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Emerging Artist: Alisha Zalkin

by John MalkinNovember 29, 2012
Emerging Artist: Alisha Zalkin

The music business in Los Angeles is not known for being easy.

Alisha Zalkin, a twenty-six year old emerging singer/songwriter now based in the City of Angels, has discovered some ways to be creative and confident amidst the intense competition. One way is by remembering that music is one form of selfless service.
Alisha recently released her first EP, March to a Different Beat. The lyrics and songs are infused with sensitivity and insight about how she and others overcome obstacles along life’s journey. Alisha’s growth as an artist has been supported by a few spiritually-infused perspectives: She views music as selfless service, she reminds herself to be confident in her creativity, and she practices yoga. (Keep reading to find out how you can get a free copy of Alisha’s new EP and a beautiful bracelet that she’s designed to eliminate creative blocks!)

“I don’t make music for myself, but ultimately to create peace in the world," Alisha says. "I love what I do and I’m here to inspire and empower people. I see music as a service.”

She also extends great respect and gratitude toward her family; the album's title song is dedicated to her father, while other tracks were inspired by her grandparents. Her paternal grandmother was the youngest person admitted to the Vienna Conservatory of Music, but she never went because of the rise of Nazism in 1930’s Europe. “My grandmother is the biggest reason I’m singing and performing; she never got to fulfill her dream,” Alisha says. “Both of my grandmothers are big influences for me. It’s because of them that I love music and produced this EP."

Alisha grew up with diverse musical influences, as her mother’s side of the family was Mexican and her father’s were Jews from Eastern Europe.

The title song of the EP came from a conversation Alisha had with her father about his experience having parents who were survivors of the Jewish Holocaust. “He went down this difficult path and became an incredible father and a voice for the voiceless: he’s a lawyer for victims of sexual abuse," she says. "His story was so inspiring for me. He made me who I am.”

Alisha’s strong voice shines through the danceable tunes of March to a Different Beat, drawing on elements of rock, blues, and gospel. I particularly enjoy the rhythm and sound of “Beautiful You,” a song that grapples with being lost and then found. “It’s about finding a light at the end of the tunnel and being able to love myself and see the greatness in me that other people saw in me," Alisha says. "The song encourages people to believe in themselves and be their best, truest self and not be afraid to share that with the world.”

Alisha is also a yoga teacher. “Yoga completely transformed my life and is a huge part of my music career. It helps me be present and be on stage and feel connected to something bigger,” she says. “Yoga helps me get to the truth and to the heart of whatever I’m writing a song about. Yoga is everyday.”

The song “Say It To My Face” came from Alisha’s concerns about bullying. “With the internet and social media websites, bullying has gotten much worse. I see bullying as a microcosm of something bigger: war. If we can’t create peace in our schools then how we can we expect to end war in the world?”

Learn more about Alisha at alishazmusic.com. A portion of proceeds from March to a Different Beat benefits Playing for Change, a foundation dedicated to creating positive social change through music education.


Alisha Zalkin has teamed up with the holistic jewelry company Energy Muse to create the special Musician Wrap Bracelet to help remove creative blocks and "tap into the vibration of music.” The bracelet contains obsidian, red tiger’s eye, onyx, carnelian and aventurine, “to encourage creativity and artistic expansion.”

Two Spirituality & Health readers will be chosen to receive a copy of March to a Different Drummer by Alisha Zalkin and a bracelet from Energy Muse. To enter this drawing, just write a brief comment below about your own experiments with removing obstacles to creativity: what’s worked and what hasn’t?

(Contest ends 12/7/2012, at which time two winners will be selected at random and notified by email for details on receiving their prize.)


John Malkin

John Malkin is a musician, journalist, activist, and father who lives in Santa Cruz, California. His writing has been published in many magazines, including The Sun, ascent, Shambhala Sun, Sojourners, Namarupa, adbusters, Punk Planet and Ode. He’s published two books: Sounds of Freedom: Musicians on Social Change & Spirituality (Parallax Press, 2005) and The Only Alternative: Christian Nonviolent Peacemakers in America (Wipf & Stock, 2007). He’s currently completing a book about punk rock, spirituality, and anarchism.


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