Artists Worked With: I’ve toured as a sideman with Ingrid Michaelson since 2007 and in more recent years William Fitzsimmons, Joshua Radin and Rosi Golan.
instagram @alliemoss, alliemoss.com, thinkingoutsidetheblocks.net
FEMMUSIC: How did you become involved in music?
AM: In the early 2000s, I lived in Jersey City and would go to as many open mics and shows in Manhattan as I could. I frequented venues like Pianos, The Living Room and Rockwood Music Hall. I was new at songwriting, a sponge for new music and was looking for people I could learn from and collaborate with. I met some wonderful artists and musicians (including Ingrid), eventually joined her band and got lucky that just a year later she asked me to tour with her playing and tour managing.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does that change with a band vs solo?
AM: It’s been years since I’ve written in a band setting; I usually write alone or in a collaborative session with 1 or 2 other songwriters or producers. I most often start with a progression and melody, singing nonsense lyrics. Other times I’ll have an idea for a bigger lyrical concept. Either way, I have a seed and then chase down the rest of the song. I’m a good editor, so my biggest hurdle in songwriting is quieting my inner critic long enough to have a song to even edit. I’ve overcome that block by making writing a frequent practice, so mentally I’ve become OK with writing bad or ‘just OK’ ideas. This mentality shift is the reason I started Thinking Outside the Blocks (with my longtime friend and bandmate Bess Rogers) and it’s a major part of what we share with other writers.
FEMMUSIC: What has been your biggest challenge touring?
AM: Probably being absent for important friend and family functions. I’ve missed a lot of birthdays and weddings. It can also sometimes take a physical toll, so I have to put extra effort and money into staying as healthy as I can on the road, finding gyms and saunas or going out of my way to find a healthier meal. On an independent level (touring for myself), the overall cost of touring has been the biggest challenge.
FEMMUSIC: How much studio work to you do?
AM: I love recording. Starting out, I did a lot of work-for-hire sessions singing demos and BGVs. Now, I’m more often in the studio singing songs I’ve co-written or demoing songs at home, and just occasionally do WFH. But I love harmonies and the creative element of arranging BGVs.
FEMMUSIC: How do you separate projects? Personal? Studio? Band Touring?
AM: I love all the hats I get to wear as an artist, sideman, songwriter and teacher. They can all coexist, but often one will be my main focus and the others take a backseat for a bit.
FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them? Are those challenges increased or decreased when touring?
AM: I’m grateful to have worked alongside a great crew of people (including lots of women) the last 10 years, where gender has not presented an issue. But I do wish there were more female producers and engineers to work with!
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
AM: I would like to see songwriters and artists get paid more from streaming sites. The value of a song has changed, and that’s tough because the same amount of work goes into making it.