By Aaron Allen, The Seattle Medium
Seattle has a rich history in music talent, which seems to continuously grow and evolve with each generation. Born and raised in Renton, Washington, Alena Larie is a young songwriter, producer and singer whose star is on the rise, and who adds her own flare to Seattle’s rich musical legacy.
Her latest single release “Rain On Me” brings a smooth and airy melody but also a transparent honesty to the table. It is a song that addresses the realism of communicating, respect and openness in relationships. Larie’s muse has ballad traditions written all over it.
“Her music is very transparent,” says Ruth Walker, Larie’s manager and mother. “Whether it is about her faith, love, life, hope, whatever, she creates and writes all of music, people who have heard her music love it and can relate to it.”
Singing since the age of 3, Larie comes from a musical family. Both of her parents are musicians. Her mother, Ruth is a pianist and her father, Sherman Walker is a minister and plays the saxophone. As a musician, Larie began her formal training at a young age as a violinist. Continuing her education in music at Central Washington University and Seattle University, music has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember.
Like many Black musicians, Larie’s musical roots stem from gospel. In her evolution as an artist, Larie says that the transition to secular music gave her an opportunity to express herself freely and not put herself in a box.
“It was really important in my genre shift for people to see different sides of me,” continued Larie. “I want them to hear my different sounds and my different bodies of work.”
Her mother agrees, and says that transition has allowed Larie to flourish as an artist.
“She has been able to express herself, which is something that wasn’t allowed in the church world,” says Walker. “So, as much as she wanted to sing Christian music and she was trying to do that, that music did not fit.”
Larie’s talent and skill resemble a young prodigy with an old soul. Lyrically, she writes with emotional depth, fearlessness and thought-provoking prose, a natural flow of speech.
Her songs speak from and to the heart. Her mission is impact, coupled with empathy and hopefully for those who are listening healing and joy. There is a truthfulness in her songwriting as her longtime friend and collaborator Tina Allen attests.
“From a musical standpoint, Alena can sing,” says Allen. “Her music is empowering and poignant, it’s real and beautiful. Her music in and of itself is diverse, you’ll hear ballads, anthems, R&B and I just think that the topics she sings about are relatable to those of different backgrounds and ages.”
According to Allen, Larie “talks about love and relationships, toxic relationships, highs and lows of emotions, hurt and pain, good stuff and not so good stuff, she talks about life and that relates to a lot of people.”
Larie’s producer Jay Battle AKA Qreepz, who has been working with Larie for nearly eight years, was impressed with the talent he found himself working with when they first began collaborating.
“She’s awesome,” says Battle. “She knows exactly what she wants. Lyrically she tries to send a message to help someone who might be in the same situation. That is a remarkable part about her work.”
“In the beginning, she was going for that more Christian, gospel sound,” says Battle. “Today she is more soul, R&B, pop, even more an alternative sound, like an alternative soul. The songs that she writes about they aren’t always traditional like the making love songs or those types of vibes, but she touches on that emotion without being so literal on those points.
As it relates to the current music scene, Larie is a throwback. Her sound is mature, she addresses the up and downs of being in love in a seductive but matter of fact style.
Larie’s songs go deep into truth, trust, loyalty, honesty, openness, communicating and of course being in love and what it takes. But more importantly, she wants to impact and affect her listeners in the hopes that her message may help someone who may be going through the experience of her songs.
“No matter where they come from, I want people to listen to my music and be inspired,” says Larie. “Music is that unspoken language, that is a thread. It connects people no matter where they come from Christian, non-christian, wherever they come from music connects and it is healing.”
“One thing about her music and this comes through in her music is she is real,” says Allen. “She lives her truth, she is a person of substance and she is transparent and people can relate to that. She principled consistent and yeah I think she is an amazing artist.”
Battle agrees, and says that listeners will appreciate her music’s relevancy to their everyday life.
“Give her a chance to speak and if you give her chance, I’m sure you will find something in her music that will help you through your day,” says Battle. “If you want to find a little more light in your life I think Alena, musically, is the one for you.”
In 2020, even through COVID, Larie was able released three singles in “Tonight”, “Loyalty” and “You Said”. 2021 is off to productive start with hits like “Number 9”, “Rain On Me” and the soon to be released “Time.”