An Artistic Journey: Music, Heartbreak, and Healing with AL
In an exclusive interview with Deccan Chronicle, Allen Ling talks about his latest video single, "Remember," and Collaborations, Creative Process, and Balancing Multiple Passions.
Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind your latest video single, "Remember," and how the collaboration with Dave Lopez came about?
“Remember” was a spontaneous creation when I listened to an instrumental beat written by Edmond Clare, a long time friend of Dave Lopez and talented composer in his own right. We were in the practice studio and Dave played some of Ed’s tracks and when I started singing and words came out of my mouth and the song “Remember “ was born. I was in a nostalgic but in a happy place when that song's lyrics and melody came out. It’s a sad song no doubt, but it talks about another aspect of my relationship in the trilogy.
The autobiographical trilogy you've created revolves around themes of heartbreak and healing. How did you decide on this narrative arc, and what message do you hope listeners take away from the trilogy as a whole?
Actually, the trilogy was never really planned. The first two songs (“Straight Into the Ocean” and “A Name in your Book”) were written in 2018 right when the break up happened. “Remember” was written in 2023. There was an almost 5 year gap. If there’s a message, it was to let everybody hear about my experience, and that no one is alone in their heartbreak pain .
Congratulations on the success of "Remember" on global music charts. How does it feel to see your work recognized alongside well-established bands like Foo Fighters, Metallica, Linkin Park, and Daughtry?
I was totally stunned and shocked! That said, my team of collaborators are Platinum, Grammy and Gold record artists and creators. So because I have a team with a successful track record, my “deck was stacked” so to speak with outrageous talent already. That’s probably why we hit # 1 on two Global Radio Charts and in fact on one of them the track stayed there for 2 weeks or more.
The production of "Remember" is described as having a timeless quality reminiscent of the late '90s/early 2000s pop-rock era. What drew you to this particular musical style, and how do you balance nostalgia with creating something fresh and contemporary?
Dave and Reto Peter our engineer and mixer, really worked hard to produce and fine tune the recording. Dave poured his heart into the guitar solos and arrangements. Reto picked at my vocals and even working and lyrics. It was truly a team effort.
Your collaborative project involves a range of talented artists, including those associated with GunsNRoses and Third Eye Blind. Can you share more about the creative process and dynamics of working with such a diverse group of musicians?
I’ve worked with “Brain” Bryan Mantia who is one of the premier rock drummers in the world, and Melissa Reese who now plays keyboards and does background vocals for GunsNRoses in their live tour. Dave introduced me to Arion Salazar, the former bass player for Third Eye Blind. All of them played and did arrangements on several of my songs and therefore what you have on my productions are world class artist performances and arrangements. I’ve spared no effort or expense to bring on board the best performers to create renditions of my songs.
In addition to your music career, you run a successful Physical Therapy Business and curate Comic Books. How do you balance these different aspects of your professional life, and do they influence each other in any way?
I’ve been doing Physical Therapy as a career for decades. My clinic business took a beating during the pandemic but my team there is now stable, the clinic profitable and morale high. Healing patients keeps me grounded and feeling relevant. The comic book creation and publishing came about in 2015, a year after my father died. I’ve always loved comics since I was a child, and actually drew comics and was considered an art prodigy as a teenager. I did music also in high school and part of college and graduate school, but I had to walk away from it all when I started my PT business. Now that I’m established and more focused on being able to juggle many endeavours after building foundations for all of them, I’m able to have a personal and rich creative life at this juncture of time.
Can you shed some light on your approach to songwriting? How do you typically begin the process, and what role do personal experiences play in shaping your lyrics?
My songs typically always have to begin with an emotion, and then the lyrics hook, then the melody. Sometimes the verses come first and then the hook, but that’s like 40% of the time. As far as personal experiences, it’s always been my nucleus of song generation for my lyrics. It’s almost always a conversation (even with just myself) that sparks a great hook and chorus idea.
Looking ahead, what can fans expect from you in terms of future projects or collaborations? Are there any particular themes or musical styles you are eager to explore in your upcoming work?
I am moving into hybrid collaborations, some hip-hop with levity, and adding a little humour to my heartbreak ballads. Of course, I’m still doing love songs which is my go to place. I’m getting ready to go on a promo tour in 2024, and focusing on India and other East Asian countries.
Watch ‘Remember’ here.