Alana Springsteen is still learning

What happens when you marry the rock guitar chops of Bonnie Raitt and the songwriting honesty of Lindsey Jordan? Alana Springsteen, that’s what. In an ever-growing genre like country music, it can become increasingly hard for artists to stand out among the crowd, but Springsteen (no relation to Bruce that we know of) brings together stadium-level sound and intimate moments on her debut album ‘TWENTYSOMETHING’. We caught up with Springsteen at C2C, where she was doubling as a co-host alongside the legendary Bob Harris and a performer on the Saturday night afterparty on the BBC Radio 2 stage.  

“I hear you guys like to get rowdy out here in London…so we will see.” Springsteen appears to thrive in the challenges she sets for herself. It’s her first-time hosting but she doesn’t seem fazed at all; “I’ve never hosted anything before! But I love hanging out. I love talking!” She laughs, completely at ease. “I feel like as long as I don’t mess up any of the information, we’ll be okay. I have cue cards, so they’ll keep me on track.” She confesses, there’s an air of confidence and self-assurance around her, it’s nearly infectious as we talk.  


Springsteen is probably at her best on an intimate level, in songwriting as in hosting. Her back and forth with Bob Harris over the weekend (even though, when we spoke with Springsteen on the Saturday, she confides that “we [Harris and Springsteen] just met for the first time last night”). On her album, the standout tracks revolve around more acoustic arrangements that allow her voice and songwriting skills to shine. The title track ‘twenty something’ in particular captures the essence of growing up, becoming an adult in your own right at the same time as feeling unprepared for the responsibilities that fall on you. For someone who is now only 22, Springsteen is able to condense an almost universal experience of early adulthood into a 2:40 track, with all the changes set to Springsteen’s mature-beyond-her-years voice and a subversion of expectations when it comes to the chorus. The track feels like it’s going to explode into overproduction the first time the chorus comes round, but Springsteen smartly turns the idea on its head, instead the backing almost stops completely, bringing the focus on the ‘twenty something’ line. As the song moves on to the bridge, Springsteen weaves imagery as she steps between tones, making the listener perk up and listen to the unusual melodic choice – it’s another signifier that Springsteen has the maturity and confidence to create music that isn’t cookie-cutter country.  


Both Chris Stapleton and Michael Tenpenny make features on her debut, Springsteen settles herself among country music veterans. As well as singing alongside country legends, Springsteen also worked alongside writers Shane McAnally, Ryan Beaver, Liz Rose and Sasha Alex Sloan, some of the best in country music. She confides that despite the veneer of confidence, she still suffers from imposter syndrome; “sometimes I walk out there and I’m like, ‘this is insane!’ It doesn’t compute, but I’m just so grateful. I’m grateful for the community.” For someone so young, Springsteen has her head screwed on and her eyes on maintaining a long-term career to rival that of the legends she’s already working with – performing and hosting.


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