The Rocks Off 100: Alyssa Rubich, Angel of Instability
Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See the entire Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? Singer-songwriter Alyssa Rubich made 2011 a whole lot better when she dropped into the scene with her EP C'est La Vie, four songs that played on the surface as run-of-the-mill love tracks from a teenage girl, but underneath were brilliant takes on all-consuming jealousy, identity and the tragic disappearance of her brother. It was an amazing record in the vein of Alanis and the Replacements; according to Rubich, her next outing is just waiting on mastering as she prepares to get married.
Photos courtesy of Alyssa Rubich
Rubich has been singing since age nine, playing guitar since 11 and built her first following in the sixth grade singing Avril Lavigne tunes during recess. Luckily for us all, she got into The Cranberries shortly after that or her music might not be as worthy as it is. Regardless, the response she got from performing Lavigne's songs got her to where she is today, so there's at least one nice thing we can say for the future Bride of Nickelback.
Home Base: Rubich actually does most of her writing in the car, singing to herself on the way to destinations. She finds that the drive actually enables her to focus on vocal technique, and stoplights are particularly good for warm-up exercises. The faces you pull doing those exercises are cause for a few funny looks, though.
Rubich will play anywhere that will have her in town but is partial to Dosey Doe, as are most of the guitar-playing girls up north like Kathryn Hallberg and Shellee Coley.
Good War Story: "I had a business deal that started out promising but went sour very quickly about a year ago," says Rubich. "I poured my resources into one venture and it blew up in my face. I was crushed, and it really knocked me down hard.
"But it taught me to be more resilient, to stop doubting myself, and to listen to those who've been with me since day one, as they're the ones who have my best interest at heart," she continues.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? Rubich is a Florida native who moved to Houston to attend college. She has something of a love-hate relationship with the city, but overall has come to appreciate the depth of the music scene.
Music Scene Pet Peeves: "A lot of people are hating on the old tried and true four-chord pop song, and I think that's ridiculous," she says. "Sure, variety is key to well-roundedness, but don't knock something that has worked since the dawn of music. Simple pop songs get stuck in your head, and not everyone can create that effect."
Wait... is that Robert Pattinson?
Five Desert Island Discs:
- The Cranberries, No Need to Argue
- Green Day, Nimrod
- The Living End, Modern ARTillery
- Third Eye Blind, Third Eye Blind
- No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom
First Song You Fell in Love With: "I remember being in a Hard Rock Café as a kid and seeing the music video for R.E.M.'s 'Losing My Religion,' she says. "I was so young, but still I was drawn to that song like a moth to the flame. It's still one of my favorite songs, and maybe it's a combination of the nostalgia and the raw energy of the music, but I can't help but feed off of it when I hear it."
See who else has joined The Rocks Off 100 this year on the next page.