By Noe Gutierrez
The transcendence of appearance is often deceiving. Kristen Lee Allred is the archetype as an R&B Pop Soul performer and songwriter from just outside of Detroit, Michigan. The high-spirited songstress, with a style all her own has performed for audiences in over 34 countries. Her upcoming EP, produced and co-written with Rajah and desert rep Ronnie King is scheduled to be released in early 2020.
You can see her perform a special “one off” show with her mentor King at The Refinery Integrated Wellness Services in Palm Desert, CA for Make Music Day Winter on Saturday, December 21, 2019 from 1-4 p.m. The show is FREE, FAMILY FRIENDLY and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Also scheduled to perform are Courtney Chambers, Vinny Berry and Robbie Waldman.
Coachella Valley Weekly spoke with the sultry voiced Allred as she basked in the winter sun under the open-air loft at Chateau Relaxo, King’s studio of solitude in the yielding Thermal farmland.
Allred: “Sunrise over the desert, palm trees and the mountains! We’ll be spending quite a bit of time out here once we get the EP out. We are completely mobile!”
CVW: Tell us about your background with singing and music.
Allred: “I’ve been singing for quite a long time and it really feeds my soul. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do. I have so much to say as an artist now more than I ever have before. It’s experience and contrast and going through stuff, now I just want to share my experience.”
CVW: I’ve noticed that you are consistent in flashing the “peace sign” in all of your photos. What’s the backstory behind that?
Allred: “I’ve been doing that in every single picture since I can remember. It’s important, I just feel like the world is getting more and more ready to get rid of our limitations and get rid of the stuff that holds us back and just really live our best lives. I just want to talk about the universe and share my little experience of how absolutely magical life can be.”
CVW: You have that “old soul” sound and attitude. Have you heard that before?
Allred: “People say that to me a lot. I feel that. I’ve always been an ‘old soul’ and always will be.”
CVW: Your boyfriend, Paul Morrisseau, is a meaningful part of your life. Anything you’d like to share about him?
Allred: “Paul is amazing, absolutely wonderful and my biggest supporter. We have such a happy home and it’s filled with music and laughter, it’s awesome. He’s my amazing teammate. He’s an awesome human and having his energy here is a blessing. He’s an incredible violin player too!”
CVW: We listened to your 2018 single release, Wild Light Shine, what a great Country-esque and uplifting song about the end of relationships. What’s the next standard for you?
Allred: “I think it was an amazing platform to really define what I want to do now as an artist. I have always sung Soul music. I’m from about an hour from Detroit, Michigan so it’s always been in my blood to sing Soul music and the treatment of that song is a little more of a Country production. I lived in Nashville and I love Country music too, but for me, Soul is where it’s at, it’s just so much raw emotion. I was just meditating today and I thought of something, I just want to make people feel something. I had an experience singing God Bless America for our veterans recently with Ronnie and I felt the emotion, I get teared up just thinking about it. I thought to myself, this is an example of what I want to do for the rest of my life, the best I can, make people feel something. Tune in. we only get one try.”
CVW: How did you first hook up with Ronnie King?
Allred: “Paul and I have a boat. He grew up on a sailboat and was raised going to the Bahamas. He has a special place in his heart for the Bahamas. We were living in Jacksonville, Florida and when Hurricane Dorian hit, he decided to start taking loads of supplies by boat to the hardest hit places. We have a traveler and it carries a lot of stuff. We took water, food and medicine. He had this idea and everything fell into place, the crew showed up, it was awesome. We had a successful trip to BS, we teamed up with a nonprofit and a wonderful man named JV Alvarez, he basically does disaster relief all over the world. He’s such a beautiful soul. He used to live in the Coachella Valley and is friends with Ronnie. He sent a video of me singing to Ronnie and he responded. We chatted and I happened to be in California and Ronnie had a break in his busy schedule, it was all a very cosmic thing. Working with Ronnie has been an absolute pleasure. It’s so creative and so fun, so many good vibes. It was a very serendipitous way that we connected. I came here for two days and we realized we are on the same page about spreading more peace in the world and now we’re co-writing my EP together.”
CVW: What is the timeline for the release of your new music?
Allred: “We’ll have six songs on the EP and it will be completed before January 20th. We have four done but not refined. We’re just flowing. If we feel like the energy is weird we’ll take a walk, no pressure. That’s not the place where you create something great. It’s coming around the bend. It’s funny because you just keep doing your thing and you meet the most beautiful people along the way who help support your journey. I love the vision and I’m ready to rock and roll.”
CVW: What are you hoping for the music to accomplish?
Allred: “I hope that it helps people with their transformational journey because everybody is on their own journey and they have their own set of issues that they are dealing with, so if I can help just a little bit. It’s not all just about positivity, the world is not just about positivity, you have to have the ebb and flow, so one of the songs is about overcoming a heartbreak and being so much better off because of it. I want people to connect with it, there’s not really a marketing strategy. Let’s put out the very best music we can and let the chips fall where they may because it’s a beautiful world. We’re in the process right now of refining. We’re writing two more songs. I’ve been writing since October 2018 and have journals and journals in addition to my gratitude journal. My spiritual practice has been amazing in helping me to connect, get ideas and let creativity flow through. It’s kind of like an R&B, Soul and Gospel-like vibe because I love that. It’s a journey, it’s not one thing. I just wanted to take people on a ride and have them connect with it in their own way and develop their own meaning from it as well. It’s not always pretty. Change is messy. It’s hard at the beginning, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end. The next two songs, we have no idea what they’ll be. A lot of the songs are about self-reflection and transformation, some feel-good funky stuff, heartfelt ballads, all of them are about the whole journey of life including a different take on a broken heart and finding gratitude.”
CVW: Do you have plans to tour in support of the EP and get your message to the masses?
Allred: “The world is my oyster. There’s some talk of doing the Costa Rica thing with Ronnie. I’d love to do a USO tour in Japan. There’s lots of stuff in the works. 2020 is going to be amazing with fresh new music and I feel like Ronnie encapsulates what I want to do as an artist, it’s beautiful the way that he takes what I have. He’s such an amazing mentor to be producing this EP. It’s a wonderful match. He’s an incredibly good human.”
CVW: I’ve learned that you have an eccentric look at the world and how you live your life. You are from Florida but you bear witness that home is where you lay your head.
Allred: “We want to identify with a place but we live everywhere. Wherever we are is where we live. You’re can’t live anywhere else other than where you are, you’re in the moment.”
Sat. 12/21 1 p.m. – Make Music Day Winter – The Refinery Integrated Wellness Services – Palm Desert, CA
Kristen Lee – Wild Light Shine (Official Video)