And suddenly Andy Allo appeared on stage with Prince. Yet another female musician/singer to be molded according to Prince’s wishes? Yes and no.
Andy Allo was born on January 13, 1989, in the North-West part of Cameroon. Music grabbed her at a young age and she learned to play the piano. When she was 11 she moved to Sacramento, California in the USA. In 2006 she left high school and went off to college. Around this time she formed her own band, Allo And The Traffic Jam.
In 2008 she performed solo for the first time. That appealed to her and in 2009 she released her debut album UnFresh, which consisted of original material.
Meanwhile Prince saw a feature on Allo’s album on The Africa Channel and Allo received a call: “We’re working with Prince and we want to connect you two and see if there’s musician magic”. She was invited to meet Prince during his April/May 2011 residency at the Forum in Los Angeles. She was asked to go to an afterparty at his house, where Allo and Prince met for the first time. On the house stage Allo sang Bob Marley’s Waiting In Vain. Prince mentioned he had heard Allo’s debut album and not being impressed by it. Honest, but (unnecessarily?) confrontational. Allo handled the criticism great by the way.
Much to her surprise, Allo was asked to join Prince’s band The New Power Generation in June of 2011. She was hired to sing and play guitar at the Welcome 2 America Euro 2011 Tour and Welcome 2 Canada Tour.
While on tour they started to write songs together, like Superconductor, The Calm and Long Gone. Their cooperation even led to a romantic relationship. Prince was obviously smitten with Allo, oozing it from the stage as well, as evidenced at the North Sea Jazz shows in 2011.
On November 20, 2012, the album Superconductor was released on NPG Records. According to Amazon statistics the album sold very well in the first weeks after its release. The album was announced in a press release on September 11, 2012:
Andy Allo, funk/soul artist extraordinaire, has been announced to perform live at Prince’s after-jam at Chicago’s House of Blues on September 24, following a special performance by Prince himself, at his “Welcome 2 Chicago” engagement. The “Welcome 2” event will be held at the United Center earlier that evening, in support of the Rebuild the Dream foundation, founded by Van Jones, whose mission is to mobilize thousands of everyday people who come together to build strong vibrant communities, and to fix the U.S. economy from the ground up.
Allo, who opens for Prince on-tour and is a guitarist/vocalist in his band, The New Power Generation, will be releasing her sophomore CD on Prince’s NPG Records on September 20 titled “Superconductor.” The album is Executive Produced by Prince, and features six self-penned tracks by Allo, with three songs co-written by Prince – “Superconductor,” “The Calm” and “Gone” [released as Long Gone]. The album also includes featured artists Maceo Parker, Prince and Trombone Shorty.
As soon as we felt Andy Allo’s energetic presence on tour with r band,” says Prince, “we knew she’d b leading her own revolution soon!”
Adds Allo, “Touring with Prince & The NPG has been a challenging and rewarding experience and Superconductor is a work of art that encapsulates the journey thus far.”
A poet, songwriter, singer and dancer, Allo has been a member of The New Power Generation since 2011. Allo will continue to tour with Prince in conjunction with the release of “Superconductor.”
September 11, 2012
The album was recorded at Paisley Park Studios in March and April 2012. The New Power Generation plays on every song on the album, including the songs not composed by Prince. Prince did play on nearly every song, played a big part in the song’s arrangements and handled production duties (credited as NPG). Greats like Maceo Parker and Trombone Shorty also played on the album.
Not much definitive information is known about the history of the album. Allo didn’t talk too much about that in the press, she did express her genuine gratitude for her time with Prince and all the lessons she learned. As stated before, the chemistry between the two was palpable for all on stage, but it can also be found on the album, particularly in the album’s lyrics.
Five (of nine in total) songs fall into the singer-songwriter genre, which serve as ear candy. Nothing More is particularly beautiful and resembles the superb The Love We Make, one of the highlights on the 1996 Prince album Emancipation. On July 10, 2011, the song was played live for the first time at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Prince paid a lot of attention to the album, he produced it and let his band play on all the songs, even the ones he didn’t write. And, fair is fair, the album is very nice indeed. The feel is relaxed, laid-back and sounds organic.
The album was preceded by the (digital) single People Pleaser on October 17, 2012.
All songs written by Andy Allo, unless stated otherwise.
- Superconductor (Prince & Andy Allo)
- People Pleaser
- Long Gone (Prince & Andy Allo)
- The Calm (Prince & Andy Allo)
- Yellow Gold
- Nothing More
- If I Was King
- Story Of You & I
- When Stars Collide
- Andy Allo – vocals, guitar
- John Blackwell – drums
- Michael B. – drums on Superconductor
- Ida Nielsen – bass
- Morris Hayes – keyboards
- Shelby J., Elisa Dease, Liv Warfield – background vocals
- Maceo Parker – saxophone on People Pleaser and If I Was King
- Trombone Shorty – trombone on People Pleaser and If I Was King
- Prince – guitar
- The Hornheadz – trombone, saxophone and trumpet on People Pleaser, Yellow Gold, When Stars Collide and If I Was King
Oui Can Luv
On November 7, 2015, the album Oui Can Luv was made available on streaming service TIDAL for a period of 12 hours. The album was released by NPG Records and featured an acoustic collaboration between Allo and Prince.
OUI CAN LUV: Starring Andy Allo & Prince
Tune into TIDAL this Saturday for OUI CAN LUV, an intimate acoustic performance starring Andy Allo and special guest guitarist Prince.
Prince and TIDAL have readied yet another exclusive online audio experience planned for launch Saturday, November 7.
Titled OUI CAN LUV, the set is an intimate acoustic performance starring Andy Allo and special guest guitarist Prince.
Recorded at Prince’s legendary Minnesota recording complex, Paisley Park Studios, listeners will feel like they are hearing it performed live in the room with the duo. Fans are invited to get comfortable and create their own candle- and incense-filled backdrops to listen online as part of the global living room concert experience.
OUI CAN LUV will be available for an exclusive 12-hour period starting Saturday evening at 8pm EST and ending at 8am EST the following morning.
Andy Allo’s critically acclaimed debut funk-soul album, SUPERCONDUCTOR – co-produced by Prince – will also be made available on TIDAL to coincide with the special OUI CAN LUV streaming event. You can listen to her recent EP, Hello, right now.
TIDAL, Ryan Pinkard, November 5, 2015
The album Oui Can Luv consists of covers played by Prince and Andy Allo. A number of songs had been released earlier using Andy Allo’s Facebook account, in slightly different versions.
- Fast Car (Tracy Chapman)
- Push And Pull (Nikka Costa, Justin Stanley)
- Love Is A Losing Game (Amy Winehouse)
- False Alarm (unknown, probably Andy Allo, Prince)
- Wild World (Cat Stevens)
- I Love U In Me (Prince)
- Waiting In Vain (Bob Marley)
- Oui Can Luv (Prince)
- More Than This (Bryan Ferry)
Oui Can Luv is an adaptation of the Prince song We Can Funk, which was released on Graffiti Bridge for the first time. The original version, entitled We Can Fuck, was released posthumously on Purple Rain Deluxe Expanded.
After Prince / Picking up the solo career
In 2013 Allo left her position in The New Power Generation. It’s likely that the romantic link ended around this time as well. Allo still sang on the songs Breakdown, What It Feels Like and Time on the Prince album Art Official Age, which was released on September 26, 2014. In October of that year Allo revived her solo career with the release of the single Tongue Tied. It was followed by Hello in April 2015, which Allo released independently following a crowdfunding initiative via PledgeMusic, for which I was one of the pledgers.
On December 12, 2015, Prince released his (last) album HITnRUN Phase Two, containing Andy Allo’s voice on Rocknroll Loveaffair. The lyrics refer the song When Stars Collide coming off the Superconductor album.
In 2017 Allo released the EP One Step Closer, which was followed by the single Angels Make Love in 2019. Not much was heard from Allo on the music front since then. Allo shifted her focus to acting and appeared in television series like The Game and Upload and in the movie Pitch Perfect 3. Andy Allo’s website introduces her as actor and singer-songwriter, in that order.
Are you familiar with Andy Allo and/or Superconductor? What’s your opinion? Let me know!
This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: Andy Allo debuts on NPG Records with Superconductor. The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated as well.
Andy Allo Live 06/29/2013 image: wannabes.be
Prince And The NPG with Andy Allo) Versace private show 11/08/2011 & Andy Allo – People Pleaser images: prince.org
Prince & Andy Allo – Oui Can Luv image: tidal.com
Andy Allo personal message image: apoplife.nl
Other images: andyallo.com
Andy Allo’s tribute to Prince after his passing: