“I always loved to sing,” Alison Berke, who goes by her stage name Ali B said. The 17-year-old OHS senior was fresh off her first East Coast tour, and the release of a new single, “Fear to Be Loved,” when she spoke to the Herald.
“It’s been an absolute rollercoaster ride,” Berke said of her nascent pop music career. “There have definitely been a lot of ups and a lot of downs.” The challenges of balancing her school, social and music life are manifold, she said, but she’s up for the challenge because for her “I’m living the dream every day.”
Berke moved to Oceanside from the Lower East Side, Manhattan when she was in sixth grade, and got her start as a pop singer, dancer and songwriter at 13. She started researching other local artists to see how they got their starts, and eventually reached out to Plainview-based studio The Lost Sound and has been working out of the venue ever since.
“Music always inspired me while growing up,” Berke explained. “If I was having a bad day, I would turn on the radio.” It’s that uplifting effect, she said, that she wants to inspire in others, and to have her music as she put it “Help them the way it helped me.”
She described her style as “pop, with a little bit of an urban vibe to it,” but despite growing up in New York City, Berke said her chief influence was the Disney Channel Miley Cyrus vehicle “Hannah Montana,” which chronicled the life of a teenager living a double life as a pop singer by night, and an average high schooler by day. “I found my passion through that,” she said.
Her first and latest tour confronted the bullying epidemic that afflicts schools nationwide. “It’s happening in schools, and even in adult life people attack others verbally over the internet,” Berke said of the issue. “People just love to bring others down if they’re jealous or not comfortable in their own skin.” But she said she was proud to be a part of the tour, and raising awareness for the issue that permeates so much of society.
In addition to the tour, Berke had the opportunity to sing “God Bless America” at Citi Field last summer, as well as at Nassau Coliseum. “It’s so much fun,” Berke said of the chance to have more people hear her voice. “Having your music out there is a very big blessing in my life.”
When she spoke, Berke was readying for her next show at 89 North in Patchogue on April 28. “I’m gonna go all out for it, and show more songs,” she said. “It’s great to be home, and get back in the studio and make more music."
If you would like follow Ali B check her Instagram at @alisonberke.