Ali Henderson is a singer/songwriter from South Carolina.
After her experiences on American Idol season XIII and XIV, the pop singer/songwriter focused on her songwriting and moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue her career. The artist is now offering a brand new single entitled “Idiot”. The self-written song reflects on a personal life experience.
“I rarely ever write about my own personal life but that definitely changed for this EP. “Idiot” was the closing of a chapter for me with someone in my life. I got so used to the feeling of being controlled and lied to that I just became comfortable with it, and then one day I just woke up and I was like… “My God… you’re such an Idiot”. Then this song was born,” explains Henderson.
“Idiot” is off her upcoming EP, to be released this spring.
Hi! My name is Ali Henderson, and I am a 21 year old singer songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee!
What’s your story?
I grew up in a musical family, so I would say I was sort of bred into music as weird as that sounds. I started singing in church when I was 5 years old, and then after that it was like… I never made a CHOICE. I have always just known that music was it for me. I think in this industry you almost have to be that way… you can’t just “like” music… it has to be your passion. Otherwise, the bullshit of the business starts to cloud your creativity and you just give up on it.
Do you remember your earliest musical memories?
I started playing Ukulele for this girl group that I was in (because they wanted us all to play a different instrument). That was really the first time that I had picked up an instrument and thought to myself… “wait… I can write my own stuff. I don’t need a track to back me.”
When did you know you could sing?
I think I always knew that I had some level of natural talent, but I think my parents being all in and supporting my career from SUCH an early age reaffirmed to me that it wasn’t just this cute little phase, but they believed in me enough to help build my career from the bottom up.
Growing up, what were your favorite records to sing along to?
I grew up in a strange time for music I feel… I mean I started playing guitar because Taylor Swift had just released her first CD, so I listened to her first record a lot. My mom and I also listened to Christina Aguilera every time we got in the car together… it was my favorite CD. I don’t know if I should be ashamed of this but, my best friends and I bumped to the Cheetah Girls back in the day as well.
What did your experiences on American Idol teach you as an artist?
American Idol was my first experience in the music industry. I got to see the beautiful creative, collaborative parts, and the nasty, cut throat, vicious parts of the business. I think more than anything though, it made me confident. It taught me that if you as an artist have a gut feeling about something- GO WITH IT. Your songs are your lifeline as an artist, and you should never let anyone take that away.
What gave you the confidence to release your original music for the first time?
Honestly, I have no clue. It was, and still is like pushing a baby bird out of the nest for me haha. With the first few songs I put out, I was younger so I didn’t really have that much say in production, but now I am older and I know what I want out of a song, so I can be a bit of a perfectionist… but at some point you have to step back and say “okay… brain, shut up for a second”. I am always nervous to release new music though because I want the emotion to be conveyed, and my biggest fear is that people wont “get it”.
You’re about to release your new single entitled “Idiot”. What’s the story behind it? Who did you work with?
It’s very unusual for me because I am a very collaborative songwriter, but this one I wrote alone. I rarely ever write about my own personal life but that definitely changed for this EP. “Idiot” was the closing of a chapter for me with someone in my life. I got so used to the feeling of being controlled and lied to that I just became comfortable with it, and then one day I just woke up and I was like… “My God… you’re such an Idiot”. Then this song was born.
What is your goal for this new single?
My goal for this single, and the whole EP has always been to tour with it. I wrote these songs with the intention of performing them live, and even though some of them have a heavier message than a standard pop song, most of the songs are still full of energy and exciting. I just want to go on tour and dance and sing with everybody.
What appeals you the most about songwriting?
As an artist, you have your brand, your genre, so sometimes I feel limited. Like, I wouldn’t put a country song on my EP because it would be super confusing to listeners and my fan base. Being a songwriter, you can write whatever you feel. My main goal when I write a song is, “is this going to make somebody feel something”. I think we live in a world where it has become easy to be numb to a lot of different things, so I try to change that with songs.
What does singing make you feel?
The only time I feel 100% like myself, is when I am on stage. Which is a weird concept because a lot of artists “put on” onstage, but for me, singing makes me feel real. It makes me feel like I am saying something valid to those who want to listen.
As an artist, what are the biggest struggles?
For me, it’s the balance between the industry and the creativity. I would love to just be creative and write and sing all the time, but that is not the case AT ALL for artists. I feel fortunate to have went to a school where I could take publishing, music business, copyright law classes, because if not, I would be way in over my head here.
What do you think of today’s music industry?
I think it’s a great time for unsigned artists. I mean today, if you have a laptop and garageband, you can make a record. (Not saying it would be the greatest record) but, honestly, for creatives, this is a wonderful time because we have tools at our fingertips that just weren’t available 10 years ago.
How’s the pop scene in Nashville? Any artist(s) you’d like to recommend?
The pop scene in Nashville is growing. I think the artists are ready for it to explode, but I also think the industry needs to catch up to them… but for the first time I do feel like the artists are running this movement, and I think that’s so cool. Nashville Pop artists I recommend: Jena, Talia Stewart, Kat Saul.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Say what needs to be said. In a meeting, in a song, over coffee, whatever. Always say what needs to be said.
What makes you happy?
Music, not having to set an alarm, the feeling of finishing a project and being at peace with it, riding around with my windows down (I know so cheesy).
What are your goals for 2019?
My goals for this year is to release my EP in April. I graduate college in May (woot woot!) and then I want to go on tour. Either opening for a band, or just putting a tour together myself and hitting small venues and houses.
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
If everyone would shut up and listen to each other for a second. Like, really listen.
What biggest lessons have you learned about yourself as an artist and as a human being?
I have learned that sometimes I am a lot to handle, but to never apologize for who I am. I have learned to always show up… even if you’ve had a bad day and you don’t want to go into that co-write… show up. I have also learned the value of communicating with your audience. Listening to them, what they like, what they want more of, what touched them lyrically, because they are the backbone of your career.
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