How Allison Leah changed my life

November 23, 2021

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Some of you have started to worry about my sudden disappearance from social media. Thank you. It's good to know that you matter to someone, beyond a screen. You will probably read the longest article I have ever written. Perhaps the most boring. Perhaps the most disjointed and the messiest. Perhaps the most saving. It's up to you to decide.

The reason why I started writing about songs that I love a few years ago is that I wanted to feature songs that have a real impact on people's lives. That's why I focused on "strong emotions" and chills. Because these are human behaviors. Sometimes we lack these reactions. Have a thrill while listening to a song, for example. During this journey, strewn with pitfalls, and punctuated by periods of great motivation but also periods of deep despair, I discovered exceptional songs. Written by exceptional human beings. You all remember a song that said "Last night, a DJ saved my life". And you've probably seen "this song changed my life" somewhere. Here is a concrete example today.

The bonds that I have forged with certain artists over the years are incredible. Some are there only through their songs, and others are there like real friends are there when you need them. And that kind of relationship is probably my most precious thing. Come to think of it, we don't need a big house or a huge pool in our backyard. Some intangible things are much more valuable. Like songs.

We are all going through periods of ups and downs, even if the last two years have allowed us to reshuffle the cards. I have to admit that the last two weeks have been very special for me. We can certainly speak of a low period, but also of a high period. I realized that we were all obsessed with how we look, especially on social media. They have taken control of our image and more specifically ... of our time. Time, this so abstract notion. I really like the word "abstract" because it is a word that allows you to store a lot of things inside. Like something fuzzy. I could sum up "abstract" as "something kids can't instinctively draw". Time, for example.

Time is the world's most precious commodity, and we have tended to forget it. In early November, I wrote about Allison Leah's new single, "24 Years Down". And this song has since become an obsession. If the song has nearly 20K streams now, two weeks after its release, it is no coincidence. And it's not because I'm probably responsible for a hundred streams on my own, either. This is because the song evokes a subject that is too little used in current songs: time management. And it spoke to at least 20K people. And will speak to more, I have no doubt about it. Written when the artist celebrated her 24th birthday, "24 Years Down" is more than a song. It's an invitation to take a break. An invitation to reflect, as Allison says in the chorus "Try to take a break, try to slow down this time and ask who am I".

While we often ask ourselves questions when reaching an important stage in our life (at 30 or 40), Allison has chosen to take stock of her life at 24 years old. An original choice, which tells that she shows immense maturity in her reasoning. Probably one of the most accessible artists I have ever met, it's very easy to have a meaningful conversation with Allison. Without filter. Without artifice. Without cheating.

Perfectly lucid about the way the world turns out, Allison blushes with every compliment and is almost amazed that her songs can impact people's lives so much. I like this humility, rare among the artists I promote. Many come to me with prejudices, and the first thing they will look at is my number of followers (whether on my social media or my Spotify playlists). But very few make the effort to chat with me and have a conversation.

Let's come back to "24 Years Down". The first time I heard this song, I cried. And when Allison sang "I saw you crying for the first time", I almost felt like she was looking at me. Not that I felt spied on, not at all. But this rather unique feeling of hearing a singer deliver us the words we expected as if she was making us understand, without even realizing it, that she had the song we needed. This is called the power of words. When words become more powerful than anything, it suffices for the melody that accompanies them to be very intense to trigger this rather amazing reaction that our body offers us: the thrill.

Allison's words in "24 Years Down" had an impact on me. A real impact. Very powerful. As powerful as if I had been struck by lightning. The song triggered in me an immediate urge to "take a break" and "slow down this time", as she sings it so well. I took the time recently to thank Allison for this song which I welcomed two weeks ago as a gift, and which I now consider the starting point of a new life. A life that would be less focused on digital, screens, and a life where I give myself more time with myself. This is why IMC has been so silent for the past two weeks. I needed to find myself. And during those two weeks, I wrote a lot. I have insanely written dozens of pages. Because I had time. Like I never had before.

When the first thing you do when you wake up is to check your notifications, then you have a problem. I had a problem. So I installed a Chrome extension called "News Feed Eradicator" on my computer. It replaces all social media feeds with inspiring quotes. No distractions anymore. The same for the sidebar of YouTube. If you go to Youtube, you certainly go there to find something in particular. And you don't need to spend 2 more hours because of the "suggested videos". And if you go to social media like Facebook, remember that it was created to connect people (at least, that was their first intention). Not to cause an addiction, with a lot of features, like the news feed, the number of likes, etc. Then, I removed all social media apps from my phone (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch). And then I had plenty of time to focus on simple pleasures, like just listening to the sound of the waves mingling with my Spotify playlists. I had the impression of finding the one I was fifteen years ago. The one who was able to write three to four songs a day because he was not distracted more than 600 times a day by a small screen.

Did I delete all my social media accounts? No. I just removed them from my phone. I just don't want to take them everywhere with me. I don't want to carry this pressure in my pocket. I just wanted to get my freedom back. And it worked. Will I be less present on social media? For sure, cause now, I can only access them through my computer. And I deleted the bookmarks, so I have to type the whole social media URLs and it makes them harder to reach (not that hard, but bookmarks are just a symptom of laziness, aren't they?). I also used this URL field to do my research. And I found a wonderful book called "Digital Minimalism, choosing a focused life in a noisy world", by Cal Newport. And it was a game-changer. A life changer. I woke up. Turning off notifications is a great start, removing apps, too. And the next step is to leave your phone at home and enjoy some time for yourself and with yourself. Solitude is healthy and has much more value than you think.

A few months ago, I wrote about this song:

Listen carefully. Every single word. That's what I did during my social media break. And the song now has a different meaning to me. I took a whole week off of social media. And it was the best week I've ever had. I even wrote around twenty pages about it, but I won't share it. I just want you to remember that, if you give your mind a way to focus, you can be really productive. And it can start by turning off your notifications.

When I reached out to Allison recently to thank her, she told me: "I actually put a double-meaning behind the phrase "try to slow down this time" and I think you would find it interesting - It both means "trying to slow down THIS time". As in this is the year I'm going to take a break and let myself enjoy life. And it also means "trying to slow down this TIME", as in I'm running out of time and I need more of it." In fact, I had found this double meaning. And that is why I had spoken of a masterpiece during our interview on the radio. But I was far from imagining the impact that this song would have on me a few days later. It's as if Allison had sown a seed in my ears, which took a few days to germinate.

You are probably thinking to yourself "wow Niko, this review is much longer than usual, what's going on?" I would answer you that I am tired of describing the quality of the production of the songs, of telling you that such and such a song would make a perfect soundtrack for such and such an occasion. You are free to make your own choices. It's up to you to take the songs that I suggest to you, to make them your own, and make them stick to your own story, your own chapter. I am only here to give you suggestions and I do not oblige you to do anything. I don't buy people, I don't buy followers. Maybe that's why my followers don't number in the thousands, like other blogs. Because I never gave a damn about numbers. And even more now. And after all, who am I to tell you what to do?

I don't even care how many words or lines this article is going to contain. Because the most important is not the quantity but the quality. What I have always advocated. I have tended to bow to the demands of this world, which always demands more and more content. But forgets the quality. I write here with my heart, as it comes, and I don't want to become an “influencer”. I just want to keep sharing these amazing melodies with you. Some of which can change a life.

Some labels even refused to work with me, on the pretext that I did not have enough followers. I swear I'm not lying. When I asked if they had ever bothered to read some of my articles or see what kind of relationship I have with my artists, they just said "no, and we don't have time for that". Today I could just tell them "turn off your smartphones and take an hour to browse IMC and find out who I am". But I don't care anymore. I decided to go against the grain and create a "not-to-do" list. Gathering things I will never do again. On this list, there is for example "giving time to people who don't care", or "working sixteen hours a day for free" or "use social media as I did before". A lot of things that seemed natural to me now have a red flag. And all this, not "because of a song", but "thanks to a song".

When I still see some insistent DMs in my Instagram asking me to write about a hard rock song that has nothing to do with IMC's universe, I ignore them. A few weeks ago, I would have taken five minutes of my time to listen and then another five minutes to answer that "no, sorry, that doesn't stick to our universe". But after all, it's not my job to make these artists understand that this is not our universe. Everyone is old enough to do their research. My time is precious, and I won't devalue it anymore. And you could do the same. Start by turning off notifications, and get some of your time back. Use it for yourself. Yes, in a sense, it's like you start learning to say no. And God knows how hard it is.

I also removed the social media icons from this website. Because after all, if you really want to stay up-to-date with wonderful musicians like Allison, just come back here from time to time. I don't care anymore if you follow us or not on social media. This isn't a priority. And it shouldn't be yours either.

Allison had a real impact on my last two weeks, and probably the rest of my way. In the song, she sings "Why do I measure my accomplishment as my self-worth?". Most people will tell you that you just have to look at how many likes you got on Instagram, on your latest post. Others, like Allison, will tell you that just getting a "thank you for what you've done" is more than enough. So, from the bottom of my heart and for what it's worth... Thank you, Allison.

PS: If you want to learn a demo of this song, written in 2020, you can hear it here, on Allison's Facebook page. It's always interesting to see how a masterpiece was born.

This review has been written with love by Niko. Please forgive me some possible mistakes and be kind, it's not my main language ;)


Official Music Video

IMC Exclusive Live Session