The Sweetwater Soul Sessions Team


Alana’s Story: 

I grew up in the mountains in Tucson, Arizona. My family home had been converted into something of a commune, and later it would evolve and become a wellness center. I grew up around all kinds of different people who would strongly influence me: travelers, hippies, gypsies, shamans, and healers. I was raised with Native American teachings that I would carry with me throughout my life.

When I was 17, my mother died after a two-year battle with cancer, and this turned life as I knew it upside down. I remember listening to an Elton John song in my grandmother’s basement one night and playing it over and over for several hours while I looked at photos of my mom. I remember thinking, “This song is saving my life tonight.” Later I would write several songs—songs to save my own life—and they did.

Later I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. I worked hard to make records, play the best local venues, and gain traction to build a successful career. No matter how much or little success I had, it didn’t feel very fulfilling. It took some time, but I finally began to understand why—because it was all about “me.” Everything I was doing was for me. I, like everyone else around me, was trying to get something they were wanting. I finally realized what I truly needed from my life was actually the opposite; I needed to feel that I was giving something, something that mattered. I wanted to make music for people who felt like I had felt—people going through major changes, pushing their way through the dark to find the light—and to create healing in them and their lives.

Years ago some people came to one of my shows in Tucson, and the songs I played spoke to them. Soon I was playing at treatment centers like Sierra Tucson and often at a well-known local retreat center, Miraval. Later I would play for some of the future faculty of a new treatment center that would be opening in Malibu, Promises. I also played a lot at hospitals, often going room to room. Sometimes I would sit talking with people for hours, listening to their stories, what they were going through, and what they still wanted to do once they could.

These were some of the most fulfilling times in my musical life. Time went by, and I got busy working incredibly hard to have a career in music that looked the way I thought it was supposed to. After pushing hard for some time in Los Angeles, I finally burnt out, and in my own way, silently surrendered. This is when I remembered those earlier experiences and how very different I felt when I was making a positive difference in people’s lives. I decided it was time to shift my focus and return to my original path.

My mission is to create a powerful, soulful, and honest connection with people through music and to let them know they are not alone.