Q&A: Eric Alan

Fresh from the studio, the Philly singer-songwriter talks disco, dancing and his new single

Photo by Jeff Fusco (shot on location at Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.)

We talked to singer-songwriter Eric Alan in the fall 2012 issue of G Philly magazine. For more from the latest issue, pick one up at your favorite business or subscribe online.

What’s the inspiration for your new single “L.O.V. & E.?”

Pure narcissism, but in a fun, cheeky way.

How does your new music compare to your first album?

My first two songs, “Carcel de Oro” and “Nadie” are both in Spanish. I would say that while the new music is still very danceable and radio-friendly, it has a stripped-down quality to it.

How would you describe your musical style these days?

It’s definitely dance/pop with a twist. There aren’t many male dance artists out there, so that on its own stands out. It’s fun. It’s sexy. And a little dark at times, a little emotional, a little haunting – and a little cocky.

What musicians inspire you?

The very first music I can recall listening to and feeling something for was, believe it or not, Donna Summer. My mother had her On the Radio album and played it often in the house. I remember feeling those infectious beats and dancing around in our living room. I’ve never cried or been so upset over a passing musician or celebrity as I was for Donna.

How has Latin music inspired your own sound?

My father listened to a lot of bossa nova music from Jobim and Astrud Gilberto, and I think that’s where I got an appreciation for mellower, well-orchestrated sounds and harmonies. My aunt introduced me to salsa, and I was instantly hooked with both the style of dance and the music- we would dance in her laundry room together. She would show me how to dance, and I would play whatever song was popular at the time. Later on, I started developing my own taste in music. I was taken with the Latin freestyle movement‚ with artists such as George Lamond, Cynthia and Johnny O which combined the Latin rhythms with pop music and heavy synths in the 80s. Depeche Mode and their Mexican equivalent, Moenia, are huge influences with their dark and haunting styles.

Any divas on your playlist?

I really have to say that Madonna was huge for me. She took so many elements, combined them and took performing to a whole new level.

When did you start performing?

My very first show where I performed live was at Gay Pride in Houston. I also performed on a dance TV network and filmed my first video. I actually got my feet wet as a backup dancer for another Latin dance artist. The producers she was working with came up to me and asked if I was interested in recording and making music of my own; that’s actually what got the ball rolling.

When you’re not on the road, how do you kick back?

I eat! There are so many good places to eat in Philly, so I try to stay sharp by attending dance workshops and classes. I spend time at the gym and also try to take in as much art as possible: concerts, museums, various performance art, plays, musicals. But mostly I spend a lot of time in the studio.

Does being gay play a big role in your music?

Obviously, if the music and lyrics are mine, there is going to be a gay element to it simply because it comes from me. I can only write, sing and dance to things I am passionate and know about. There is one song in particular that will be on the album that describes the relationship I don’t have with my parents simply because I’m gay. Being gay is a part of me, but it doesn’t define me or my music.

Alan is signed with Blu2 Records in Philly.