Written By Kelly Holm
Country singer-songwriter Alana Springsteen may not related to “The Boss,” Bruce Springsteen, but their common name has been an asset to her while establishing her career. When she was 14, a sign reading “SPRINGSTEEN CONCERT” was put in front of the Baptist church where her grandfather was senior pastor. Sure, it might’ve given off the wrong impression, but as Pastor Les Smith put it in a 2015 Inside Business article about his granddaughter, “of course you want people to come.”
However, the Virginia native hardly needed her legendary namefellow to boost her profile. Alana’s first major gig came at the age of eight, when she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a Norfolk Tides baseball game in her hometown.
“I remember hearing the crowd’s reaction and feeling the energy and I just knew that performing was something I wanted to do forever,” Springsteen said.
The next stop after the Tides’ Harbour Park Stadium? Wrigley Field. Yes, that Wrigley Field. Following her success singing the anthem at minor league games, Springsteen’s father David began pitching her to the pros. The next year, Alana landed a performance on the Cubs’ home turf that eventually led to her being discovered by Neal Spielberg. Their connection was the beginning of several trips to Nashville for the elementary schooler, until the family finally moved there for good when Springsteen was 14. By that time, she had performed and written with famed country act Sugarland and encountered a few close calls with composing songs for major TV networks like Disney, Nickelodeon and ABC.
These crushing defeats did not slow her down though and like that other singer-songwriter who shares her last name, she was “Tougher Than the Rest.” She has recently started sharing and performing her original material and stays true to her Baptist roots by saying a prayer before hitting the stage.
“It’s now 2019 and I could not be more ready to release my first songs into the world this year!” Springsteen wrote on her website, alanaspringsteen.com, of her self-titled debut EP. Her online bio is laid-back and casual, full of smiley faces and heart emojis that give off the impression that you’re reading a personal message from a close friend which is exactly the feeling that Springsteen wants fans to get out her music.
“When people hear my songs, I want it to be like reading a page out of my diary,” Springsteen said. “I [want to] be as honest and conversational as possible, and really make them feel like we’re all just friends hanging out.”
She recalled a moment a few years ago back that really brought that idea to life:
“I played a round at the Bluebird Cafe, which is always such an incredible experience,” she said. A Nashville staple, the Bluebird Cafe is often frequented by industry bigwigs scouting out new songs for artists. While she did not sign over the rights to a future hit that day, she connected with a fan in a much more meaningful way after playing “Over,” which would become one of the five tracks on her EP.
“A girl my age came up to me and told me she had just broken up with her boyfriend a few weeks ago,” Springsteen said. “She said she felt like my song literally captured all the feeling[s] she couldn’t put into words. As a songwriter I think that’s the ultimate compliment.”
Besides “Over,” Alana Springsteen features “Still Love,” “Always Gonna Love You,” “Slow Down” and “The Best Thing.” Springsteen says, “Always Gonna Love You,” is her current favorite because it captures the essence of young love. As for covers, she enjoys performing Devin Dawson’s “All On Me,” a song that Alana says is a “feel good song and it just makes you wanna dance.”
And while there’s nothing wrong with the Bluebird Cafe, she hopes to take the stage of another Music City landmark one day: The Grand Ole Opry. She also hopes to branch beyond just country and collaborate with her favorite band, indie-pop trio LANY. While they have different sounds, both take a similar conversational approach.
“Finding those people that really understand and believe in you as an artist takes time,” Springsteen said, “but it’s definitely something you can’t rush!”
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