IDALEE is Starting Over.
After dropping out of college, setting up a music machine in Los Angeles, and then burning it to the ground, it took a while to get his head screwed back on. But it’s on now.
The Story Of Idalee
HE CAME TO IN THE HOSPITAL WITH A CRIMINAL COURT SUMMONS
And he narrowly escaped jail – simply because no one was in the car he smashed into. Drunk and on cocaine he crashed his car into a parked government vehicle and put his head through he windshield.
After years in Los Angles making music, his lifestyle caught up with him. It squandered his demo deal with Geffen Records and his relationships with some music industry heavy hitters. He brought his demons with him when he moved back home to the Washington D.C. area. And he finally ended up in a stretcher.
He’d had a number of softer wake up calls before – but he says this was the one that came right before death. He feels this was his true second chance at life and he had to make good on it.
IDALEE is all about second chances.
Starting Now is a debut EP for IDALEE to be relased in January 2016. It’s packed with songs about new leaves, old habits and getting over the past. To explain his sound in industry jargon-ese; it’s melody driven alt-pop with a folk foundation and charged with purposeful synth.
The album is produced by Ethan Kauffman, veteran indie producer in Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angles, and mixed by Will Briere. They have some pretty great credits under their belt – most notably work on the Killers’ Hot Fuss album. IDALEE’s EP blends electronic punch and folk songwriting aesthetics.
On an album titled “Starting Now,” you’d think its title track would be enough to inspire forward motion and starting over. And inspire it does. But a song like “Fury” gets to the heart – or maybe the gut – of what makes such hitting-of-the-reset-button necessary. There are bold words in that track. They ask, what if you really are who you imagined you could be? What if the reality were better than the dream?
What if you had the strength to prove yourself right?
This is the stuff renewal is made of, and it’s the stuff that IDALEE is made of. IDALEE was born from the dust of old dreams and the clay of something better.
To add to that, IDALEE’s role in a nonprofit-backed in-prison music documentary, “Heal,” makes it clear that, when it comes to starting over, everyone gets a second chance. Seriously. Everyone.
While he may have narrowly escaped incarceration himself, fate led him to take an opportunity working with the incarcerated population in America. He has been working with prisoners for years now. He’s been a videographer for Prison Fellowship, using video story telling to shine a light on lives that are truly changed, and how hard it can be to get a true second chance.
After an especially emotional trip visiting inmates at Muskegon Correctional Facility in Michigan, he wrote a song called Heal. It was a song inspired by his work with prisoners, his narrow escape of the system, and his battle with addiction.
After recording Heal in his basement, he shared it with the inmates at a prison in Houston Texas. He’d come to know the men in that prison through video work, and felt a strong connection to those guys. Musicians in that prison learned the song backwards and forwards. And they actually came up with more harmony lines that he’d even thought of.
In fall of 2015, IDALEE and Prison Fellowship teamed up to produce a music video documentary in the Houston area prison. He came in for a couple days. He and the prison band performed the song for the population. The audience of incarcerated men had an amazing time. They loved the song and they loved talking with IDALEE and his production team. The crew recorded the men’s stories and learned how they were healing in prison, and what they felt was still broken.
Prison Fellowship will be sharing this video in January 2016. In an effort to bring more positive change to American prisons, IDALEE’s song “Heal” will be offered for free in exchange for receiving email updates about advocacy opportunities and information about restorative justice.
IDALEE has set up a home base in a small Phoenix area town and bounces around in LA and Washington DC. He’s bent on making second chance for himself and creating second chances for others.
IDALEE releases his debut album on January 21.