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Artist Spotlight: Ali Coyle allows irony, sentimentality to drive new single

Ali Coyle is a queer Irish-American musician whose style dances on the border of dream folk and indie rock. Coyle’s new single, "Dreamkiller” is just the latest addition to her discography of singles and EPs that champion her one-of-a-kind artistry. Each original song in her repertoire is a blend of delicate emotion and unique decision-making in the studio. 

Coyle gravitated toward music from an early age as she fought to celebrate her identity as a queer, first-generation American growing up in Orange County, California. She began by learning classical violin, then the electric guitar, both of which would be influences in her career as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. 

Coyle spent some formative years living in artist warehouses in Los Angeles before finding a home in the artist community of Santa Ana, California. Her debut studio EP, “Songs For My Therapist” was released in 2021 to critical acclaim from the Los Angeles Times, Guitar Girl Magazine and Atwood Magazine. The latter praised Coyle for creating “poetic and moody music that speaks to your soul,” a sentiment that is exemplified in all of the artist's work. 

Other highlights associated with Coyle’s debut were opportunities such as headlining a tour along the West Coast and performing at Los Angeles’ legendary venue, The Troubadour. Coyle’s music has amassed over 500,000 streams, and she is in the process of recording more music to accompany that success. 

“Songs For My Therapist" is a thought-provoking six-track EP that succinctly introduces Coyle’s signature style to the music industry. Her technique is evident from the first track, “Trust Me," an unconventional package that masterfully delivers Coyle’s reassuring and playful personality.

The trippy guitars and satisfyingly offbeat percussion offer a background around which Coyle’s voice dances in a lofty croon. The inclusion of violin and brass instruments provides moments of lyricism and whimsy to the otherwise rhythm-based track. 

One of Coyle’s main strengths as a musician is her ability to evoke musical imagery that heightens the message of her songs, with “Clear Water" serving as a perfect example. The song features a background sprinkled with pinging notes that are emblematic of water droplets against a still pond, the perfect backdrop for her voice to paint an illustrative vocal picture. The song introduces choral humming and immersive sound effects as the song continues until it is fully evolved. 

“Clear Water" also features a callback to an earlier song on the EP, titled “Paradise." Both songs feature echoing background vocals leaning toward an upbeat and rhythmic style, complete with synths and quirky sound effects thrown in, seemingly at random. The song is a lush soundscape that, in line with her demonstrated talents, creates beautiful imagery for the visual of the song title. 

Coyle’s sound is characterized by her haunting and angelic voice, a talent that none of her songs are complete without, though some feature her vocalizations more prominently than others. 

Songs like “Jacaranda,” which is named after the tropical flowering plant, prominently display her masterful vocals, as well as melodic techniques that highlight her skills even further. In this particular song, the descending and quick-paced repetition of the song's title is one of those techniques that allow her vocal precision to shine. 

"On My Way Again" is Coyle’s most popular song on Spotify, and for good reason. The track is strangely devious as if the artist is sneakily aware of her mischievous sensibility. Lyrics like “Wine and whiskey / followed by water and coffee / followed by wine and whiskey” are examples of her dry sense of humor and ability to translate the many facets of her personality into her music. Like much of her other work, the song features distorted electric guitar hooks and odd sound effects to round out the number. 

Coyle’s most recent musical endeavor is a single titled "Dreamkiller,” an ironic love letter to universal fears. It is playfully dark, yet empowers listeners with the idea that they are not alone in their journeys. The song shows growth and maturity from the artist, with the same shimmering delicacy of her other work being elevated to a new level. Her lyrics are a focal point of this song, demonstrating traces of sarcasm and sentimentality. "Dreamkiller" is a combination of late '90s indie rock and harmonic 1950s soul, with finishing touches of modern synths. 

"Dreamkiller" is accompanied by a music video directed by Sarah Vargas and Michael Klein and edited by Justin Green. The video is a suitable companion to the song, sharing a complex narrative journey of camaraderie and empowerment, all told with dark and humorous undertones. 

Ali Coyle is a fresh new artist with exciting things on the horizon. Recently, she performed for Apple TV+ at the advanced screening of “Flora and Son,” an Irish film directed by John Carney (“Once,” “Begin Again,” “Sing Street”). She has also grown as a performer since her debut release, bringing her live shows to a level of catharsis that she shares with her audience. 

Her listeners find solace in the tough questions that Coyle’s music poses, and her ability to tip-toe on the brink of the avant-garde genre without ever quite crossing the line is an impressive feat, one that the future of the music industry will surely benefit from.


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