Ali Hoffman

Ali Hoffman

 South Orange, New Jersey, USA

In the words of WXPN's Bruce Warren: "[Ali] sounds like the sweet side of a young Aretha Franklin.” Rolling Stone Contributing Editor Anthony DeCurtis says "a voice that is immediate and unforgettable." Jaan Uhelszki writes: "Competes with complicated chanteuses like Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen.”


Ali Hoffman is a Philadelphia native with a soft spot for cheese steaks and great American music. She began singing about the time she could crawl, and it wasn't long before she fell for the great soul and jazz singers Nina Simone, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, and Aretha Franklin, hastened by a dive into her bar-owner father's old tape collection. As she was exposed to more music—the Stax, Hi and Motown greats, John Lennon, Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and contemporaries like Wilco, Norah Jones, and Thom Yorke — she forged a musical identity that is equal parts raw emotion and sweet melody, shot through with a sharp lyrical wit.

Ali moved from Philadelphia to New York City to pursue her musical journey amid the skyscrapers of Manhattan and spanikopita of Astoria. A fortuitous connection brought her to Wing Court Records in 2009 year, and her debut, “This Side of Morning,” was laid down over the course of two rapid-fire weekends at the Buddy Project Studios (Sufjan Stevens) in Queens with a backing band that included Matt Hageman on guitar, Jeremy Voss on keys, Jeremy Kay (Nicole Atkins) on bass, and Randy Schrager (Scissor Sisters) on drums. The New Jersey-based horn section of Ken Fink, Ben Williams, and Steve Carangelo is featured on several of the tracks.

“This Side of Morning” traverses a sonic terrain that is grounded in American roots and soul music, but shaped by myriad modern influences. Of the release, former Warner Music SVP Bill Bentley wrote: “There is such a winsome sweetness at her core -- whether she's up or down -- that her vocals slip inside the heart like a warm secret.”The 1962 Barbara Lynn single “You’ll Lose a Good Thing” is Morning’s penultimate track, and one of the album’s highlights. I’s a stunning vocal and musical performance caught in the amber on a blistering hot June afternoon last summer.

?For her follow-up, 2010’s “How Our Love Has Grown” Hoffman and her band explored a grittier sound, focusing more squarely on R&B. ??“I grew up singing soul and blues music,” Hoffman notes, “and this past year I fell in love. I want you to be able to hear that in these songs.”

Hoffman co-wrote three of the tracks on the five-song release – first single “Miracle,” “Blues Of It All” and “Spanish Song.” Bandmates Voss and Hageman shared songwriting credit on the three tunes.

“Writing with them was easy because they each have such an impressive breadth of musical knowledge,” Hoffman says. “All I needed to say was ‘Let's take it to Soultown,’ and they knew exactly what I meant.”

The release’s other two tracks, “My Love” and “Keep Me Satisfied,” were written by bassist Kay and collaborator Michael Clifford.

The record was recorded earlier this year, again at The Buddy Project, with studio owner and engineer Kieran Kelly at the console. The album was produced by Wing Court Records owner Joe Rosenthal. The band remains as it was on Hoffman’s debut album, with a new horn section featuring Evan Schwam (baritone sax), Charles Lee (tenor sax), and Satoru Ohashi (trombone and trumpet).

Of the new release, WXPN’s Bruce Warren writes: “Songs like ‘Keep Me Satisfied’ bring to mind the grooves of Willie Mitchell-produced records like Al Green’s ‘I’m Still In Love You’; on the ballad ‘My Love,’ Hoffman pulls on her inner Janis Joplin to deliver a sultry performance. On her song ‘Miracle,’ she sounds like the sweet side of a young Aretha Franklin. Hoffman’s voice is confident, mature and compelling.”

Hoffman is working on material for a follow-up now, and will enter the studio in January 2011 for her next release.?


How Our Love Has Grown, 2010 (EP)
WXPN, Philadelphia NPR: "Miracle," "Blues Of It All"
WVLT, NJ: "My Love"

This Side of Morning, 2009 (LP)
WVLT, NJ: "You'll Lose a Good Thing," "Just For Old Times"
KAFM, CO: "You'll Lose a Good Thing