a l l i e admits that the first song she ever wrote was perhaps a little too long. It was a fusion of melodies and poetry, a new way for the artist to channel her first heartbreak. It was a cathartic moment, but more importantly, it was the beginning of what she calls an addiction to songwriting.

Since then, it feels like a l l i e hasn’t stopped creating. Over the last few years, the Toronto-based artist has put out a number of singles and EPs, a creative sampling of beat-driven R&B jams, often showing off elements of the jazz, reggae and soul music she grew up with in her musical household. Some of her collaborative efforts may sound familiar, as she’s embedded herself in a burgeoning scene of musicians and producers including Charlotte Day Wilson, Harrison, River Tiber and Birthday Boy. “Our community is super-strong and so supportive,” she says. “Everyone is so strong at doing their own thing, so when we come together it always works pretty naturally.”

All of that has culminated this year on her debut album, Nightshade, a record that’s been in the works for two years. While some of the music came to her naturally, a l l i e did hit a writer’s block. How did she get through it? She credits meditation, and an escape from the bustling city to focus and, as she says, “reflect in quiet spaces in nature.” The album was completed in a cabin in Bracebridge, ON, two hours outside of Toronto, where a l l i e says she finally got the clarity she needed.

As she continues to gain attention from colleague artists and critics alike, she hopes that people will grasp the album’s driving force of feminine divinity, and the determined voice of a woman fighting a male-dominated industry. “We’re divine, we nurture, we give life,” she says. “At this point, we want our strength to be acknowledged, and we want to see a world where gender equality is reflected in every way.”