Wrestlezone’s Dominic DeAngelo recently spoke with A Music Blog, Yea? and IMPACT Wrestling’s Alicia Atout. You can read a few highlights and listen to the full interview below:
Alicia on breaking into wrestling after starting her show as a music blog, her parents’ influence:
I’ve been a fan of music since I was in the womb. [laughs] Both of my parents are music fanatics, especially my Dad. He used to be in a band, and my parents used to bathe me when I was a super tiny baby with Prince and MoTown tunes and Philadelphia soul, so it’s engrained in me. My tastes go everywhere from MoTown to soul music to nu wave, and then I like newer rock music, and I’m super into a lot of indie Britpop. I’m all over the map; ‘70s music—the Bee Gees, KISS—newer stuff like Steel Panther. I’m literally all over the place.
The cool thing about running my own site is because I’m all over the place, I got to choose who I interview, and I wasn’t tied down to [the idea of] ‘hey you can only interview rock bands.’ Or [I] could only interview mainstream pop; I got to do what I wanted, and that was amazing. Because of my parents, they told me I should start a blog. I used to write while I was in class—it was reviews for music, no one saw it—it was just to kill time to get out of that class. I used to do that, and my parents found out, and they were like ‘hey why don’t you throw this online?’ So, I did, and luckily it stuck, and from there I started hosting e-mail interviews, and that led to Skype interviews, and then about a year in I did my first in-person interview. It did really well and I stuck to it, then a few years after that I did my first wrestling interview.
I was extremely nervous because I didn’t know if my music fans would dig it. It was such a different crossover and I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was two or three. But, I was like ‘you know what? If I got popular with the music, let’s see what I can do with the wrestling.’ Luckily it all worked out, and since that first one I have not turned back.
Alicia comments on the approach she takes to building her brand:
One way I really try to approach my site and my fanbase is no ‘BS’. I don’t know if you’ve been able to tell from my social posts, but I’m very blunt, I’m outspoken—not to the point of rude or anything, because that’s just not me—but I tell it how it is. Even when it comes to self-confidence or appearance or bullying, I’ve talked about my experiences with it and I feel like my fans feel very close to me because of that.
There’s this tight knit group of people where people have said I’ve changed their lives and they want to get into journalism and it blows my mind. I was such a nerd growing up, not once did I think I’d have that effect on people. It’s nuts. I think there’s a trust; they trust me and the people I interview trust me because I’m not going for the dirtsheet info, and I’m not going for headlines. I just want a good, fun, insightful conversation. I think it comes down to trust, which is a weird thing. I don’t know if people would think that, like ‘oh yeah, that’s what it comes down to,’ but I really think it is.
Does she still get nervous during interviews?
There’s a man named Nardwuar—Nardwuar The Human Serviette—and he’s this Canadian legend who has interviewed everyone from Snoop Dogg to our Prime Minister. He’s just this icon over here and I interviewed him, and he once told me ‘Nerves are an incredible thing. Nerves mean you care, nerves mean you give a damn.’ And ever since he told me that, I thought this man has literally interviewed thousands of people—he was nervous to talk to me!—that was a sign. He is one of the best interviewers in the business, so it’s OK to be nervous.
One thing that really broke down those nerves for me was realizing these people are just that—they are people. That’s one thing you’ve seriously got to keep in mind; some of them have families, girlfriends or boyfriends, they have pets back home, they have hobbies. They’re just like us, as cheesy at that sounds, so you really have to keep that in mind when you try to have those one-on-one insightful chats, and keep them fun so the people at home are enticed, and that’s what it comes down to. That’s my objective. I just have to not let it shake you, whether they’re a rockstar or they’ve just performed at the Tokyo Dome; you can’t let it get to you. I’ve never had someone who has been awful.
(Transcription credit to Bill Pritchard for Wrestlezone.com)