Toss the blues, jazz and pop into a musical blender and you get the exceptional music of Alana Davis as a result.
In May of 1974, Alana Davis was born to two accomplished jazz performers. Her mother, Ann Marie Schofield was a jazz vocalist and her father Walter Davis Jr. played piano. The Greenwich Village home she was raised in was always immersed in music and her personal favorites growing up ranged from Stevie Wonder to Bill Withers, even including Joni Mitchell. She began writing and playing guitar more during her teen years, but at that time it was just a hobby. After trying out the local community college in Utica, New York, Davis found that her future was in music, not formal education.
A less-than-perfect demo tape landed in the right hands and even though the record executive that heard the tape knew it was flawed, he saw the great talent that was there. Davis signed her first major record deal thanks to that poorly done demo tape. With development from the record company professionals, Alana took her raw talent and crafted it into an exceptional début album, “Blame it on Me.” Though her talent is indisputable, her fan base is not remarkably large. Davis is like a secret treasure that only the few get to experience. She said in an interview with UniverCity Magazine “Jazz is a state of mind. I think jazz crosses all lines.” It is clear in her music that she loves jazz and weaves it into and through other genres like pop, folk and rhythm and blues. This creative mixture is what makes her stand out among the rest and appeal to so many music lovers.
“Blame it on Me,” released in 1997, was Davis’ first release. This album encompassed many different types and genres of music. Davis said this was because she wanted listeners to expect more exploration in later releases, not putting herself just in one category like folk or pop. The album was one of Time Magazine’s top five in 1997. Fans of her first release were chomping at the bit for more, but Davis did not release another album until 2001. “Fortune Cookies,” was her second studio release and delivered the exploration promised. Her second album was the last one she released with Elektra Records. The third release, “Surrender Dorothy,” was released through her own Tigress Records label in 2005. Davis has released several singles as well including the song “Carry On” that was used in a Sony commercial called “The Trip” in 2003.
Stand Out Tracks and Performances
The highest chart ranking Davis has ever achieved was with her cover of Ani DiFranco’s song “32 Flavors.” The song reached number 17 on the Adult Top 40 chart and number 34 on the Top 40 Mainstream charts in 1997. This is her most well-known song and reviews describe the way she puts so much energy and emotion into the track while maintaining her own personal, soulful style.
Her only other song to meet commercial success was the track “Crazy” off her début album. In 1998, the track reached number 27 on the Adult Top 40 chart and number 37 on the Top 40 Mainstream chart. This track is often referenced as one of her best by fans thanks to the powerful mixture of relatable lyrics and strong vocal delivery over music that is a true mix of styles including folk, jazz and pop.
Davis may have experienced her largest audience with her single used in a Sony commercial in 2003. The commercial called “The Trip,” featured Davis covering the Crosby Still and Nash song and created a huge buzz online with people searching for information about the song and the singer. The commercial ran during the most-watched sporting event that year and ranked high among users who reviewed the advertisements during the game.
Other notable performances include Davis’ participation in the Lilith Fair and H.O.R.D.E tours in the late 1990’s. These stages brought her more exposure to a varied audience. Television shows have featured various tracks from Davis and even released them on show-centered soundtracks. Jay-Z sampled Davis’ “Murder” on his track “There’s Been a Murder” on the album Vol. 3 Life and Times of S. Carter. Davis was impressed to see that Jay-Z even knew who she was when she was provided with the track sampling her song.