Photo Credit: Tung Phung (@wandering_tea)
By Alissa Arunarsirakul // February 13, 2020
We’re calling it… Dom McAllister is R&B’s next big thing. Growing up queer in a biracial household gave McAllister the perfect opportunity to appreciate diversity and culture, and now he’s grown into a multifaceted artist releasing his sensational debut EP. With riveting electronics thrown against vulnerable lyricism, Low On A Wave takes us on an emotional journey through sexuality, love, and money–among several other themes.
On Low On A Wave, Dom McAllister shared,
“‘Low On A Wave’ represents many things that we struggle with whilst trying to find ourselves. Sounds all extremely deep but with a little help from the mellow trap and hip hop beats, I hope that listeners can still vibe to it. If anyone is feeling alone for whatever reason, I hope this can sail anybody’s low on a wave to remember we’re all going through something.”
To celebrate the release of Dom McAllister’s debut EP, we recently chatted with the soulful crooner about queer musicians, hip hop beats, and Low On A Wave.
HH: How does your love of soul music continue to affect your songwriting?
McAllister: Not only does the music that I was brought up with like Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin still feed my soul and inspiration, but current soul artists like Ari Lennox and modern R&B songwriters like SZA makes me fall in love and inspire me to be bold.
HH: It’s notable that you bring attention to the ever growing queer artist community. Who are some of your favorite queer musicians?
McAllister: Frank Ocean is my favorite; to me he’s just everything. Troye Sivan and the talented Emily Burns turning out those bops!
HH: Your new EP, Low On A Wave focuses on introspection and self identity. When did you realize that your personal experiences have such a powerful way of connecting with your listeners?
McAllister: When I released “Prospects.” I wasn’t sure if I would get any attention–considering it wasn’t the most the masculine thing to say, “My body’s not an object.” But I’ve noticed that people have connected to it in their own way, which is really the point of writing a song like that. It helped me be quite fearless to write the rest of the EP.
HH: Although “Incense” is about money struggles and addiction, would you say it’s also a song about recognizing the situation and attempting to make a change?
McAllister: That’s a good point and for sure! I guess you’ve got to admit that you have issues before changing them. There is a bitterness within “Incense” and I listen to the track as a rant now. I hope not to have that same mentality writing future tracks but sometimes we need a moment to go off on one.
HH: “Intentions” sends a message to everyone going through daily hardships, letting them know they’re not alone. What would you suggest people do to relieve their stress?
McAllister: It’s plain and simple. We all should talk and listen to each other. If we don’t communicate in all aspects of life, we’re never going to be empathetic to what’s going on in our minds. Meditation also helps… Breathe!
HH: Low On A Wave is drenched with hip hop beats that create such a soothing vibe. What about this speaks to you?
McAllister: Personally, it makes it listenable for me because all the lyrics are so deep it would honestly be a buzzkill even if it’s relatable. I love the irony of them bopping to my misery. All jokes aside, I’m in a much better place now so it’s nice to have those heavy lyrics groove to beats that I love.
HH: If you could sell out a headline show anywhere in the world, where would you pick?
McAllister: I can’t pick one so I would pick the Philippines and Scotland 100%!
HH: What are your three hidden hits?
McAllister: I would say “Lights On” by Izzy Bizu, “I Been” by Ari Lennox, and “Body” by Summer Walker.