“I want to reach everybody with my music and be a role model for girls of all ages,” says LA singer, songwriter, and actress Ally Barron. “We’re all growing up and going through these issues of boys, being your own woman, and different stages of life. I want to be there for those girls, if they need someone to talk to.” After independently gathering 20 million streams and 4 million YouTube views, the singer sends a letter straight from the heart. Penning lyrics with no filter and singing with real fire, Ally Barron says everything she always wanted to say in her songs. She might caution an ex’s current girlfriend of his proclivities or openly lament holding on to the last relic of a broken relationship. Barron grew up in LA and, although she discovered a talent for singing at a young age, she lacked the self-confidence to sing in front of people. Auditioning for X Factor and American Idol, the latter of which she made it through the 4 producer rounds before being cut, allowed her to gain self-confidence and the comfort of singing in front of a crowd. She started posting covers online in high school, which gained her a following, and during her senior year in high school, she was approached by Awesomeness TV to star in their reality style show Malibu Surf. Along with starring in the show, she also wrote music for it, which led to her transition of writing covers to writing her own songs. After 5 seasons on the air, the show quit production last year and Barron plans to make her music career her focus for 2021. With plans to release her debut EP Sincerely AB in the coming months, she just released the single “What’s Her Number?”, a fierce anthem of female solidarity, as well as an accompanying music video. “I wrote it after a tough relationship,” she reveals about the lead single. “We weren’t together and I knew he was seeing other girls, which obviously makes any situation hard. My first instinct was to focus on what the girl had done wrong until I realized it’s never the girl’s fault, it’s always the sleazy guy. As girls, we should be helping each other out, so it inspired me to write a song based on giving girls warnings about the bad guys out there. Kind of a way of saying get out while you can!”. Moving away from the Bubble Pop that she wrote for Malibu Surf, Barron has found her voice as an artist, having ventured into the genre of Pop-R&B. With plans to keep releasing music and exploring her sound, Ally Barron is an exciting new artist to keep on your radar! You can connect with Ally Barron via the following links:
You started posting covers of pop songs in high school and attracted a following. What can you tell me about your childhood and when your love for music began? Did you grow up always knowing that you wanted to do something with music for a career?
Pretty much. Yeah. When I was really little, I’d say about 7, I kind of realized that singing was something I was semi-good at but I was always extremely scared to sing in front of people. I wouldn’t ever sing in front of my family and would never sing in front of my sister. My sister always did piano lessons and vocal lessons, because she thought she would find a passion in it and she now does sports marketing. I kind of always did it just to follow in my sister’s footsteps, and I ended up finding out that it was something that I liked to do. When I was 12, I finally built up the courage to try out for X Factor and I didn’t make it. I was a little bit bummed, but when I was 15…I just kept singing a little bit to myself, until then…but when I was 15, I decided I wanted to try out for American Idol. That was really the first time that I had sung in front of people and was willing to actually pursue this as a career. I made it past, I think, like 4 of the producer rounds and then got cut right before the celebrity judge round. And I was like “I’m on a roll right now and am comfortable singing in front of people. I’ve done it “x” amount of times for the show already.” If I can do it for these executives, I could do it for people who don’t even understand what music should sound like. We flew up to NY and we met with this songwriter and she was like, “Yeah. I’ll introduce you to a producer in LA.” I went back to LA and met this guy named Tito JustMusic (Christopher Trujillo) and he was, like, a recording engineer for Ariana Grande and a bunch of other people. I started recording covers with him and loved doing that. My first time in the studio, I remember being in the little booth with the door shut. It was just me with the headphones and the microphone and I was like “I can absolutely see myself doing this for the rest of my life.” It was the most amazing experience and I absolutely loved it, so I kept doing covers in high school. I think I did about 5 of them. And then in the middle of my senior year of high school I got asked to be on an Awesomeness TV show called Malibu Surf and my character was a bit of a singer. They asked if I would record music for the show, and that’s when I started making my own music, shifted from doing cover music to original songs. That was a super big step and was really cool. I’ve been doing it ever since. That’s kind of how my whole journey started.
What was being on Malibu Surf like for you? You said that you grew up loving music, but had you ever wanted to act before that? Was it something you had been interested in or was it an opportunity that just kind of presented itself?
It was a little bit of both. It was a different opportunity than I had always pictured it would be, because it was more of a reality show, so it really was like things that were going on in my life, even though TV is obviously a lot different from actual reality. There are cameras there and they have to stage at least some things. But yeah, it was a different type of opportunity. I did take acting lessons when I was a kid and I honestly hated it, because I had an acting coach one time who actually told me I’m bad at acting. From that point on, I was terrified and scarred to do anything with acting. But when this opportunity came up, it was nice because I’ve always been interested in something like this, but I had never had the chance to do it where I’m not acting as a character that’s not myself. That was really cool and was an amazing offer that I’m really grateful for. I’d always wanted to do acting but had just never had the opportunity to because I was terrified that I was a bad actor and I didn’t have the confidence to play a role that wasn’t myself.
You were on Malibu Surf for 5 seasons and then the production of the show ended. Your goal for this year has been to shift your focus to your music career. What can you tell me about the transition from writing music for the show to writing music for yourself? Were the processes different for you?
Yeah. It’s definitely a lot different. One of my biggest fears ever is being vulnerable and having that vulnerability being shown to the rest of the world. I think for the show, I kind of had that cover of “Well, this isn’t really me”. If anyone asked me “What is this about? Who is this about?” I could be like “Well. It’s for the show.” That was a kind of a plus that I had always held onto when I was writing for the show. Now that I have to write for myself, it’s a little bit scarier, but I think it’s also a lot more rewarding because there are experiences that I really am experiencing on my own. They’re very personal and close to my heart. It’s a lot different, but I think the vulnerability is scarier but a lot more rewarding. I don’t really think there was much of a transition. It’s kind of all been the same to me. It’s just the storyline of it and the ability to be vulnerable that has been the main difference between the two.
You have talked about how you’ve gravitated towards more of a Pop/R&B sound and away from the kind of music you were writing for Malibu Surf. What has it been like for you to find your sound as an artist?
It’s been absolutely amazing! I felt like with Malibu Surf I was pushed into this Bubble Pop theme and it wasn’t really what I felt that my voice should be sounding like. And especially when I was making music for the show, there were always deadlines and so I had to have that hard deadline for when the song needed to come out for a certain episode. So I couldn’t tweak the song much. I didn’t feel like I had enough time to really make the song to the point where I wanted it to be and sound where I thought it would sound best. It was kind of just like “Get the song done and put it out. They need it.” Now I have had all of the time in the world to figure out what I want the songs to sound like and what I want my voice to be like, and I’m not writing for someone else. I’m writing for me and it’s been absolutely amazing. I feel like my creative freedom is so much larger than it could have ever possibly been when I was writing for the show. It’s such a rewarding feeling, finally, in getting to feel like you and not having to be someone else’s image of what you should be like.
You just released your new single “What’s Her Number?”, a fierce anthem of female solidarity, which is the lead single from your upcoming debut album Sincerely AB. What can you tell me about the single and what it means to you and the process for writing and recording your album?
So, it’s super exciting. I’m so excited it’s finally out. With “What’s Her Number?”, it was the first time I’d written something after Malibu Surf, so it was a very, very special song to me. I wrote and recorded that song probably a year before I did anything else for my EP. I kind of just sat on it and listened to it all of the time, over and over, and everybody listened to it, like all my friends. It was definitely a lot more special to me than anything else on my EP, just because I had it for so long and was so proud of it for, like, a year before I wrote anything else. The message behind it was just that I’d had this rough guy situation and kept getting sent social media posts from my friends because they seem to think that was the best thing to do for you and your mental health and it’s really not (laughs). Your immediate reaction every single time you see an ex with another girl is to get jealous because you feel replaced and feel like “I should be with them” or whatever. The easiest thing to do is for your friends to be like “You know what? You’re prettier than her or this and that.” This is the first time I really realized that every single relationship I get in and every single time I look at a girl with someone else, I get jealous, and everyone puts down these other girls. I had this mature moment where I was like, I had known the girl and she’s a really nice girl. She’s honestly amazing and has so much going for her. She was about to graduate. I was like “She’s great” and don’t think she should have to be put through the things I was put through with this guy. I went into my writing session and my producer Nick had the beat ready. I was like “I want it to be an upbeat song. Let’s go.” I was having a happy day but it was a little bit of an eerie song but I wanted it to be upbeat and fun. I was telling this whole story to my co-writer Tony and he was like “You know what? What’s her number? This girl could use a warning about the guy that you just had a shitty relationship with. Why don’t we do that?” and I was like “You are so right. Let’s do it.” We started writing and the words just started flowing. I think we finished the song in two hours. It was the easiest thing to write. I was explaining my situation and together we were jotting down so many notes and it just really came together.
You also released a music video for the song. What can you tell me about the idea behind the video and the desire to incorporate vintage elements into the video? What inspired that aesthetic?
I’ve always loved vintagey-type things and vintage elements and had known for a long time that I wanted it to be vintage no matter what the song was. I wanted the song to be upbeat but kind of edgy and eerie when I wrote it, and I think that’s kind of where the dark elements of it came from. All of my other stuff, like for Malibu Surf, were all very like pink and bubbly. I wanted to get away from that, just for my first one, and go completely rogue and have it be dark and not pink at all, just because I was being rebellious on my past stuff. But yeah, I have this little, like, black vintage telephone that I had found and was like “I need to use this.” I loved it and needed it to be dark and vintage and came to my creative musical director Nas and she made literally very single one of my visions come to life. It was insane. I came to set that day and she had everything ready and we were ready to go. After that, with all of the post edits, she just knew my vision and made everything come to life. I’m beyond grateful for her for this new video.
You have said that you want to reach everyone with your music and be a role model for girls of all ages. What does being a role model look like for you and who would you count as some of your role models growing up or currently?
Being a role model for me is just, like…ever since I was on Malibu Surf and gained that fan base, I just noticed more and more so many girls reaching out to me with confidence issues and so many things in their life. When I released “Just Friends”, there were so many girls who were like “I’m going through a situation like this” and “I need help” and “How do you do this?”. I think that just really got me into the mindset of being like this role model for, at the time, young girls and now, with the more mature issues I’ve gone through, girls of all ages. Just in the essence of having that fan base and being able to help girls out there that are going through the same situations as me, and helping them realize they are really not alone in the situations they are going through and being that person to be there for them, if they need that help. In terms of my role models, Rihanna was a huge role model for me when I was growing up. I don’t know why. I loved her vibe and her music and realized when I was older that’s the vibe I wanted. And she was just such a badass. I literally loved her growing up. When I was super, super young, Britney Spears was a huge role model for me. That was the first concert I ever went to. She was a big impact in my life. In high school, when Alessia Cara started releasing music, she released this song called “Seventeen”. I think I was 16 or 17 at the time, and was like “I relate to every single word of this” and I knew, listening to her music, that this is what I wanted to sound like and the type of artist I wanted to be. She was the first artist I really resonated with and I realized that is what I wanted my voice to sound like. Alessia Cara had a huge impact on me. And then, as I started making really Pop music, my taste in music kind of turned into what I liked singing at the time. When I was making my Malibu Surf music, I was listening to a lot of Zara Larsson, so she was another huge influence on me. Right now, I love Tate McRae. Tate McRae is a huge impact on me right now. I love her writing style and I love her music. I feel like I relate to everything she writes. She’s a big one for me right now.
You’ll be graduating from college this spring! What has it been like for you to try to pursue your career while being in school and what are you looking forward to most once you can focus full-time on your music career?
Yeah. I’m so excited to be graduating in I think 2 months at this point! It’s coming up so fast. When I released “DTM”, I was in the midst of being a sophomore in college and my mom just realized that me being in college and trying to relate music at the same time just wasn’t going to happen for me. I’ve been an all-star student ever since high school and have been so focused on my education. It’s been a really, really important aspect of my life. For a long time, education just really came first to me and my career came second. When I released that song my sophomore year, I think she realized that we needed to wait until I was ready to do this. Now I’m finally ready, and it’s extremely exciting. It has been tough still being in school. I’ve been going through midterms for the past 3 weeks and have been doing different things for the song and getting my next songs ready and getting everything for the EP ready. It’s been really tough and extremely stressful at times, but it’s also very exciting and I know it’s going to be extremely rewarding at the end of it. I’m excited, but yeah, it’s been really stressful being in school and doing this at the same time, but I’m excited that after I graduate I’ll finally have the time to sit down and focus on myself and actually make sure everything is in place and right. Covid was honestly a blessing in disguise, as well, because I got the lenience of online school when all of this first started and that was the first time that I felt like I had time away from school to focus on music. That was a little glimpse of what after graduation will be like, with me being able to make sure I have everything right without the distraction of school.
Your upcoming album marks a new chapter for you. What’s next for you and what are some of your goals for your music going forward?
Honestly, just releasing music that’s more Pop/R&B and finally finding my sound and running with it. I feel like this EP is kind of just like a test run on my new sound and seeing how fans react to it and how everybody likes it. It is a little bit different from the stuff I’ve released in the past and I’m still figuring out if my fans are going to be stuck to my old music or how that’s going to go. So this is kind of like my little test run on my new branding and my new sound. I would love to focus on making more music like this and just realizing that it’s ok if people don’t like it. This is my sound and I’m excited to keep doing it and honing in on my new brand and writing about the experiences that I’ve gone through after college and after Malibu Surf and to keep making music.