After a decade of honing her craft as a guitarist, singer and songwriter Alana Springsteen is well on her way to country stardom. She was recently included in CMT Artist Discovery and is making waves in Nashville’s music industry. The Virginia Beach artist returned to Coastal Virginia last month for a Homecoming concert and first stop on her inaugural solo tour. Behind the scenes at Norfolk’s revitalized Granby Theater, the 18-year-old shared with us her journey to finding her voice.
Some of Springsteen’s first performances took place on Sunday mornings singing worship with her father David. She wowed churchgoers at just 6 years old and by 7 was mastering the guitar with help from her grandfather and uncle. “After playing for a couple of years, I started writing my own songs,” says Springsteen. “I looked up to artists like Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban and even Mariah Carey.”
As Springsteen realized her passion, her parents recognized her gift. The three put together a slew of audition tapes that landed 8-year-old Springsteen a national anthem gig at Norfolk’s Harbor Park. One year later, Springsteen entered the big leagues in Chicago. “I got to perform at Wrigley Field for the Chicago Cubs when I was 9. That ended up being a game changer for me because there was someone in the audience that day from Nashville who reached out to me through my website and we ended up connecting.”
For years, the family made quarterly trips from Sandbridge to Nashville before permanently relocating to Music City four years ago. Springsteen is now fully engrained in the music industry, spending the bulk of her time in songwriting sessions and networking with prominent producers and artists to prove her identity. “There are a lot of pretty girls that want to do music, so I had to figure out what makes me different. What story do I have to tell, what perspective do I have to offer?” she explains. “You really have to learn who you are and how to get that across.”
Springsteen explains that much of her persona and lyrics are shaped by real life experiences. She loves to be vulnerable with her audience and works to incorporate firsthand accounts with love, loss and life into her songs. “I want people to feel like they’re reading a page out of my diary,” she says.
Her Norfolk performance was attended by friends, family and local fans. Before being introduced by Regina Mobley, former WVEC anchor and longtime family friend, Springsteen and her band huddled backstage for a pre-performance prayer. “I love my band. They are the best human beings and we have the best time together,” says Springsteen. Comprising her band are Eric on guitar, Cameron on the drums, Alex on keys and Jeff on the bass.
Springsteen serenaded her audience with soulful covers and upbeat renditions of songs on her self-titled EP. Springsteen anticipates another release later this month with current producer Warehouse West Entertainment.
Following her Norfolk performance, Springsteen continues with concerts in Charlotte, N.C.; Colombia, S.C. and a special performance in Georgia with country artist Filmore. Also sprinkled in are intimate performances at regional Boys and Girls Clubs. “I want to inspire the younger generation, so we’re visiting eight or so over the next season.”
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