Allison Iraheta’s name may evoke memories of American Idol and how this season eight rising star won over audiences with her soulful and resonant voice. Allison is rocking the music scene with her band Halo Circus. I was fortunate enough to catch up with her this week to discuss the latest happenings within the band.
Q: Hello, Allison! Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. Will you tell us a little bit about Halo Circus?
A: This was a project that presented itself naturally. When I started working with Matthew Hager (bassist and producer) of our band, it was looking more like my second solo album. I think it was after the third song when we realized this needed to be a band. The songs just unfolded a real honesty in all of us that needed a band to represent and protect it. We have become a conversation and more than just an idea. We have turned into a band that is described as “very heavy” or “very light”; A band that you have to see live if you really wanted to get to know us.
Q: And prior to 2013 you’ve had various solo projects and collaborations with other artists?
A: Yes, I was fortunate enough to release an album on Jive Records called Just Like You. Being on American Idol gave me the opportunity to work and perform with legendary artists such as Cyndi Lauper, Slash, Fergie, and so many more.
Q: Allison, you have this beautiful voice that, if you don’t mind me saying, is a perfectly mixed cocktail of Pink and Taylor Dayne topped with desperate earnest. What adjustments, if any, have you made to your vocal style now that you are fronting a band?
A: Wow, thank you! The more we wrote for this album the more I realized my Ranchera history was going to influence a brand new style of singing for me. By really thinking about my influences, and how I wanted my story to be heard, that had a lot to do with the sound of my voice and even gave me more of a range and control I didn’t have before.
Q: Halo Circus is releasing its debut album in 2016, yes? In what formats will it be released?
A: It will be everywhere for people to enjoy.
Q: Halo Circus does a fantastic cover of “Do You Believe In Shame?” which was originally performed by Duran Duran in 1989. Is this the title track from your debut album?
A: Our version of “Do You Believe In Shame?” was on the 2013 Duran Duran tribute album called Making Patterns Rhyme alongside other great covers by Moby, Warpaint, and more. We recently released the music video for it that we’re really proud of.
Q: The band’s sound is mature beyond your years. What are some of the influences affecting the Halo Circus sound?
A: The biggest one would have to be my background. Growing up in South Central [California] will give you a different perspective on things. Also I grew up singing Rancheras. That played a huge part in writing our melodies and lyrics when it came to speaking truth behind emotion. Listening to Paul Williams, Brenda Lee, and Roy Orbison also played a huge part. Then you combine that with everyone else’s perspective in the band and that creates an incredible loud statement. We’re just a rock band that wants to speak our truth.
Q: I want to take a moment to give a shout to your drummer, Veronica Bellino, as there are so few women out there behind the kit. Tell me what kind of artistry Veronica brings?
A: She definitely deserves the respect and attention from the whole world. I love her to death. We all know how incredible she is, not just anyone can play with Jeff Beck and DMC [of Run DMC]. She’s soooo talented and we’re lucky to know and be in the same band with her. We think she is a bad ass!
Q: You come from an El Salvadorian family correct, Allison? Can we anticipate any Spanish tracks on the anticipated album?
A: Yes there will be a few bilingual songs in the album that we can’t wait to share with everyone.
Q: You sing your heart out on “Yo Me Voy”, which is the Spanish version of “Gone”, is that right? What inspired you to perform this track in Spanish?
A: Since it was the first song I had released in a long time it was almost like making a statement to everyone that this was what they could expect from me from now on. Every part of me. Spanish and English.
Q: Do you get any requests from fans to cover songs by Hispanic artists?
A: Yes I do. A lot of Rancheras are in the mix. It’s always fun to hear people’s requests.
Q: Halo Circus is playing The Troubadour in Los Angeles, California on December 14th. Will this be the first time audiences will hear material from your new record?
A: We actually played our very first show there and people got to hear a lot of the songs that will be on the album. Now, three years later we are going back with more evolved versions of some of the songs we played the first time. The night will be a huge thank you to the fans that were there the first time and the new ones we have made along the way.
Q: Any touring expected to promote the album in 2016?
A: We will definitely be making face time with our fans and we can’t wait.
Q: What else would you like to say to our readers and fans out there?
A: Just a huge thank you and that we love them [our fans] very much. [We] can’t wait to be playing in front of them when we hit their home town! Come out to our show and party with us December 14th at the Troubadour!
Check out Halo Circus’s video for “Do You Believe In Shame?”
Photography credit to: Nick Egan
Written By: Amanda Knight @AmandaJill82