Vegas Based looping artist John Allen shares some words with singers about, well, going beyond the words…
John Allen (aka Just Alliance) is a Las Vegas-based vocal loop artist that has performed on the famous Las Vegas Strip and recently completed a national tour.
He’s performed at NAMM, international looping competitions, served as an artist in residence and conducts music workshops in schools across the country.
What’s something different you bring to the table as a singer?
Well, I actually started out as a trumpet player. This has led me to large elements of improvisation and an emphasis on the texture within the sound rather than having lyrics be the focal point.
So lyrics aren’t the only part of “vocal music” that can set a scene?
From the late night, last call and lonely piano on Sinatra’s “One For My Baby” or the opening of Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,” the music itself dictates a mood and message without a single word.
What should singers focus on when they really want to connect with their music?
The effects on your voice, key signatures, time signatures and where the melody sits in your range establishes mood just as much as a lyric will.
One influential singer, and what it is that makes them stand out to you?
Freddie Mercury combined technique, presence, conviction and songwriting into an incredible force that has yet to be matched.
Biggest challenge to breaking out and sharing your music with new people?
The biggest challenge is not getting down on yourself when your music doesn’t get the traction or momentum that you want.
Some things that’s worked for you in reaching a larger audience?
Having a versatile show and workshop that reaches across wide age groups and musical genres has made it easier for my music to reach a wide audience.
A performance FAIL?
A few years ago while onstage, my mic cable decided the floor of the NAMM Show was a great place to stop working. (Thanks for saving the day Monster Cables!)
Favorite Vocal Gear and Why?
I use an Electro Voice ND767 microphone that has been with me for a number of years due to its fantastic sound, durability and ability to capture vocal nuances and (!) handle vocal percussion.
A musical lesson you’ve learned the hard way?
You can never be over prepared, have too many extra cables, or ever get to a gig and set up too early.
A vocal-singing lesson you’ve learned the hard way?
Performing in the rain for two hours when it is chilly and windy is never a good idea.
A few ingredients of a memorable vocal performance?
Knowing your gear well enough that all of the dials, cords, buttons, screens and knobs become an extension of yourself and also getting your audience involved. They paid for a ticket, might as well include them!
Most important lesson you have learned about vocal health?
In-ear monitors save you from straining your vocal capacity and from over compensating, and saves your lower back from having to lug floor monitors on tour. (Win/win)
Just Alliance (aka John Allen) is a Las Vegas-based vocal loop artist that has performed on the famous Las Vegas Strip and recently completed a national tour. In addition to performing, he is an active educator and has been invited to workshop schools across the country. His blog, videos, tour schedule and more can be found at: