By Simone Goldstone, Soundcheck Columnist
OC pre-teen Alisha Liston is making big waves with her newly released EP “Beautiful Illusions.” Thoughtfully crafted as artistic permission for younger teens to navigate tough emotions such as grief, and social pressures, Liston’s songs range from ballads to dance beats that uplift listeners as they struggle through the growing pains that are essential for our development.
The seven tracks are just the start of what will be a promising career for the young actress, singer and songwriter
A Huntington Beach native, Alisha hopes her songs will be a source of hope, understanding, strength, and inspiration to pre-teens going through the same obstacles. “Whose Definition” is an upbeat song about a heavy roadblock: dealing with social beauty standards that can lead to life-long struggles. Her fearlessness in tackling topics often glossed over are to be applauded. While she tackles these serious issues with catchy hooks and poppy melodies, the message is clear. With the constant stream of photoshop, influencers, and Instagram, it’s important to have an anthem to remind young listeners that they don’t have to measure up to anybody’s standards.
“There’s so much pressure to be happy all the time, especially with social media. We’re supposed to have a smile on our face constantly, even while dealing with heavier emotions,” Alisha says, “It’s okay to hurt and grieve.”
After the loss of her grandmother, Alisha turned to music to cope with grief. “‘Yellow Rose’ is a song about not having to bottle up your emotions, that it’s okay to hurt. ‘Beautiful Soldier’ is about growing from those kinds of experiences.
Alisha’s talent and deep understanding for the rough patches in life that adolescents often face, along with her empathy and compassion, make her a singer-songwriter to watch. “Beautiful Soldier” shows Alisha’s breathtaking voice, with the simplicity of the piano allowing her lyrics to shine. “Yellow Rose” alludes to the collective: “We’ve all got pain, don’t have to hide the tears inside.”
After such a difficult year, many kids and adults too will find comfort in Alisha’s music.
“I started singing when I was very young and started writing as soon as I could pick up a pencil,” explains Alisha. “I started singing Disney songs around the house, Disney’s a big part of my childhood. Then I got into songwriting classes. So, I started singing at age four, and songwriting at age eight.”
Her cheerful disposition and vulnerability make her a wonderful role model. She knows that it’s okay to let her guard down and ask for help when struggling. Her music cements this idea: it’s okay to feel every range of emotion, and not to be ashamed if it’s not always picture-perfect.
At only 13 years old, Alisha’s understanding of songwriting, structure, and talent will take her far in her musical journey.
“Progress is progress, so keep working on it, and you’ll get better and better,” she says of her remarkable journey.
You can listen to Alisha’s music on her website at https://www.alishalistonmusic.com. Her music is also available on most streaming music platforms including Apple Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube Music.