EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ALI STONE - ALL ABOUT
Colombian producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, and DJ Ali Stone has been making waves with her music, and she’s managed to craft impressive works along the way, composing movie soundtracks, remixing top artists, playing festivals like the Electric Daisy Carnival and being one of the opening acts for Justin Bieber’s Purpose World Tour.
She has won a CDA award, made a remix for Disney’s Monsters University, composed and produced a song for Forever 21, scored & sound designed the horror film “DEMENTAL”, and made an exclusive artist sample pack for the popular music production platform Splice.
After relocating to Los Angeles, Ali has been making songs for the likes of Alan Walker, Alok, Mario Bautista, and Danna Paola, among others, and last year she was part of the first ever female songwriting camp, held by She Is The Music in Nashville, to write and produce songs for Mary J. Blige and The Sisterhood Band.
Stone, a classically trained musician, has been a longtime advocate of the international campaign “Women Working for Women”, which promotes gender equality on male-dominated jobs, and has begun to support the Playing for Change Foundation, which promotes education through music in communities of scarce resources.
Where are you from? I’m originally from Bogotá, Colombia, and I’m currently based in Los Angeles, CA.
When did you start making music? I started my journey in music at age 4 when I began to study classical piano. At the time, I started to write piano pieces. Then, when I started to study guitar at 7, I began to write guitar songs, where all the voicing of verses, pres, choruses, were all guitars. I would write a lot of instrumental music at that time. But when I began producing music, like 6 years ago, that’s when I began to incorporate all the musical elements I learned in my life and began to write lyrics and sing them as well.
How do you describe your music? I’d say my music is eclectic because I always bring all these different influences that paved my musical identity since I was little…I feel those contrasting mixes of classical to 90s pop to rock to electronic make the essence of who I am.
*Photo of Ali Stone
Favorite moment from your career?
I’ve had various moments of joy in my career, but definitely one of the top ones was during the Purpose Tour, when I was opening for Justin Bieber. The energy of the people singing in the stadium to my music was incredible, and the whole experience felt out of this world. I think I’m still processing every detail from that moment.
Who is your biggest musical inspiration? I have many. I look up to Shakira, who is also Colombian. She’s always reinventing herself without losing her essence. I also have drawn a lot of inspiration from ABBA, Muse, and Max Martin.
What is your producing software? Ableton Live & Pro Tools are my main tools. I do all the production on Ableton, since it’s great at handling big sessions with lots of tracks and plugins going in, and I mix in Ableton as well. In Pro Tools, I record everything that’s live, like vocals, guitars, drums, etc, and I master in Pro Tools. So it’s usually a process of going back and forth between those two.
In terms of plugins I use the most for producing, mixing and mastering, there’s Native Instruments’s Komplete 12, The Roland Cloud, Waves, Sylenth, Spire, FM8, T-Racks. I usually upload shots of my production stuff on my socials if you want to check out more of that.
*Photo of Ali Stone
What other things do you do besides making music? I like to read, love to watch horror movies and suspenseful TV series, love to be with my family and friends whenever I have some free time, and I adore traveling! Some years ago, I used to work at a consulting agency making marketing strategies for brands (fun fact: I graduated from Business School), but I’m glad I can now commit to music full time.
What is your favorite track of all time? That’s a hard question…there’s so many songs I love! But one that I’ve always listened to since I was little and never get tired of is “Let it be” by The Beatles. The version they did for the movie “Across the Universe” is really beautiful.
What is your best-producing tip? I think the best thing is to trust your ears. In the end, the thing that will tell you if something sounds right (even if it doesn’t look “right”) is your ears. Also, I feel it’s essential to really know how to use the tools you have. Sometimes people tend to think that having more gear, more plugins, etc will make you sound better. But what will make you sound better is to really comprehend every detail about the elements you have. That way, you’ll be able to make the most out of it with patience, discipline, and always listening very attentively. My phrase to close this would be “it’s the ear, not the gear”.
Why did you start making music? I started making music because I felt and still feel it’s the space where I can express all my emotions, space where I feel comfortable with myself. Since I was little, I remember I was super shy, hated to participate in class and talk in general, but when I got home and started to play the piano or guitar, I could overcome these fears and insecurities I had and become my own “super hero”. So that’s why music has always been so meaningful to me.
What are your upcoming gigs? I’ll be playing in South America this summer as well as on the East Coast, and I’m still getting some more dates for Fall as well. On my website alistonemusic.com you can have more details about each!
*Photo of Ali Stone
What are your goals for the future? As an artist, I want to keep on furthering the reach of my music and to be able to visit those new people my music gets to either with shows, clinics, etc. I also want to keep opening the way for more women and more Latinas that want to go into music production and engineering and link this to a foundation I’m working with to give education on these areas of study in different places. Also, my ultimate dream would be to get to work with Shakira or Max Martin sometime.
What advice can you give for the young music producers/DJs: I think the best advice is to always be very passionate about what you do. If you do something that you love and makes you happy, not only will you have fun but you will also devote yourself to it easier, and that’s very important to build the discipline, perseverance, resilience, patience, focus around music. Also, be very confident about yourself, be your “#1 fan” and always believe in yourself, even when you’re just beginning.
Please write a message to your fans: If anybody wants to send me something to listen to, or any demo to play in my sets, message me on my socials @itsalistone or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org , would love to connect! And if you have any questions regarding music production, songwriting, anything, hit me up in my socials!
*Photo of Ali Stone