The lovely couple are the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of South America.
They were town to hear their friend vocalist Alison Coster perform a repertoire of her original songs at Lucy’s 51 on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake. I was invited to the special performance by Alison’s husband Joe Palese, the acting coach who has a sign over his door of his studio that reads “NO ACTING PLEASE.” I did not know what to expect since it was the first time I had ever heard Coster perform. Her visual image reminded me of Cher with a sprinkling of Janis Joplin. Lucy’s 51 was packed with friends who had come to see Alison perform a selection of her original material. Her vocal range was overwhelming. She knows how to grab your attention not just with the voice but with body movements designed to keep you focused on her performance. No one was talking or visiting — all eyes were on Alison. I was impressed with how she engaged her audience. One of her original songs “Mr. B” brought back memories of another time. It is the story of a Vietnam vet: “There is a man who lives across the street, he’s the one who goes insane with no shoes on his feet. He talks to people walking, but they hide their heads.” Another original song, “Anything,” is dedicated to all those young girls who have dreams of becoming successful: “You can be anything my girl. Anything in the world, anything you want to be.”
Alison is in every sense of the word a moving entertainment experience. I noticed that Cristian and Angelica had ordered dinner but did not eat. Their attention was on Alison.
“She knows how to hold your attention when she belts out a song,” Angelica told me after Alison had completed her performance. Indeed she does.
I decided to find out what makes this woman perform the way she does. I sat down with Alison the following day at Lucy’s 51 for a Q&A. Lucy’s by the way not only provides great entertainment; they know how to provide a menu that is not to be missed when you’re looking for a great place to dine.
Patte Barham: What are you trying to convey through your songs?
Alison Coster: I am trying to tell a story and take people on a journey.
PB: What makes you write about real life experiences?
AC: When something moves me, I am compelled to share it through song.
PB: Your method of conveying a song is dramatic. Does that have anything to do with your acting coach husband?
AC: Absolutely. He has taught me how to channel my acting which I combine into song. I originally joined his acting class because I had a fear of performing. In the process I learned acting. Through acting I developed what is necessary to be a good performer.
PB: Who among the female or male artists of song do you admire, living or dead?
AC: Donny Hathaway and Sarah Vaughan.
PB: Where can we purchase your music?
AC: iTunes and anyone interested can go to my website and find out where I am performing. My website is www.alisoncoster.com
PB: How do you see yourself?
AC: I am a cleaner version of Amy Winehouse.
PB: Do you have representation?
AC: That is in the works. I am now ready to embark on a professional recording career.
PB: How does your husband feel about your making a professional career of singing?
AC: He is always supportive. He knows I will succeed. He is not your average husband.
PB: Have you written any new music?
AC: Yes. I have four new songs that have not been recorded. One of them is about the loss of “Willie,” our dog of twelve years.
PB: I understand you have a tremendous support from all sorts of industry people?
AC: Yes. One in particular is Angelica Castro. She is a great friend and talented actress who believes in me.