Interview – Alessia Priolo

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Alessia Priolo

One of the perks of writing for Montreal Rocks is meeting some very talented and fascinating people.  On an unusually mild and sunny January day, I got to chat with a self-proclaimed hustler who is stirring up the Montreal music scene.  With her hands on a multitude of projects, Alessia Priolo is a woman who has great vision and is not afraid to explore uncharted territories.   

MR-  So you have a background in music.

AP- Yes.  I did my high school studies and music studies in Italy and then moved here with my family in 2009.  I got a Science Degree from Concordia University (Environmental sciences). Then I developed a passion for events and marketing.  I was in a band so I started producing and booking my own shows. Then people (musician friends) started asking me to help them out.   So I went from booking my own shows and my own projects to promoting other bands and shows. That’s how I developed a passion for becoming a concert promoter, which I turned into a career.  I started working in marketing and did not end up in the science field. There comes a certain point when there’s only so long that you can avoid pursuing your passion.

Alessia Priolo is a musician and composer who started playing the piano at the age of 10.  She studied classical music at the renowned music conservatory “Arturo Toscanini” in Italy, where she was born.  After moving to Montreal, she became very involved in the music scene as both a performer and promoter.  

 She released her instrumental-cinematic solo EP “Rebirth” in 2018.  Her music is inspired by film scores, rock, and symphonic metal.

Alessia founded The Sincop8ed Noize Foundation which is a non-profit organization. Its mission is to support, promote and develop Canada’s emerging musicians through events and educational activities.  She also teaches courses at Trebas Institute which are designed for aspiring music business professionals.  

AP- The goal of my organization is to create initiatives and platforms to help emerging bands and give them more exposure.   

MR-  It’s interesting how you don’t have a marketing background, you studied sciences yet you’re very comfortable in this environment.  

AP-  Yeah, I had to do a lot of observation, studying and reading and I took some online courses.   And then in 2016, we created Rockalypse, which allows local bands to play and travel. We export Montreal talent and have them play elsewhere.  For the past four years, we’ve been flying bands to Europe to play at various festivals.

(Rockalypse is a local battle of the bands where musicians compete for fantastic prizes that will help them further their careers.  This year it will take place at Café Campus on Sunday, May 3rd 2020.)

MR-  So have you chosen all the bands yet for the competition?

AP- Right now we are in the pre-selection process but we are receiving amazing submissions. I can’t wait to announce them!

MR- It looks like Rockalypse is growing.

AP- Now that the event has a name and reputation we are getting a lot more support from the industry.

MR- So, since industry is present at the event this could generate a lot of opportunities for participating bands.

AP- That’s right,  and it’s happened in the past that bands got to play much bigger shows because they were seen by the right industry people at Rockalypse.  Also, the foundation will be hosting a series of “Rockalypse Presents” this year. My goal is to bridge the gap between music industry professionals and musicians.  I have a really great team who really care about what they do and are really passionate.

MR- So how do you get your funding?

AP- I try to get local businesses in the industry to donate time or services like promotions and studio recording time etc. These are called “In-kind” sponsorships. It’s not always monetary support but they offer services.  I have great local support from local businesses which I’m super grateful for. 

Alessia offers workshops or clinics on-site at Long and McQuade which covers a wide range of vital information that musicians need to learn.  She is working on getting government funding so that these courses can be free for all musicians.

AP- A lot of times they don’t know what they need to know.  From marketing workshops to learning how to register your songs, work with promoters and understand who the key players are.  The mission of these workshops is to empower the musician.

I value so much the importance of self-growth in term of knowledge and developing your skills.

Passing on knowledge doesn’t cost you anything.  It’s so great to be able to teach others what you have learned.

MR- What about your own music? 

AP-  It’s really hard to juggle my personal music career right now.  I have two jobs plus I’m running the foundation. Whenever I do have the time I try to work on my own music. I am currently writing but  I wish that I had more time to perform and practice my instrument. Just like everything else I need to keep practising and learning. That never stops.  My goal is basically to give opportunities to artists. So far the feedback has been really great.

It was difficult not to be affected by Alessia’s dynamic energy.  I can’t remember the last time I spoke to someone with so much drive and passion.   With a tiny frame at around 5 foot two, being in her late 20s but looking barely 18, in an industry dominated by men Miss Priolo is definitely a hustler.  

Interview – Annette Aghazarian 

January 26 2020

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