ALIA is an acclaimed Electronic Music Producer and DJ, Creator of the Feminine Medicine™ Project, Founder of Femvolution™, Author, and a leading voice for women’s empowerment. She is seen performing on stages at respected festivals and conscious events and she is collaborating with over 30 female musicians and performers to produce her Feminine Medicine™ stage show and the music albums due for release this Summer and Fall. She coaches emerging women creatives in private mentoring sessions and her group program The Creatrix Collective™.
SYJ: What is the main message of your work and how is it classified for the rest of the world?
ALIA: I spend much of my time bringing music into the world as an Electronic Music Producer, DJ, Vocalist and Producer of the Feminine Medicine™ Project, and the rest of the time creating around the topic of women’s empowerment as a women’s mentor, author and speaker.
Feminine Medicine™ is the project where I get to bring my passions together. Feminine Medicine™ is a series of collaborative albums and stage shows that gives the feminine a unique platform in the electronic music industry. As one of only a handful of women represented in festival line-ups, I began to see that in my conscious electronic music culture the Feminine needed greater representation, just like it is so needed around the planet. I designed something that I felt could be a platform that could lift up many women in a way that would bring us together rather than fighting for those few spots.
Since 2015 I have been producing music in the studio and and performing stage shows at festivals, collaborating with over 30 female musicians, vocalists, and performers. Right now I am putting the finishing touches on the music for Feminine Medicine Volume 1 which is scheduled for release August 2016. A second volume will be released in the Fall.
I have been a life and business coach for over 12 years and I love to mentor women who have been awakening to their gifts and are ready to share their voice in a bigger way. I founded Femvolution™ an online platform where I curate empowering content and stories about the rise of feminine leadership across the globe. I am also a contributor to the anthology book, ReInhabiting the Village, which is presenting fresh perspectives on how we can create a new collective paradigm of community in our culture. In it I offer my take on how we can create a global culture that empowers women’s voices. I put a lot of energy behind empowering the Feminine to come into greater harmony with the Masculine on the planet – to me this is one of the most important steps we could take to bring balance to our world.
“After much soul-searching and coaching on the matter I realized I needed to say goodbye to my marketing career which was draining me of my precious life force because it was not my calling and I needed to give myself the opportunity to start giving my energy to something I loved to do.”
SYJ: Give three of the important landmarks along your path that led you to where you are now. What challenges did you face? Did you have moments of doubt? What did you learn?
ALIA: I lived in New York City for a few years after college, working in corporate advertising. I had grown up in Connecticut and went to school at Brown University in Rhode Island, so the East coast was all I knew, but I was miserable there. I had been quietly dreaming of San Francisco for years and then one day I got a call out of the blue from an old friend from Brown who invited me to interview for a marketing position with his startup.
They flew me out to San Francisco to interview, offered me the job on the spot, and gave me 48 hours to decide. I had needed a change for a long time so while taking this opportunity meant leaving everything I knew – my job, my boyfriend, my family – I knew I had to take it. I did not know a soul in San Francisco other than my friend who recruited me so I was literally starting over. That was 16 years ago and I never looked back. I instantly fell in love with the Bay Area and my world burst open from all the new people and ideas I was exposed to.
Another pivotal moment for me when I chose to make the transition from DJ to music producer. Producing electronic music is very different than spinning it; you still need to be musically inclined for both, but producing requires the understanding of a different set of software and you must step into a learning curve with understanding the way sounds work together.
In my early life I was a pianist and a trained singer, but I went through a dark night of the soul that disconnected me from my creativity for a long time. I always loved alternative music from a young age. I was the girl that would spend hours putting together the perfect mix and that endured throughout the years. DJing provided a way for me to reconnect with that part of me.
Producing has provided the platform to reconnect with the original artist inside of me. It has been a profound journey of moving through my fears and doubts and stepping into my confidence and trust in myself. Through the journey I keep expanding my ideas of what I am capable of.
Thirdly, I have chosen to step into marriage twice and both times have presented the most profound opportunities for growth in my life. I navigated a divorce the first time and then stepped into my next relationship with my current beloved, Shane.
I grew up in that first relationship and as we know, growing up is not always pretty! I learned so much about what it actually means to love someone unconditionally. I have the good fortune of getting to say that my first husband is a very close friend now, which I know is very rare. We went through it together and really worked for this and I feel so grateful that we did it!
My current relationship with Shane is really amazing and it feels like I am enjoying the fruits of everything I’ve learned. We have our challenges just like all couples, but we have a really high capacity to be able to work through them together.
SYJ: How long have you been self-employed?
ALIA: I took the leap into creative self-employment in 2005 when I left my comfortable corporate marketing career to pursue a Masters in Film and then later created my businesses as a coach and as a musical artist. I had been raised in an environment and family that encouraged me into a professional path and valued stable careers (and paychecks!) so it was a big deal for me to take the leap out of that and I had to work up to it.
SYJ: What has been your biggest “AH-HA” moment about working on what you love?
ALIA: My biggest AH-HA came when I went through a healing crisis while I was still suffocating in my marketing career. I began to explore the relationship between our body, our emotions, and our psyche. I realized that my body was giving me information I needed to start paying attention to and it became clear I had to make some big changes in my life.
After much soul-searching and coaching on the matter I realized I needed to say goodbye to my marketing career which was draining me of my precious life force because it was not my calling and I needed to give myself the opportunity to start giving my energy to something I loved to do. I made the choice to follow my joy and embrace pleasure from that point on. This turned things around in my body and my life and I began to heal in miraculous ways.
This was not the only healing crisis I went through. I have navigated many over the years, and each one has deepened my understanding that our life-force is our most important asset and anything that drains that is not sustainable in the long-term. Giving ourselves the chance to live our soul’s calling is the most life-enhancing choice we could make. Now I am living my dream in every domain and I am finding joy and pleasure are magic elixirs!
SYJ: What was the biggest mental obstacle (if any) along the way or in the beginning? Perhaps there has been a recurring thought that creates limitation? How do you work with that?
ALIA: One of my biggest obstacles has been a deep fear that comes up around opening my voice in all ways: as a singer, as a speaker, as a writer, as a visible person who has an alternative, very liberal, and very spiritual perspective on many things. When I am invited into a new level of exposure, this deeply embedded fear of judgment shows itself. It is very primal and my instinct is to protect myself when it comes up.
I feel it the most when I am on the edge of bringing something new into the world and when I am producing my original music. I feel exposed and I feel a lot of tension in my body. I’ve discovered that one of the best ways to navigate this is to be extremely consistent with my self-care practices (excellent rest, clean food, movement, meditation) so I can be fully resourced to deal with anything that arises.
SYJ: Who were your biggest inspirations? Are there any quotes or books that have helped you?
ALIA: I have always been deeply inspired by Madonna because she has modeled radical self-expression for me and so many. She has demonstrated so much courage and tenacity in the face of a tremendous amount of public criticism of her choices. She has continuously let herself explore and break new ground; artistically reinventing herself again and again. I have not always felt connected to her music but I always think of her when I want to be more brave and stand strong in my own creative expression.
There are a number of books that have been very influential for me:
The Enlightenment Trilogy by Jed McKenna opened me to an unconventional perspective of the path to enlightenment; Vagina by Naomi Wolf was a revelation of information for me that I think all women and men should read. Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes helped me re-wild myself; Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert put words to my creative experience; The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte truly lit a fire in me to create on my own terms.
That’s just a few of so many that have moved me. I am a voracious reader and a lifelong learner.