If you’ve never heard of Allison Weiss, you’re not alone. The relatively unknown singer-songwriter is still building a following through her impressive social media presence, syrupy-sweet vocals, stinging lyrics and expertly produced tracks. The openly lesbian singer is releasing a new album which was funded through a Kickstarter.com campaign. The album, Say What you Mean, debuts April 16. It plays with pop-punk and 80s-style synthesizer and any fans of Tegan and Sara or Jenny Owens Young are bound to find a new favorite in Weiss. She’ll be performing on March 26 at the Shred Shed, 60 E. Exchange Place, Salt Lake City.
When describing her sound and music, she laughed and said her music is designed to get stuck in listeners’ heads.
“My go-to description is ‘catchy indie-pop about my feelings,’” she said.
And while that is an apt description, there is much more to the album than simple songs about feelings. Lyrics are purposely left open-ended concerning gender and other identifying characteristics. And while Weiss is public about her sexuality, it doesn’t define her career, music or life, she said. After staying in the closet about her sexuality and relationships, Weiss came out to fans in 2009. However, the decision didn’t much affect her fan-base or music, she said.
“I absolutely think sexuality is becoming less of an issue in all aspects of the music industry,” Weiss said. “I know some bands and artists really target the gay demographic, but I try to keep my music and appeal wide.”
Weiss grew up in Athens, Ga., which has a phenomenal music scene and is quite liberal, Weiss said. But she sympathizes with those who live in conservative areas and is a strong advocate for queer youth. Her “It Gets Better” YouTube video has more than 30,000 views and she said she loves when her music and example inspires others to come out and live authentically.
Weiss said she gathers inspiration for her music from various aspects of life, but a lot from her relationship experiences. However, even her breakup lyrics are a little more Adele and not much Taylor Swift.
Her music is smart and snappy and includes turns of phrase such as, “I hate to say I like the way you love to lead me on” while keeping everything nearly radio-ready. After a single listen, listeners are bound to want to go back for more.
“A lot of my songs have that upbeat and happy tone but are really kind of sad emotional,” Weiss said. “As a person and human I just want to have fun. I want people to come to my shows and have a great time. All of us have experienced heartbreak, so I think it’s easy for people to relate to my music.”
Weiss’ current tour is already receiving rave reviews and her album was called a “strong and impressively tart new album” by the New York Times. Weiss demonstrates mastery in writing, performance, marketing and crowd sourcing. It seems to be just a matter of time before she takes her rightful place at the forefront of indie pop.
For tickets to Weiss’ Salt Lake show, go to shredshedslc.com.