Interview: ALITA Talks Single Inspiration, Mothering Men and Her Many Musical Talents

ALITA © Mason Miller
ALITA © Mason Miller
ALITA demolishes societal norms while calling out those childish men who behave like little boys
Stream: “I’m Not Your Mother” – ALITA




Regardless of who you are or your gender, do your best to learn how to sit alone in your emotions. Go inward.

Passionate pop talent ALITA is fearless when it comes to speaking her mind. Her new gutsy single “I’m Not Your Mother” is a prime example of that. Throughout time there have been certain stereotypes placed on women and non-men, especially when it comes to relationships.

We all can picture the typical ’50s housewife: She is the one who cooks, does the laundry and is under an immense societal pressure to present a perfect appearance not only for her husband but also to the world at large.

when I met you,
I tried so hard to get you
I shrunk two sizes just so I could fit into your world view, oh no, oh no
when you met me,
I lived my life in 2D
I couldn’t rise so I obliged and compromised my dignity for you, for you

ALITA’s track shatters those dated perceptions by firmly expressing her refusal to “mother” her partner.

Giving a voice to women’s rights, she advocates for people of all genders to be seen as equals—and that includes in the eyes of one’s significant others. With an empowering message, intoxicating melody and rich raspy vocals, the track shines with a unique radiance.

I look around and all I see
watered down versions of me
all my colors fade
when you take & take
I just gotta say
I’m not your mother
I’m your lover & your friend
every woman knows there’s little boys
And full grown men
They both need to hold your hand
I’m not your savior
I’m done with doin favors
So if you need a mama go back to the one that made ya
Oh no, oh no

In premiering her last single “Bodies” last summer, Atwood Magazine contributor Ben Beamish praised ALITA as a forward thinking pop artist: “In a day and age where male R&B artists explore topics such as intimacy and sexuality bluntly, it’s evident that there’s a sense of disconnect – that women aren’t expressing themselves as freely when it comes to these topics. ALITA takes this sentiment one step further, using her song as a vessel to drive positive change within the music industry and the way female artists choose to express their sexuality… “Bodies” is an open celebration of female sexual expression.”

ALITA is a feminist navigating the obstacles of adulthood. She retains candidness throughout her offerings, allowing listeners to connect deeply to her stories. As her fan base continues to grow, her aim is to be a role model for her audience. In being authentically transparent within her music, she hopes it will allow others to learn to be more open and honest as well.

Atwood Magazine spoke with the artist, discussing her progression in sound, relationship advice and more.

ALITA - I'm Not Your Mother Cover
“I’m Not Your Mother” cover art © ALITA © Austin Hodaie



A CONVERSATION WITH ALITA

ALITA - I'm Not Your Mother Cover

Atwood Magazine: Your pop-R&B hit ''I'm Not Your Mother'' possesses a highly soulful quality reminiscent of fierce artists like Ariana Grande and Beyoncé. What sparked your evolution from a feel-good pop style to a more sultry sound?

ALITA: Wow—thank you! What a compliment. It actually means a lot that you described it as soulful, because that was my number one intention in this new evolution of music. That’s always been at the centre of who I am as a singer and performer, but it’s been a journey coming home to that. When I entered the music industry, I had no idea what kind of music I wanted to create and I wrote all styles—for myself and others—so finding my own voice was a challenge. At one point, all the songs I had sounded completely different from one another. So I just picked my top favourites, and started releasing. I needed to start somewhere. Once I started actually letting songs go out into the world, that’s when I started noticing what felt true to me & what strayed away from that. The centre of this year’s music is to bring soul back to pop music, and find a way to blend & deconstruct genres.

The song is all about knowing your worth and liberating yourself from the expectations society has placed on women throughout history. What inspired this empowering anthem?

ALITA: I had this concept mulling around in my head for a while. I had the title in my mind already, so I went into the studio one day with that plan in mind. It was inspired generally by my own coming of age, and my growing understanding of what it means to be a woman in 2021. We’ve made huge strides in gender equality and women’s rights, and yet there are these subtleties that seep into every interaction—unspoken expectations on who is going to bear the emotional responsibility of a relationship, whether it’s romantic or not. I started noticing it more in my own dating experiences, at my work, in my friendships, in my friend’s relationships. And I wanted to talk about it. I wanted to write a song that explored it. I know I’m going to get mixed reactions to it, but to me that just points to the truth that lives in the song. If it’s triggering people, I believe that’s because they feel called out—and good. That was my hope. I hope it forces people to have difficult conversations with themselves and their partners, and I really hope it gives women the courage to leave relationships that aren’t equally serving them.




The track also touches on a specific relationship where you felt as if you were ''mothering'' your partner. What advice can you provide to other women who feel they are stuck in a similar relationship?

ALITA: I’m not sure I’m the best one to give advice on the topic. I notice and observe it, which is why I wrote about it, but I still don’t really know the answer. I like to write from this strong, empowered place, but I know how challenging it can be to leave someone you love. Even if you know it isn’t right. So I guess I’d just say: Regardless of who you are or your gender, do your best to learn how to sit alone in your emotions. Go inward. Do the work of getting to know yourself. Be brutally honest with yourself. The relationships that don’t serve you will start to show themselves. And then it’s all about finding the courage to let go, which I’m still trying to figure out.

The sassy song blends live strings, deep bass and punchy pop synths. How did ''I’m Not Your Mother'' develop sonically?

ALITA: It was the very first song I wrote on my very first day in the studio with my producer, Zach Nicita. We started working together last year, and honestly the whole experience was very organic. I told him, “Hey I wanna write this song called ‘I’m Not Your Mother’”, and we first started playing with this jazzy piano intro. That’s when I wrote most of the melodies & lyrics, and then we graduated to the plucky string sound for the verse. The second day in the studio, Jesse Saint John joined us. I was so excited to meet & work with him, and so we showed him what we had worked on the day before. He loved it & helped write the chorus melody & the second verse. I vividly remember this one moment: We were on the couch writing in the back of the room, and Zach was playing with the post-chorus moment. In like 5 minutes, he came up with this weird distorted string bend thing and both Jesse and I turned around at the same time and were like, “That’s it, keep going.” Zach really struck gold in that moment, and honestly that post-chorus section informed a lot of the rest of the production ideas Zach and I created. I had decided at one point that I wanted a ton of live strings, and so one of the last things Zach and I did was compose the bridge & last chorus. I pulled in Phil Peterson to layer live strings on top, and that was when it really felt whole. When Zach and I listened back for the first with the live strings, we were in awe. I’m so proud of the production on this one.

Overall, I just trust my ear and my instinct. I hear the music in my mind, and I try my best to communicate that out loud.

ALITA © Mason Miller
ALITA © Mason Miller



Your lyricism is so sincere and candid. What has allowed you to be so vulnerable and voice your feeling so passionately?

ALITA: I tried the whole generic pop songwriting thing, and it just didn’t feel nearly as good as writing more specifically what I’ve been experiencing. I’m proud of what I’ve put out in the past, because it tells a part of my story and it was a joy to create it all. But I did know this next evolvement had to be raw and honest, otherwise it wasn’t a true evolvement in my writing. I used to get really defensive when my best friends or family would be like, “I like this but it doesn’t feel like you. I can’t really hear the uniqueness of you.” I was like, what the hell do you mean? I worked so hard on this. It’s me, I swear. But it wasn’t really me. I think at one point in the past I was worried that writing so openly & steering away from the more “down the middle” pop writing wasn’t going to be “catchy” enough to be marketable—which is a dumb thing to think about—but creating a career in music is a marriage between creativity & business, so I really have to think about those things. Ironically, I see now that I’m much more likely to find success if I’m really leaning into myself and my stories. And it just feels better. It feels real now.

I understand you are born and raised in the Seattle area. What is the music scene like in that city and how has living there influenced your sound?

ALITA: I know where I grew up has undoubtedly shaped who I am and what I write, but not consciously. There is one song in particular that is kind of an ode to the Pacific Northwest, but more lyrically than anything else. Obviously grunge and rock runs deep in Seattle. I almost feel like Seattle is in a weird limbo musically. There’s so much talent here, but it’s not recognized as a music mecca like it used to be. I grew up in the day of MTV & CDs so a lot of my favourite music came from beyond my hometown.

You are not only a singer, but also a songwriter and producer. How did you acquire such a multitude of talents?

ALITA: I don’t know. I’ve been writing songs since I was a kid, and I think my writing skills have gotten a lot better even over the last year. I really have been co-producing pretty much all of my music for years now, but in the past I never felt like I deserved to have a production credit because I wasn’t the one sitting at the computer clicking shit. I thought that’s what it meant to be a producer. Thankfully I work with someone like Zach, who really puts his ego aside and only has the intention of making the best music possible. He was the one who told me I should be considered a co-producer on our work together, because it is truly collaborative. It’s kinda lame that I needed his approval before daring to give myself that recognition, but there’s a lot of that bullshit in the industry. So to answer your question, I’m not sure how I acquired any of it. I love music and have been writing for so long, and I just keep practicing and getting better. I also work with people who are way better than me at skills I’m trying to strengthen, and that helps a lot too. Overall, I just trust my ear and my instinct. I hear the music in my mind, and I try my best to communicate that out loud.



On the topic of talents, are there any other gifts you possess that are unrelated to music?

ALITA: I know how to knit. Only a basic stitch, but I am a badass at making scarves and really cozy blankets. I think I’m good at relationship building & communicating—that comes in handy. I like design, I like reading. I can bark like a Chihuahua if I’ve had a couple drinks.

If you could collaborate with any other artist or musician of your choosing, who would that be?

ALITA: Right now it’s Jon Bellion. God, I’m obsessed with everything he touches. But I mean: Rihanna, Leon, India Arie, Ariana Grande, Barbra Streisand, Leon Bridges, Troye Sivan. So many people.

Speaking of other artists and musicians, are there any you are currently listening to that you can recommend to our readers?

ALITA: Here are a few of my recent favorites. Dig in, people.

  1. “Cupid’s Curse” – Kehlani, Phora
  2. “Love Blind” & “Tongue Tied” – Wens
  3. Everything LEON has ever put out
  4. SIX60’s self-titled album is out of this world!

SEATTLE’S ALITA EXUDES INTIMACY, FEMININITY, AND SENSUALITY IN LIBERATING “BODIES”

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ALITA - I'm Not Your Mother Cover

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📸 © Mason Miller 

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