My name is Alisa Turner and I am a singer/songwriter. Home for me right now is Nashville. I grew up a pastor’s kid, so many places have been my home. I travel around singing my songs for whoever is nice enough to show up and listen. ~Alisa Turner
Alisa has been a part of my life for almost a decade. She opened for Robbie Seay Band at a concert I coordinated in 2008 and we had the blessing of hosting her in our home for a few days. She instantly became a part of our family and just as instantly, we became her biggest fans. I have journeyed with her through the dark days of her illness, broken dreams, and the tragic loss of her infant son. I have also shared the joy of her successes and fulfilled dreams. She is honest, raw, inspiring and faithful. Boy, is she faithful! If anyone in this world has a reason to quit on faith, Alisa is that one. But she continues to fight fiercely for the God whom she loves and who fiercely loved her first.
When I sat with Alisa, I imagined that her answers couldn’t possibly surprise me. I was wrong. Even with knowing her for almost 10 years, I learned new things about her, her life and her ministry. I think you will enjoy getting to know Alisa through our unique, insightful and personal time together.
Before getting into the interview, Alisa’s self-titled EP is available for preorder on all major music platforms. Alisa Turner EP is set for global release on August 25th. Check out our First Look and be on the lookout for our forthcoming album review. You’re going to want this album.
In three or four words, how would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard of you before?
Alisa: Passionate, emotional, storytelling, creative.
Who would you say is your target audience? Who do you want to reach with your music?
Alisa: This question is probably more appropriate for business but I would say probably 20’s and 30’s and maybe early 40’s.
Maybe not as much of a target age group but those who might be struggling?
Alisa: I don’t necessarily want to figure out what is trending but I want to try to figure out how can I relate to someone in a universal way.
What was the first song you ever sang on a stage?
Alisa: I don’t remember the title but I sang with my dad (who was a worship pastor) and it was at church for Father’s Day.
How have different seasons, struggles and joys, in your life influenced your music? Your words. Your style.
Alisa: They have greatly influenced if not literally been my music. They’re the moments I have endured and the words I have spoken. I try to keep my music very real and genuine without fancying it up. I’ll put it all right into the song.
This is what makes Alisa so reachable and real as an artist. She puts her pain, her experiences, her joy, her life into words. People hear in her music what they wish they could articulate.
What artists have influenced your music the most?
Alisa: My Dad was a worship pastor so worship music was always a big part of my life. He loved Chicago and Karen Carpenter. Naturally, I fell in love with them too. MWSmith, Amy Grant and to this day I still love their music. More recently, I’m a big fan of Sara Bareilles and Adele. They are all very passionate singers, emotional and put 100% of themselves into the songs they sing. I love an incredible vocalist, not just for the talent they have but the words they are singing.
Of your songs, which is your favorite? Why?
Alisa: 9 Verse Song and Breathing are staples for me. 9 Verse is a great way to break the tension and help the audience quickly get to know who I am. Breathing allows me to connect with the heart of the audience.
What has been your biggest challenge as a musician?
Alisa: Probably my memory. After all the years I spent very ill, I have learned to live on a system of notes and alarms. I’m known as the post-it girl.
What is your biggest motivator to keep writing, singing, performing, touring?
Alisa: I literally can’t turn off this inner fire that fuels me. I thought at one time that this was just too much. “I had a good run, I’m just going to lay down and put this dream to bed.” That lasted for about 2 weeks. Even though I was very sick at the time and couldn’t pursue a lot, not having that dream alive was killing me. There’s just something in me that has to do it.
What is the craziest thing that has happened to you on the road?
Alisa: I think the craziest show I’ve played was a polka festival. To this day I’m not sure what the audience thought but they were very polite. And quiet. Neither of us expected the other.
Who or what do you take along with you on every road trip?
Alisa: If I’m traveling by myself I will always be with at least one dog. Everyone knows me as the hot cocoa girl so I travel with my little pack of cocoa ingredients. You will always find me with healthy snacks. I’m like a walking grocery store.
Who is your biggest fan?
Alisa: I would have to say you are one of my biggest fans. But my mother in law, Esther, and of course, my husband, Jaime. He would be at every show if he could be.
What other musicians/bands have you worked with in the past? Most recently?
Alisa: I’ve toured with People of the Earth, Jeremy Rosado, one of the finalists on American Idol. In the past, I’ve had opportunities to sing with TobyMac and All About Worship and Robbie Seay. Robbie actually produced my very first record. My new EP was produced by Michael Farren. (Grammy-nominated, Dove Award winner)
What advice would you give to a struggling artist? Or just anyone wanting to pursue a musical career?
Alisa: Practice. Practice. Practice! Put hours into your craft. Some people are naturally gifted and others have to work hard but either way, you’ve got to put hours into what you are doing. Do something. Anything. Whether that’s booking a show or writing a song or sitting down at the keyboard, there’s always something to be doing. Getting started is the hardest part. Put your running shoes on and keep going.
In what areas do you hope to grow in terms of your musical career 5 years from now?
Alisa: I’ve loved doing everything and I’ve grown so much in my confidence. But I would love to grow my business without losing myself as an artist. It’s been a few years since I’ve had to sleep in my car between shows but it would be nice to bring a little money home to pay the bills.
It’s abundantly evident from Alisa’s life and music so far that her whole being is in every word and every note of her songs. You can believe her when she says,
“I want to share from the heart and keep it real. I want to be a blessing.” ~Alisa Turner
To close out our interview, I asked Alisa to fill in these blanks.
Without music, I would be “a ballerina”.
Music is “therapy”.
My music makes me feel “at peace”.
I write my songs because “it’s the only way I know how to get out what needs to come out”.