Picture Me Broken founder Layla Brooklyn Allman has a family name that recalls brilliant Southern rock music, a look that has earned her two “Hottest Women in Hard Rock” awards from Revolver Magazine, and an intellect that belies her youthful age of 19. On 12/12/12 the gifted singer/songwriter paid a surprise visit to yours truly during my weekly Metalholic Radio broadcast. Allman opened up about her band’s forthcoming EP and album, her path to her own voice in music, and how important it is to connect as much as possible with her fans in the new DIY music industry.
Picture Me Broken has revamped since its 2010 debut album, “Wide Awake”. Along with Allman and bassist Austin Dunn, who has taken the seven-year journey with her, the band has added new drummer Shaun Foist, and guitarists Dante Phoenix and Jimmy Strimpel. Allman, like her father, the legendary Gregg Allman, also plays keyboards.
Allman’s music is about as far away from her father’s as she could get. She has found her own place and style and done it on her own terms. Everyone in her band is in the same age range and she talked about how the band’s image is essential to the music:
“We’re a very young band. I think it’s all a part of the image. I think a band needs to have an interesting story and an interesting image to back up the music. Of course the music comes first and foremost but a lot of rock and roll is–I think people have stopped focusing on the image and they’ve kind of delved into this homogenized appearance, and I think that it’s kind of refreshing to be something different: To be the new kids on the block. To kind of challenge what’s accepted in the scene. I think that this band’s mission statement is to bring back the danger and the glamour of rock and roll. I think where we are right now just being young kids pursuing it whole-heartedly, we’re able to bring something new to the table with that. Be a little bit more, image wise.
On December 18, Picture Me Broken will release its new EP, “Mannequins” which Allman says talks about the state of the music industry and the pressures to follow someone’s queue rather than your own path:
“I write my lyrics from a very personal standpoint. They’re very narrative of my own life and the band kind of went through their first year of getting into the nitty gritty of the music industry and the business end of it, and dealing with the different characters. I think ‘Mannequins‘ is essentially a metaphor for the falsity of both people in the business end and the artist’s end of the music industry. We’ve noticed a lot of people will kind of feign a certain kind of artistry to appeal to a scene, and a lot of labels and a lot of people in the business end will try to put you in a box. The cover of our EP features a face with plastic surgery lines on it to represent how people are cut up and manipulated from the artists they really are. We wanted to share our struggle with that and the importance to remain true to your own vision.”
Nobody puts Brooklyn in a box. In fact, despite her musical lineage, Brooklyn didn’t get into music because of or through her father:
“It’s been pretty exclusive of my heritage. I never grew up with my dad. I’d see him occasionally so I don’t think his influence has been like a significant factor in me pursuing rock music. My dad has just now started to become interested in our music after hearing our last album and realizing how serious I was about it. So I definitely think it’s inspiring to know that people in my family have achieved such incredible honors in the music industry, but it doesn’t really go beyond that.”
Early next spring, Brooklyn will turn 20, and around the same time Picture Me Broken will release its second full length album, “Corrupt Me”. The band recorded with producer David Bendeth (Paramore, Papa Roach, Breaking Benjamin) whom she admitted she’d been stalking since she was 14. She discusses Bendeth, the album’s surprise guest cameo, music piracy, social networking, and how she’d like to bring an air of grandiosity back to rock and roll.
Listen to the full interview below, then be prepared to buy your copy of “Mannequins” on December 18. You can see more of Brooklyn in our Rock Goddess section, and she made our 2012 Top 25 Women in Hard Rock and Metal list.