By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
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In 2005 Aloha Mischeaux made her national singing debut before an audience of millions when she ranked among the top 24 contestants on the insanely popular American Idol. Although she didn't score a recording contract, she did take from the experience both a sizeable fan base and some invaluable insight on the way show business works.
After Idol, she continued to study her craft at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, where she would eventually like to return. "People might look at me and think I'm an LA chick, but I'm more of a New York girl," she comments. "I'm hardcore," she adds in her toughest Brooklyn accent.
Aloha says that her style of music recalls that of Aaliyah or Brandy, while Randy Jackson has compared her voice to that of Beyoncé Knowles. Her music is definitely "radio friendly," as evidenced by her single "They Be On Me." The track matches Aloha's crystal-clear vocals with a well-produced pop/R&B instrumental. Regardless of how some people may feel about the genre, it's clear that this girl can sing.
The University City alum is currently back in St. Louis preparing to launch her professional career. With some of our brightest local artists and producers backing her up, Aloha's chances at a major label deal are looking very solid. B-Sides spoke with her about her past experiences, current engagements and plans for the future.
B-Sides: What's the most important thing you learned while going to school in New York?
Aloha Mischeaux: How to network, for sure. I learned how to get into record labels. [Laughs] I used to pretend I was a student at NYU, like a marketing major or something, and I'd get names off the back of CDs and just ask for those people. Sometimes I would actually get into the office, and then eventually I'd get kicked out — but it was a great experience.
Do you plan on branching out into dancing or acting?
Definitely. After I release one or two albums, I'd like to go back to Broadway for at least a year. I grew up singing, dancing and acting, so I want to use everything I've got. Music lives in my heart, but I'm a brand. I want to brand myself as "Aloha Mischeaux" not just "Aloha the recording artist."
How long have you been writing songs?
Since I was about ten — but good songs? [Laughs] Maybe since I was around fifteen. That's when I had my first boyfriend, and, of course, I wrote a song about him. I used to have one of these [voice recorders], and I would write my music by humming or singing into it.
Do you have a role in your music's production?
Oh, of course. I get these ideas in my head about how a song should go, and I'll take them to Bradd [Young], and he'll compose them. Not only is it good for business, but I think people respect you more when you're more involved with the whole process, you know? I'm not just a pretty girl singing. I'm living and writing and telling my story.
Do you mess around with any of the production gear [keyboards or drum machine]?
[Laughs] No, I leave that part to Bradd. I picked up the guitar for a while, but I like keeping my nails done — I'm still a girly-girl when it comes to that — so I'm learning the piano now.
Is Bradd Young your go-to producer?
He's more than a producer; he's like my brother. We have great chemistry, and it used to be that I wouldn't feel comfortable finishing a record without him, because I'd been spoiled by him for the last three years. But Rockhouse is a family, and we all pull from each other's music. From album to album, there's always a cohesive musical element.
What exactly is Rockhouse?
It's our little crew. It consists of myself, Bradd Young, Vega Da HeartBreak Kid, Mai Lee, Donnie Banks and June 5th. We call ourselves "The Outsiders" because we're kind of like the high school stereotypes; I'm like the prom queen, Bradd's the rebel, June 5th is kind of like the mean girls...
Is there a release date set for the album?
There's no date, but we have a goal. Right now I'm working on getting an EP out, because in all this time I've never put any music out in St. Louis. I'm hoping to give the streets something by the summer, before the major project comes out.
Anything else you're working on?
I'm auditioning for the TV show Glee. Hopefully that will work out, because that's exactly who I was in high school. I was in the choirs, I was in the musicals — I was a big geek! While everybody else was out smoking at lunchtime, I was on the stage, like, "Look at me!"