XMPL Cover Story: Shifting Paths With Ally Hills

Ally Hills Will Distract You With Her Latest Single ‘Not Now’

Los Angeles-based independent artist and Youtuber, Ally Hills – truly surprised us when she delivered on her new and infectious single, ‘Not Now‘ back in September. In comparison to her previous releases, ‘Not Now’ gives off that warm and classic 80’s vibe, all while merging it with today’s modern electric pop sound. Known originally for her darker tracks like ‘Space’ and ‘Wrong’ – Ally finds herself shifting paths to a more hopeful avenue, as ‘Not Now’ distracts us from its lyrics of heartbreak through a cheerful disposition – serving us with a dreamlike track that you can’t help but play over and over again.

As ‘Not Now’ continues to circulate through streaming platforms, it has found itself with nearly half a million streams on Spotify alone within 4 weeks of it’s release. And although it has been a couple of years since the singer has released any original music, Ally shows with ‘Not Now’ that she’s progressed with her evolved sound – and we hope this is only the beginning. As the talented content creator continues to grow her audience through Youtube (765K subscribers), Ally makes the best of the platform by sharing her entertaining videos and original music.

Watch ‘Not Now’ Music Video by Ally Hills:

Shortly after releasing her new single, Ally dropped the visually soothing music video which serves as an all-out nostalgic daydream. With VHS-imagery, clear skies and warm 80’s flashback clips, Ally distracts us from lyrics describing lost relationships by painting us a hopeful summery story of lost love. With the videos’ fast growing 370K+ views, ‘Not Now’ has found itself to be her musical comeback – as she reveals to XMPL that she’s currently working on new music.

Ally Hills is the cover star for XMPL’s fourth digital issue for Fall 2019, a double-feature which also includes rising Canadian pop singer Lo Lo. In our interview, Ally Hills talks about the making of her single ‘Not Now,’ her music journey and the inspiration behind her new music video.

Read the full exclusive interview with Ally Hills and stream ‘Not Now’ below:

XMPL: Did you have any musical influences while growing up?

Ally Hills: Growing up, my parents were constantly playing music throughout the house. I listened to everything from The Mamas & The Papas to Earth, Wind & Fire to Depeche Mode to Six Pence None The Richer and I think that each of those eras and genres have influenced and inspired my music. I was always a musician, but it wasn’t until my teenage years when I first heard Paramore that I was inspired to sing. During high school, Hayley Williams was my idol and the music I made was heavily influenced by pop punk and rock. Since then my sound has evolved into something different, but I think that my music is influenced by the accumulation of every genre I’ve ever loved.

Starting from Youtube, what made you decide to also ignite your music journey through the platform?

I had actually only created my YouTube channel so that I could jokingly upload a love song that I had written for a creator that I watched. I never expected people to subscribe, but once they did then I decided to pursue it. I had been making music prior to starting YouTube which then led me to release my first EP (under a band name but it’s cringey so don’t look it up haha) around the same time that I started my YouTube channel. The growth of my channel was greatly attributed to the comedy songs that I began uploading so I was extremely grateful that people were receptive when I released my first pop single.


Are there any challenges that you are facing as you’re entering the industry a music artist originating from Youtube?

It’s definitely difficult to overcome the label of a “YouTube Musician” due to the stigma that YouTube is home to some… maybe not so musically inclined creators. I think that YouTube is overflowing with talented musicians and so many popular artists have come from YouTube, but because of the platform’s reputation, the hurdle of earning the same respect as a traditional music artist can certainly pose a challenge.

Not Now is such a fun track to jam to. What you would you say influenced the overall vibrant pop sound behind this single?

I’d say it was influenced by the music I just dig listening to the most. I wanted to put a modern take on the new wave and electronic pop music of the 80’s. I was really inspired by the use of synths and beats from those genres and I wanted to incorporate as much of that sound into the track as possible while still maintaining some modern pop elements.

Not Now has a completely different vibe compared to your last two singles Space and Wrong” both embodying a darker sound. What made you decide to take a different route with your latest track?

I think the biggest difference between Not Now and the last two singles is that I wasn’t angry when I wrote Not Now, haha. All of my songs have been inspired by tragedy and sadness, but when writing Not Now I didn’t feel the hostility and resentment that I did with Space and Wrong. Not Now is a tune about heartbreak, however the lyrics are inherently optimistic and I wanted the sound of the track to mirror that same feeling of hopeful enthusiasm.


Can you talk to us a bit about of the process that went behind making your single Not Now?

The track started out as just electric piano, a 2/4 beat and the line “want you forever even if it’s not now.” My producer, Cazz Brindis, played such a huge role in the creative process of the song because he really understood my vision and the vibe that I was going for. I wrote and re-wrote the lyrics too many times and even recorded certain vocals weeks apart due to all of my own revisions. In regards to production, the process was different than my other tracks. I typically produce the majority of the track myself, but my producer and I started from scratch on Not Now which allowed for a lot more creative input and collaboration. 

What was the inspiration behind your dreamy music video for Not Now?

I’ve always been drawn to the nostalgic retro film look and being that it visually fit the vibe of the track, I wanted to bring those aesthetics to the music video. I wanted the fast moving imagery and warped VHS style to mimic the flashbacks and sporadic memories that consume your mind when reminiscing about the past. Almost all of the images that you see in the music video hold a deeper meaning or personal importance to me because I wanted the music video to be a genuine glimpse of what I saw inside my mind.

What do you hope your listeners can take away from this new sound? How was the reception from your fans when they first heard Not Now?

At the end of the day, I just want listeners to have fun. I think a lot of people were surprised with the new sound and how bright and upbeat the song was because they were expecting darkness and angst. I just hope that people find it catchy and feel good while listening to it.


Are there any artists or producers that you’d like to work with someday?

I think it would be really rad to work with Finneas O’Connell or even just to watch him produce. I think that he’s insanely talented and innovative as a producer and I think that I could learn a lot from him. I also think it’d be cool to collaborate with a group like The Knocks or Flight Facilities who produce really rad tracks that feature other artists.

Not Now is your first official single of 2019. Can we expect any upcoming singles or maybe even a full-length project sometime soon?

I think it might be awhile until we see a full-length album or EP, but I’m definitely working on new music and I hope to release another single soon!

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