By Josiah Horn

In 2018, a shy, 13-year-old girl from Joplin took the stage for the very first time. In the years since, Alyssa Galvan has played numerous gigs all over the four states, and has even recorded and released an album.

“I’ve definitely changed a lot since then.” Alyssa said about her first gig, “I was very shy and

timid and now I’ve gotten out of my shell a little bit more.” 

If you were to see Alyssa perform today, you wouldn’t be able to tell she ever felt out of her element on stage. Alyssa plays a very interactive show that includes original compositions, fan favorite covers such as “Free Fallin’” and “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” and even audience requests.

Being a young, female artist comes with its fair share of difficulties. “There are a lot of people who are dismissive, they’re like, ‘oh this is a little girl, what is she gonna do? It’s nothing.’” Said Alyssa, “But luckily in my experience, even if they’re kind of like that at first, when I play they end up liking me. It’s like, just give me a chance.” 

Being able to share her art with the world, and being an inspiration to others makes all that obstacles and hurdles worth it. “I don’t know what I’d be doing if I didn’t play music. I don’t see myself doing anything else, and I don’t wanna do anything else. If there are other kids that are like ‘I wanna play music too!’ I think they should just do it, I think people should do what they want.” After all, doing what she wants is exactly what Alyssa has been doing with her life for years, and what she wants is to make music.

At 10 only years old, Alyssa first picked up a guitar and learned how to play every Nirvana song she knew. Within just two years, Alyssa had begun singing and writing songs of her own.

“I struggled really hard at first writing a song because I would always put these limitations that just felt like it had to be about certain things. It had to be written a certain way,” said Alyssa. “I feel like every song writer has a thing that they just constantly critique themselves, and that’s how I’ve always been. It takes a lot for me to like my songs.” 

With help and support from her family and friends, and influence from artists like Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, and Patti Smith, Alyssa took 10 of her favorite songs that she had written, and recorded her self-titled debut album, which came out earlier this year.

“At first I didn’t even know I was going to be putting an album together. it was kind of like, ‘we’re going to record these songs because a lot of people have been asking to hear recorded versions of these songs,’ and then eventually it was like, we can put an album together!” 

The recording sessions for “Alyssa” were full of challenges, such as the fast strumming patterns on songs like “Caroline” and “Summer,” and learning how to perform each part of the song separately rather than singing and playing at the same time. 

Alyssa also shared memories of some of the more fun songs to record; “350125, the number song, I really like that one. I think it’s very upbeat and the words are very inspired by Lou Reed. I wrote it I think when I was 13, but I didn’t find it again until a little while later, then I ended up really liking it. That one was a lot of fun.”

Alyssa’s inspiration comes from all over her life. Not only does she write songs inspired by her favorite artists or by her own life experience, Alyssa also writes about what she sees in the media, in the lives of people around her, or even sometimes she creates her own stories about people she has never met. “Honestly, some of the songs that I have written like, I play this game called, ‘Red Dead Redemption,’ I come up with stories from that.” The songs written by Alyssa Galvan are truly works of art that you couldn’t get from anyone else. “It was just me on the album, so I feel like that’s kinda what I put out there, and if they like it or if they don’t, then that’s okay.”

The best part about Alyssa’s music is that, like all good art, it allows you to form your own ideas and opinions on what each song means and what it makes you feel. “I would like people to listen to it and kind of form their own connections with it, and form their own ideas with it, like I wouldn’t tell them what they should think about the song. If they love it, then they can understand to themselves why they love it.” 

Alyssa has just one message she wants everyone to take from her music. “I just think everyone should be themselves. That’s my message.”

You can find Alyssa Galvan on Facebook and Instagram, and you can listen to her album, “Alyssa” on Apple Music and Spotify. Alyssa is almost constantly playing shows at small live music venues all over the four states. Better catch her now before she starts selling out arenas!

Photos by Jamie Lindsey

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