“I see someone empowering, powerful…someone that realizes they can walk away.” Soulful vocalist and songwriter Ally Barron releases ‘Never Admit’: an anthem for the woman who’s shedding a toxic situation-ship for the reality of her own freedom. Set in the sonic early 2000s, ‘Never Admit’ is honest, nostalgic, and a downright jam. An entrancing, uplifting guitar finger picks into a pop atmosphere before Barron’s smooth vocals take the wheel. Suddenly we’re brought back to the early golden age, reminded of the likes of Jojo or Leona Lewis with its rhythmically modern melody. While mainstream music can often feel like never-ending copies of itself, the musical familiarity of ‘Never Admit’ is brilliantly expansive.
Originally written by Emma Rose Botti, Ricky Martin, and Archer Frodyma, ‘Never Admit’ was sent to Barron in a catalog of potentials and immediately struck her as one she needed to sing. “I was like, there’s so much potential to be an old school “Jojo” vibe. That’s kind of where I want to take my music because you don’t hear a lot of that anymore and I love that type of music.” Barron and her producer Sam Bierman tweaked the 1 and a half minute demo, adding a bridge and an ending, until it became the knockout, 2022 single you hear now.
Barron is a bonafide storyteller and the emotional connection she revives in ‘Never Admit’ is one we can all relate to. Read my conversation with Ally Barron below to find out her side of the story.
How’s your day been?
It’s been good! I have been insanely busy these last few days because I don’t know how the release of this song came so quick, but it’s been exciting as well as a little bit stressful, but it’s been fun! We’ve been enjoying it.
Is there anything about this song and the emotions attached to it that makes the release different from others?
I wasn’t that involved in this writing process which makes the release a lot different from ones in the past, because I was so emotionally attached to songs that I write and relate to my life very personally. Obviously I can relate to it, otherwise I wouldn’t be putting it out, but I’m emotionally attached to it in a different way. I’m so excited for it to come out, but it feels different.
You’re such a storyteller, I know that that’s such a big part of your release with music. Why did you choose this song?
I got sent a catalog of songs from a friend of mine and she was like “I would love for you to take one of these. There’s one specific song I have for you,” And that was ‘Read It And Weep.’ I listened to all the songs in the catalog, fell in love with ‘Read it And Weep.’ But I stumbled upon this song and loved the vibe of it. I was like, there’s so much potential in this song to be an old school “Jojo” vibe. That’s kind of where I want to take my music because you don’t hear a lot of that anymore and I love that type of music. I didn’t relate to the words as much until I started recording it. Then I was like, okay maybe this is pretty relatable to my life right now! I need this song.
So it was the music that spoke to you first?
Yeah, it was definitely the vibe. The demo sounded a little bit different, but then me, the co-writer that had originally written it, and my producer wanted to tweak a few things. The main goal was to change it to be like “Too Little Too Late,” Jojo, like early 2000s vibes. We need to keep it on that track.
How do the lyrics fit into your life now?
‘Never Admit’ is the story of a girl who’s kind of avoiding the red flags in her life and creating stories for herself to convince herself otherwise; that a relationship is good for her when she’s kind of starting to come to terms that it’s not. The more I put that together, I was like, Wow, I was in a situation not that long ago where it was hard for me to come to terms with that fact that it was kind of toxic for me. Coming to terms with the fact that you’re in need of a break up is not always fun, but that’s what happens sometimes. And that’s what I got out of the song. And I’m sure that is definitely relatable to some people as well.
I’ve been there too many times, probably. It’s gaslighting!
Exactly. A lot of toxic relationships are like that, but you don’t see it until you get out of it. I’m in a very different place now…in a happy relationship, so it’s not necessarily relatable to me at the moment but I went through a phase when I was recording this song where I was like, Woah. This is too relatable.
What was the process of recording the track like? Did you use any parts of the demo, or record it from scratch?
The vibe is pretty similar, but it was a one and a half minute song. So there were a lot of things I wanted to add to it. I wanted to add a bridge, I wanted to add an ending, and maybe take a few things out so it wasn’t repetitive, so there were a lot of changes that we made to it. We had a writing session, we wrote a bridge, created a whole ending and figured out what we wanted to keep and take out.
Where did the photoshoot idea for the cover art come from?
One of my best friends from college is doing all of my content stuff now. She asked me, if you were to put yourself in the song ‘Never Admit’ and you were to come to terms with the fact that you were done with this toxic situation, what would you be doing?
And I was like, I would get in my car and drive to the beach. I’d drive down PCH and just blast music and think. I’d try to weed out where my thoughts were at, and she was like we should do a shoot with you driving through the canyon down to PCH. My dad had this car he’s been working on, an old Camaro, and I was like perfect. We’re using the Camaro, parking it at the beach.
In my day to day life, I am the type of person who just gets in my car and blasts music. Getting out and driving with the windows down is a way for me to feel very in touch with myself. To get in my thoughts, and relax and be away from everything for a second.
What are some words that come to mind when you think of the person in the cover art? Empowering, powerful, someone that realizes they can walk away. She’s feeling deep in her thoughts – needing to gather her thoughts and escaping from her own reality and coming to terms with the truth…with everything.
What are you looking forward to in 2022? Any shows or songs coming up?
There are a lot of songs I have in my back pocket, a few summer bops coming out, some ballads. So definitely a lot of new music. I’m trying to experiment with new vibes and collaborate with as many people as I can because while I was in college, that’s not something I was able to do. But now that I’m out and have the freedom to work with many people that’s definitely something I want to do!
Story: Ariana Tibi Photos: Courtesy of the artist
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