By: Samantha Eddy
Twenty-five-year-old Texas pop artist Allison Ponthier has made her mark in the indie and alternative music scene and is here to tell us her story. So far, the musician has released singles ‘Cowboy’ (2021), ‘I Lied’ (2021, with Lord Huron), ‘Harshest Critic’ (2021), and ‘Hell Is a Crowded Room’ (2021). Adding to the discography record is debut EP Faking My Own Death, which includes ‘Cowboy’, ‘Harshest Critic’, and ‘Hell Is a Crowded Room’, along with ‘Paid For’ (2021), ‘Faking My Own Death’ (2021), and ‘Tornado Country’ (2021). From the Bible Belt to Brooklyn, New York Allison Ponthier welcomes us with an indie/alternative EP, featuring a country-style twist.
“I grew up in a town called Allen, it’s not a small town but it is a conservative town in the Bible Belt. I had grown up wanting to live in a big city, and especially in New York, because I watched all the movies and was a kid that was obsessed with showbiz and entertainment. When I finally moved here I made the decision very quickly – from the time that I decided to move and to when I actually moved was around two and a half weeks, which sounds very Manic Pixie Dream Girl of me, but I really wanted to be somewhere where I could be myself,” details Ponthier on her decision to move from the Bible Belt to the city of Brooklyn, New York.
An important aspect of how Ponthier got to where she is now in her career is that she was able to open up about her sexuality and express the true version of herself and live freely. Being able to disclose such a detail can be a very overwhelming and difficult experience, but Ponthier made it a part of her journey, which, in turn, made the process a much more freeing experience. “I was in the closet for years by the time I had moved to New York, and I wasn’t intending to move and just live freely, but that there was a part of me that was really hopeful that I could,” says the artists in a statement, and she truly did achieve her hopes.
Moving to New York definitely made an impact on Ponthier’s music. “When I was in Texas, I was making R&B-inspired pop music. It was me making songs over vocal loops, which was very fun and I loved making music like that, but I was really afraid to make music that was genuinely vulnerable, that was me telling my story or expressing feelings that I wasn’t familiar with,” she explains. In an interview with Pitchfork, the musician talks about how she was only making the kind of music people wanted to hear, but now that she has moved and is exploring who she is, she is learning to make music that speaks to her and tells the story she wants.
It was definitely a struggle, Ponthier confirms with “…when it came to moving to New York, I was so alone that I didn’t have to perform for people personally, and I was really, really heartbroken over that fact that I was scared to come out.” This was the turning point when her music began to change. Her single ‘Cowboy’ is a good example of this change in style, which encapsulates a memory of growing up in the country and rejecting country music – just a touch of home roots, if you will.
‘Cowboy’ marks a very special moment in this singer’s career because so many people were able to find comfort and validation through this single. “I’ve had quite a few people reach out to me and say that ‘Cowboy’ spoke to them, especially people who are also from the South like I am. I think there’s a lot of people that felt like they were the only person on Earth as a queer person. And I always say that I feel like I invented being gay and that’s why it was so lonely. I didn’t know about other gay people until I was 12 or 13-years-old. And whenever I say that other queer people laugh and be like, ‘Yeah I’ve totally felt that before’. And, in a weird way, releasing ‘Cowboy’ has kind of made me realize how silly it was that I ever thought I was alone in the first place,” Ponthier adds. She views this song in a very beautiful way: “’Maybe not everyone will love it. Maybe not everyone can dance to it, but even if everyone can’t dance to it, I hope that a few people can cry to it and feel validated by it.’”
Aside from opening up her true self through her music, the artist deals with other struggles associated to making her career. “Performing scares me – I think it should scare everyone. I don’t think people are wired to want to be totally vulnerable on stage. So this happens every time I perform: I get so nervous right before. I’m like, ‘I’m gonna throw up in front of everyone, and then it’s gonna be the worst’, and then I get on stage and the adrenaline of being there makes me feel great. I get through it, and I’m so proud of myself after,” she explains. The artist also deals with anxiety that can be very overwhelming at times. “I didn’t realize how much anxiety could impact your physical health. It felt right to write a song about that because it truly impacts my life to this day, just now I have better tools,” Ponthier explains on the impact of her anxiety.
Through all the struggles, Ponthier can push through and give us phenomenal music. Her debut EP Faking My Own Death encapsulates all of her fears and struggles and how she gets through them on her own, tackling self-doubt and fractured relationships. “Faking My Own Death is a compelling introduction to the 25-year-old singer-songwriter,” Pitchfork describes.
Looking forward, Ponthier details us on how she’s feeling about the future. “I’m really nervous to tour in September, but I know that I can do it and I know that it’ll all be worth it because I haven’t been able to connect with anybody. Every nervous feeling I know will be a million percent worth it because performing is so much fun. There’s nothing like connecting with people that connect with your music.”