Ali Dee, star of CMT's "Texas Women" and aspiring Country singer, just released her new single "Sweet Southern Song". She's launched her own clothing and accessory line, the Ali Dee Collection, and she's the tv and in arena host for the Dallas Mavericks.
Ali has performed throughout Texas and is currently recording her debut album which has already garnered support from red dirt radio stations around the Texas and Oklahoma.
This extremely busy, and multi-talented Texas sweetheart was able to take a few minutes out of her busy schedule to chat with Nashville Love during this year’s CMA Music Festival, where she talked about everything from her TV show, to her women’s clothing and accessory line, to the recording of her debut album.
Nashville Love: When did you decide you wanted to be in the music industry, and why?
Ali Dee: Well, I think the first time I remember being on stage was when I was in kindergarten. I remember for the Christmas pageant, the class got together and we sang all the Christmas carols. We had been practicing all month. We got on stage and it was at nighttime across the street from the school. All the parents were in the audience. We walk on stage and the lights come on and the curtains open and all the little kids started crying hysterically, (laughs) except me. I was like, “Hello everybody! I’m here to sing!” That was really the first time I remember being onstage. I was looking around and thinking why are all the other little kids so sad; this is like the coolest thing ever! My parents were out there, like rocking on! From then on, I just wanted to be involved in anything having to do with singing on stage, dancing on stage, and acting. I was in it. My poor mom! (laughs)
NL: Does music run in your family?
Ali Dee: Yes. It kinda skipped my mom a little bit, though she did play violin when she was younger. My grandmother plays the piano, my cousins play the piano and sing, my aunt played the bassoon, my mom played violin and my dad plays guitar and piano. So, I would say that we are a musical family or our family loves music. Not that we are the best musicians in the world but we love music.
NL: Do you play any instruments?
Ali Dee: I play guitar. I started playing guitar when I was in high school. I just picked it up really to figure out a way to write my little songs. I wanted to have music to go with my songs, so I just started tinkering around on it and that’s how it started.
NL: What kind of music did you listen to growing up?
Ali Dee: Everything! My mom had the oldies. My mom is from Michigan, so growing she always had the oldies station on or Motown. I always wanted to put it on the “cool channel” but she was like “No, we’re listening to the oldies station!” So, a lot of that and a lot of classic rock. I really didn't discover Country music until about the 7th or 8th grade, when I started going to North Carolina every summer. That's when I fell in love with Dolly Parton, Trisha Yearwood, Deanna Carter, Dixie Chicks, and Shania Twain of course. That's when my love of Country music began.
NL: You’re a very busy person: sports (Dallas Mavericks), reality TV, you have women’s clothing/accessories, and now music. How do you manage it all?
Ali Dee: I don’t know! (laughs) The thing is, everyday when I wake up, I’m just thankful that I’m getting to do all the things that I love. When I graduated college, I tried to get a “real” job and was SO bad at it! I was bad at answering the phone, I was bad at filing things and I was like “Ya know what, if I have to have 800 little jobs that don’t hardly pay anything, so that I can do music and be on stage, then that’s what I’m gonna do!” So I made that decision . I can’t image just doing ONE thing. I’ve always been someone who just does a lot of things, and I love it, so I’m happy to do it.
NL: So is there anything else you want to add to that to-do list?
Ali Dee: I want to be on "Dancing With The Stars" one day! (laughs) I love all their clothes and I just think it’d be really fun to get so fit and learn all those cool dances! One day maybe.
NL: How did your family and friends react to you doing a reality show (Texas Women)?
Ali Dee: They love it! My mom, my grandma, my dad, my brother, they just think it’s the greatest thing ever. Going into the show I told them that I wasn’t really the confrontational type and that I couldn’t offer that type of drama, but I felt like I could give a pretty good, honest look into what it's like trying to make it in the country music business. Luckily, they were okay with that. When I first got approached about it, I was worried that they were just gonna want me to be like someone that I’m not or be the crazy wild girl. I’ve been very happy with the way they’ve just allowed me to be myself. My parents are happy too, that they don’t have to watch me be the crazy wild girl! (laughs)
NL: Growing up, did you have any musical influences? You mentioned Dolly and Trisha. Anyone else?
Ali Dee: Reba as well. I really look up to Dolly Parton and Reba because I feel like they are women that managed to do lots of different things in their lives. They’re not just musicians or just fashion designers or just television stars. They managed to do it all. So I feel like if I could fill just one little inch of their heels in my career, I think that would be a blessing.
NL: In terms of recording, what kinds of songs are you looking for as you search for songs to record?
Ali Dee: It’s funny that you ask because I’ve been actually listening to a lot of different songs up here in Nashville this week. For me, it has to be something unique, it has to say something really interesting, and it has to have a ‘feel’ about it. I kinda say if Garth Brooks and Carrie Underwood had a musical baby, that’s what I’d like it to be. I love Garth Brooks!
NL: In your opinion, what are the negatives about your career choices of being in the public eye/music industry?
Ali Dee: No negatives! Because all the bad is just part of the process. That’s something my dad instilled in me from day one when I decided I wanted to do this. He told me that there are going to be a lot of “no’s”, so get ready, you have to prepare yourself for the bad part because it’s all just a part of the journey. So whenever I call him up sad about a decision, or something that went awry, he’s like just laugh it off, it’s part of it. And when I look back in 10 years I’ll say thank goodness that happened because now I know how to handle the situation if it happens again.
NL: How did you feel when you heard your song playing on the radio for the first time?
Ali Dee: It’s crazy! I remember hearing my song on the radio for the first time. I was with Sarah, who helps me at my shows and sells merchandise. We were driving down the road and it just came on! We were near San Angelo (Texas) I think, in the middle of nowhere. We both just started looking at each other and she got out the camera and started videoing me! (laughs) I don’t think that’ll ever get old! Even when we were at the CMT Awards a couple nights ago, when all the major celebrities in country music are sitting there and their song comes on over the speaker during commercial break, I was just thinking, if that was me, I’d be like “My song is playing!!” (laughs)
NL: Have you had any interesting reactions from people when you meet them about the TV show?
Ali Dee: I’m always surprised, like when I was just getting Starbucks, the people in front of me turned around and they’re like “Are you Ali Dee?” and I’m like “Yeah!” and they say “We love your show! We watch you all the time, we’re from Texas!”. So anytime someone recognizes me, or says they love the show, or love the music, or says they’re really pulling for me in my career, and wanting me to do good, I think that has been the neatest thing that they are in my corner. The more people you have in your corner, the better.
NL: What should we be expecting to see from you next? Ali Dee: Next year hopefully I’ll be playing in the stadium at LP Field! I have big dreams! I’d like to have a number one song on country radio, and also play the Houston Rodeo! Why not just go for it, right? (laughs)
For more information on Ali Dee, check out her website at http://www.alidee.com/
You can also follow her on Facebook www.facebook.com/TheAliDee and on Twitter @Ali_Dee.
For more information on CMT's Texas Women, click here.
To download Ali Dee's single, "Sweet Southern Song" click here.