What inspires LA-based recording artist Ali Handal to roll out of
bed every morning? Well, when it’s not her oversized cat Indy
meowing loudly in her ear, it’s the opportunity for her to spend
another day expressing her passions through her music.
Ali quit taking piano lessons to pick up the guitar when, in 7th grade,
she got her first taste of Led Zeppelin. Blown away by Jimmy Page’s
explosive riffs and the band’s carnal grooves, Ali was determined
to become involved in rock n roll in any and every way she could.
Three guitar-playing boyfriends later, it struck Ali that perhaps
it might be better to BE in a rock band rather than just date all
the guitar players she knew (funny how her soloing wasn’t improving),
so she got serious about mastering the instrument herself.
Fast forward a few years, and we find Ali exploring themes of passion,
sex, and life as an independent young woman on her debut CD Dirty
Little Secret. The songs range from aggressive funky rockers to tender
ballads but are tied together throughout by Ali’s passionate,
dynamic vocals and insightful lyrics. Oh, yeah—and by her guitar
playing—she played every guitar you hear on the CD.
Her funky rhythm guitar style reveals influences such as John Frusciante
(Red Hot Chili Peppers) and James Brown, while her soloing explores
the blues-infused side of rock n roll, a la Slash, Jimmy Page and
Joe Perry. Ali’s vocal inspirations range from the fervent breathy
wails of ani difranco to the dark, honeyed brooding of Fiona Apple.
Ali’s music has been featured both in film and on television,
including Sex in the City, Life As We Know It, Joan of Arcadia, Dawson’s
Creek, and many shows on MTV & VH-1. Ali’s songs have won
prizes in several contests (John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Unisong,
ASCAP), and her music has been heard around the world from airplanes
(Northwest/KLM In-Flight Entertainment) to pop concerts in South Africa
(Ali’s song “While You’re Here” was recorded
by a South African TV star).
With her newest CD, “Breathing Underwater,” Ali taps into
her softer side with an intimate vocal delivery reminiscent of Norah
Jones and Sarah McLachlan, painted over lush acoustic guitar work
(again, Ali plays all the guitars you hear on the CD). Throughout
the album, Ali creates a delicious intimacy between artist and listener,
treating the theme of love lost in her uniquely bittersweet way, as
well as offering up several atypical love songs written for various
members of her family.
As Ali consistently moves forward in her career, she continues to
explore themes of passion, sex, love, and the inner battle between
fearless independence and the longing for companionship that defines
both Ali Handal the person and Ali Handal the recording artist.