career develops. The slightly more 15 side of 14 and a half look inspires song choices that are slightly more mature than `Butterflies.`
Though it seems that, just like a butterfly, Alana just fluttered into our cultural consciousness out of nowhere, she has a rich resume as a singer and actress. At El Rancho Charter School`s Musical Theatre, the 5`2 dynamo appeared in classic musicals like Oklahoma and `Guys and Dolls,` as well as musical revues and various skits; two yearly comedy skits Alana directed, cast and starred in took 1st place in a theatre competition for both 2010 and 2011.
Alana has also appeared in a number of short films at Chapman University`s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in Orange, Calif. She was first cast in the lead role of Shira in Oren Peleg`s Barely Bar Mitzvah`d, which won a first place prize at the Jewish Film Festival in Long Beach. The next year, Dan Brumer cast Alana in a supporting role in his film The Yoke, and more recently, she played Anna in Patrick Dawn`s Allegiance. This past year, she appeared in her first feature length film, The Measure of a Man, produced by Higher Definition Media, which will be out on the film festival circuit this year. The film is based on a true story about a dying man reminiscing about his family of nine children, ranging in age from 5-17. Alana is cast as one of the kids, Mary.
Alana trains with Sterling Studios Young Actors Group, has attended Camp Bravo Acting for the past two years, and takes vocal lessons from Kelly Rice in Hollywood. When she`s not in her singing sensation mode, she`s a regular kid with a hot streak of achievement. She`s a straight A student taking all honors classes who has excelled at softball, soccer, basketball and gymnastics. She is looking forward to high school next year as Alana was just named Commissioner At Large for her Freshmen class.
Alana`s path to `Butterflies` began with an audition for Patrice Wilson and Clarence Jey, co-founders of ARK Music Productions, who were looking for new singers to work and record with. Impressed with her powerful vocals and performance of `Don`t Rain on My Parade,` Wilson and Jey contacted her a week later and sent her an MP3 of `Butterflies,` which they wrote for her to record. Alana and her mom Robin did some tweaking of the lyrics and lowered the key so that it better fit the young singer`s voice. ARK`s initial plan was to build a buzz via myspace, and Alana quickly created a buzz there, but ultimately YouTube proved to be the most successful platform "as the crazy-high numbers of views and likes attest.
"Everything is happening so fast and is so exciting right now, but I`m so happy with the way things are going," says Alana. I love the recording process and really enjoy the genuine, caring people who I am working with. It`s also so rewarding getting feedback from fans. Their excitement is infectious and inspires me to become a better singer and performer all the time. "My dream is that people will soon be listening to my songs all the time on the radio and I`m so grateful for all these opportunities. I`m a young girl who loves my friends and loves singing and it`s so much fun to be able to pursue what I feel so passionate about."
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