Interview: Alisan Porter Talks Past, Present, and Future (including New Music!)

Maybe you remember Alisan Porter from her childhood stint on reality competition show Star Search. Perhaps you know her best from her acting roles, including movies Parenthood and Curly Sue. Or, you were possibly first introduced to her on season 10 of NBC’s The Voice when she became the early favorite and eventual winner of the show.

Wherever you know Porter from, chances are you never forgot her from that first moment she entered your world. That is because she is not only incredibly talented and multi-faceted, she is truly magnetic and shares her crafts from the deepest depths of her soul — and that is a quality you cannot replicate.

As a child, Porter was blessed with many entertainment opportunities, but even throughout her years on the big screen, she always knew music was her calling, explaining it was the place where she “could give the most and get the most back.”

Knowing that music is where her heart is and that she still had so much more to share with the world, a friend signed her up for The Voice. At the time Porter stepped into her blind audition, she was the mother of one and three-year-old children, and “music wasn’t really on the agenda, but once [she] started the process, I was like . . . ‘oh maybe I can do it on a bigger level and maybe I can balance it with kids.’ It started this trickle effect, snowball effect . . . to really push forward and remember ‘oh, I’m also an artist; I’m not just a mother of babies.'”

Once Porter allowed herself to focus on her heart’s desires, apart from parenting her children, she realized that the progression back into a possible music career “felt very natural and normal.” Not only was it natural and normal for Porter to share music with the world again; it was natural and normal for her fans to get behind her and support her journey. That support did not only last throughout the duration of the show — it is something she has carried with her over the last few years as she continues to blossom into the artist she wants to be.

“Of course you have the people who kind of just love the show and they’re just sort of in it for the show. And then there are ones that stick with you no matter what, like afterwards, and I’ve gone through quite a journey since the show. “

The next step in Porter’s journey, and one of which fans can truly be a part, is the release of her new album, Pink Cloud, and its debut single, “Never Could.” At the inception of Pink Cloud, Porter returned to her roots and called on old friend, producer, and songwriter, Matt Rollings. During the creation process, the two longtime coworkers (and co-spiriters, as Porter called them) knew they wanted to up their game from previous album, Who We Are.

“We always sort of said when we were starting to make Pink Cloud that we wanted to make Who We Are‘s hotter, older sister. Like, the version that was more mature and it fit together a little bit more, and it was just such an amazingly easy process because we knew exactly what we wanted to do. I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. The songs literally just fell out of us, and it was just like this beautiful, seamless process.”

As part of the process, Porter traveled from Los Angeles to Nashville in order to write for the album; and if you listen to her new single, “Never Could,” which will be released this Friday (March 29), the country influences are certainly evident. Porter emphasized during our conversation that she has definitely planted seeds in Nashville and has every intention of nurturing those seeds and growing a forest in Music City and the country music genre.

“I love Nashville. I feel the most myself there, musically. I feel like I’m able to be myself there, musically. I think this record is definitely still . . . it has a lot of blues, it has some gospel, and it has some pop flavor, but it’s a country record. And I like to say, I have three things I like to say. I like to say ‘if somebody made a country record in the seventies, I like to say that it’s California country, and I like to say it’s Ally from A Star Is Born. Had she stayed country and not gone pop, this is the record she would have made. It’s throwback, but only in the sense that it’s different genres, but it all feels very much like me. It’s country. There’s no doubt about it; it’s a country record, and it’s intended to be.”

Porter excitedly continued to discuss her official entry into country by paying homage to Kacey Musgraves and Maren Morris, crediting the two award-winning superstars for “breaking the rules for what quote/unquote female country music sounds like, and there’s so much room right now to sort of dabble and figure it out. It’s a really fun time to be making country music.”

From listening to Porter’s voice when she discusses her forthcoming music, she is undoubtedly working directly from the heart and this genre could not be more fortunate to have her spirit and authenticity. While “Never Could” is going to be the tune that, more or less, opens the door for her in this town, she believes its follow-up, the already determined sophomore single from Pink Cloud, is the one that will solidify her positioning in country.

“The next single that comes out after is full blown roots, country, almost like rockabilly. It’s crazy. And we just did what we felt and it was in the moment and it just flowed. It sort of created itself.” The product that Porter and her team, including songwriter Stephanie Smith, created is one that she positively and emphatically states has a place, and from what we have previewed early on, we could not agree more.

With the new single being released this Friday, Porter is ready to start the celebrations and appearances to support her new music. Her first stop is a release event in Los Angeles this Thursday night, March 28, at The Peppermint Club. Following the release party, Porter will be making her rounds to promote her project and has exciting stops on her schedule. Unfortunately, we cannot share what those appearances are just yet, but stay tuned to NashvilleGab’s social media for related announcements!

Other than some upcoming promotional events, Porter is ready to start touring with her new music and working to get it into as many hands as possible.

“This is it for me. Obviously I want to make another record and keep making records, but for me, it’s been like a three-year journey since The Voice and it wasn’t all daisies and roses; it was tough. There was a lot of pushback from the label, they didn’t really get me. They sort of saw me as a mom and someone who couldn’t balance both music and motherhood, and if you know anything about women, they are constant multi-taskers, and that wasn’t an option for me, so it was motherhood and music. Call it ‘M&M.’ You know, I chose this journey, or this journey chose me, and now I feel like it’s my responsibility to give it as much as I possibly can. And I think this record really speaks to that. It’s a record about love. It’s a record about regaining happiness and refinding yourself and knowing exactly who you are and not allowing anything or anyone to come in front of that. It’s a record about freedom and it needs to be heard. These are the things we all need to remember in life and these are the things we all need to connect to, and I feel like . . . you never look away from a pink cloud. You have to notice it. You have to take a picture of it. You always see it, no matter what. A beautiful pink sunset and a sorbet sky, and that’s how I feel about this record. It’s undeniable. You’re gonna have to listen to it. You’re gonna have to get it and love it. Go on a long drive and put your hand out the window, be at the beach, whatever it is. It’s just one of those things that’s like you gotta notice it. It’s just there.”

As an interviewer, how do you even follow up a beautiful, eloquent, and poignant explanation like that? You don’t. You drop the mic, encourage readers to go back, read and re-read the perfect words of an artist explaining her heart’s project, and simply sum it up with some final words from the creator of the music regarding its release:

“It’s so exciting. I’m so, so ready. If you can’t tell. I’m so excited and so ready for it to just be out there and for people be able to connect to it.”

You can pre-save Alisan Porter’s new single, “Never Could,” now by clicking here: https://orcd.co/nevercould. Also, make sure to follow Porter on Instagram, where she shared is the most current and updated platform for fans to consume news regarding her career.

Thank you so much to Alisan Porter and her team for giving us the opportunity to share in this exciting time in a timeless career. We could not feel more honored and privileged to be a small part of the next chapter and are looking forward to many years of sharing the Nashville space with such a talent and beauty (inside and out).

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