How Singer Ally Brooke’s Faith Helped Her Own Her Truth When Facing Adversity In the Music Industry!
DATE: OCTOBER 6, 2020
PROGRAM: ALWAYS EVOLVING
GUEST: ALLY BROOKE
HOST: MIKE BAYER
(START OF PODCAST)
COACH MIKE BAYER: Welcome back to “Always Evolving” I have a guest today who I met, gosh, over eight years ago. She was about 18 or 19 years old. I was working with a few of the judges on a show, “The X Factor”. Uh that was one of Simon Cowell’s shows and I was life coaching some of the judges and they had different contestants on and one of those contestants who I’m going to be speaking with today, her name is Ally Brooke. And I remember her parents, I remember her, she eventually got put together in a big girl group called “Fifth Harmony” uh, I guarantee you that you’ve heard some of the music and she’s always just kind of been a bright light as I’ve seen her through the years and I’m just really looking forward to her new book that is called “Finding your Harmony”. And I just wanna welcome my friend and also an inspiration, Ally Brooke.
ALLY BROOKE: Oh, thank you. Well that was an awesome introduction, so thank you so much. I can’t believe that I am here, like with my book. It’s kind of crazy to me, it’s mind blowing.
MIKE: Yeah, what um, ‘cause I haven’t seen you in a bunch of year (STAMMER) we used to cross elbows.
ALLY: I know.
MIKE: Like what have you been up to?
ALLY: Huh, well you know, just sittin’ at home, just kidding. Um, so the last time I saw you, I was in “Fifth Harmony” and uh, I uh, was talking to you about you in being in that, it was a lot of, you know, craziness, a lot of amazing things and a lot of lows, um but since you know, I’ve obviously so proud of our work an what we did and we did so much for so many people, we broke records and that was incredible. Um, but in 2018, um, I transitioned into a solo artist um, because the group decided that it was time to move on and so, since then I have been doing so much. Oh my gosh I have so much music out, I started my very first headlining solo tour, and sadly it got cut short because of um, COVID. You know we had to pack up and go, but I am so thankful that I was able to have that gift of actually being on the road and showing people who I am on that stage finally the first time. And then, uh, I was on “Dancing with the Stars” and I’ve been around the world on my own and I’m now in Atlanta Georgia, currently filming my very first film, which I’m unbelievably excited um, about and proud of and it’s called “High Expectations”. So I’ve been doing a lot.
MIKE: And you’ve—because you’ve got thrown into it very quickly, right? Like me—
MIKE: What, what were some lessons that you think you learned uh, you know over this period of time, what wisdoms have you’ve taken away from uh, being thrown to you know being in the spotlight and thrown into the situations that you have no control over, how have you managed that?
ALLY: Mm, well I, I sure did endure a lot. I endured so much in the group and I opened up about a lot of those things, those insecurities, kind of feeling that I’ve lost my voice. Dealing with the ups and downs of the industry, uh, people’s opinions, um social media: online bullying, um, stress of situations like you said that you have no control over. Uh, the corrupt side of the industry and, and people trying to take advantage of me. Executives doing inappropriate uh, things to me and it was a lot you know? And I had a lot o tools in my toolbox, thank God, um, for me I really relied on my faith and my family, specifically my parents for guidance. One of my—the, the managers I’ve became very—well he wasn’t a manager, he was like a tour manager. In the group I’ve became very close with, he was someone who helped me and protected me as much as he could you know? Couldn’t do a whole lot because of his position, but I really relied on him and he is now currently my manager. He’s part of my management along with this other amazing man named Charles Chavez and um, for me just having that freedom to now be on my own and, and right about all the situations that I’ve been through and, and what my goal is with my book is being able to share my stories and show women and men, and girls and boys that you can overcome so much and you have so much inner strength inside of you and even in situations where you think, this is impossible or my life is never going to get better. It will get better and I touch upon so much about mental health and how important it is to have friendship and community and to love yourself and there’s so much power in that. Um, and there’s so many different avenues that I can kind of go and so my book is obviously about my story but it’s also it has a purpose, it has a spirit to help those who feel helpless and to show you know you may have ah perception of ‘oh, she’s an artist you know, she must have a great life, it’s perfect you know it’s the glamorous life’, but it’s hard you know? We—I go through a lot and have been through a lot and it’s my job to share my story and try to help someone else, you know?
MIKE: Mm hm.
MIKE: Yeah, I remember even uh, back because I was—I remember even after “X-Factor” I was brought out one time by your manager when you were with “Fifth Harmony”. And I kind of—I went on…
ALLY: Oh my gosh.
MIKE: …walk and talks.
ALLY: That’s right.
MIKE: Because parents…
ALLY: Oh my.
MIKE: …weren’t all getting along and like, again, it’s you have people who didn’t choose to be together and you have parents who are all heavily involved. I loved Jerry and Patricia.
ALLY: Yes! Jerry! That—oh my gosh, you’re so good. Yes, Pat um, they…
ALLY: … (INAUDIBLE) Patricia.
MIKE: I thought maybe I—yeah, I had, but I remember that they were always so sweet and like, for the listeners, like it’s—I find it, it’s so, so wild like I just for Ally who I’ve only had good experience with you where I’m like…
ALLY: Thank you.
MIKE: …you’re the girl I would let babysit—if I have kids. I be like, yeah she could babysit. I’d give her the keys to my—you give the most—
ALLY: Well thank you.
MIKE: No, you give the most trusting worthy vibe, right? And—
ALLY: I appreciate that.
MIKE: And not mean or mean spirited and always…
ALLY: Thank you.
MIKE: …every time I ever interacted with you; you were really—you had a positive spin. Not to say that you didn’t go through some hell with like everything that was happening around you in your life, but your outlook was always positive and I always thought to myself, I’m like, how is she gonna, how is she gonna get through this thing called entertainment…
MIKE: …and, and not lose herself?
ALLY: That’s right, that is the million-dollar question, and you phrased all of that perfectly and in this story, I showed that. You know and uh, just staying rooted and grounded in who I was when the whole world was trying to take me away from that, when I was being pulled in a million different directions, when I was told who to be and told that even I wasn’t cool; wasn’t good enough. People didn’t care for me. You know, the industry. I went through hell like you said, to be quite honest, um and surviving all of that and on the other side thriving…
ALLY: …you know, and that is the most powerful thing for me and beautiful and obviously there were some amazing things that happened too you know, it wasn’t all bad it was a lot, you know? It was a lot coming to me at once and I felt like the mom in the group and I really wanted to save the group and make everything uh, perfect and be one big happy family. And while trying to stay healthy and happy and it was a balance um, but really what grounded me and helped me was my faith even in those dark moments where I thought, I’m not going to get through this.
MIKE: Well tell, tell me why you thought you or gotten messages that you weren’t cool?
ALLY: Hm, well because one of the executives in my label said that. Literally said that, um to me and on, on—
MIKE: Said what like, like I’m you and he walks in and you’re in a meeting and he says?
ALLY: He’s like I want you to do something, that made me very uncomfortable. Um, I want you to do something, ‘cause you’re not cool. You need to be cool, like very derogatory to me and it was um, in a studio where we were playing one of our records and I don’t think anybody else heard ‘cause it was over the music but I heard, and someone who has so much power over you and also at the time I was feeling so insecure already about myself, about um, about my place in the group, about what I had to offer and what was being um, what I was allowed to show. All of that, kind of crumbled my confidence and my joy and especially with someone who has so much power over your life to say those mean things to you and to make you feel so small and insignificant. It wrecked me. Any ounce of confidence I have left was just gone and it’s like you feel afraid too like, what is this person gonna do to my career, you know? It’s awful.
MIKE: And, and, and so like what were you—you got feedback that you weren’t cool enough, right? Whatever that means, right?
MIKE: And then, and then, so that shook you I imagine because your career is also at the hands, how it works in the entertainment especially when you’re a growing artist is they’ll come in and they’ll say, look this way, and vibe this way, and be this way, and this is the song we want you to sing, so sing the song, right? And it gets, it can get uncomfortable just because you’re like this isn’t even, this isn’t my harmony, right? This is not my harmony.
ALLY: Ha, right yes!
MIKE: And, because I really think this book that you wrote is so helpful because it…
ALLY: Thank you.
MIKE: …you stay true to your—really how I look at “Find your Harmony” is finding your harmony is, staying true to who you are and being authentic and what I call being your best self.
MIKE: And it’s…
MIKE: …it’s how do you navigate life when you have big dreams, and you have big…
MIKE: …things coming around in your life, but then people, places, and things start to shake up your harmony, right?
ALLY: Yes, oh my gosh yes, that—you said it perfectly, um that was the biggest thing that I had to answer within myself you know? When those doors were close, when I had to lay my head to sleep. I needed to come up with those answers you know myself and how I wanted to carry on in this entertainment industry, and in life, and um, I had to navigate like you said. And find a way and sometimes even in our, our hardest moments and darkest moments it’s just about getting through the day you know? It’s not gonna go away sometime instantly, sometimes you’re gonna have to adjust and learn how to cope with ah, anxiety or, or the chaos around you but it’s about who you are after all of that you know? But it’s possible, that’s what I wanna show my fans and people who don’t even know me, who the heck I am. Is to say that, I’ve been through some crap um, as everyone has but you can, you can overcome it. It’s possible.
MIKE: Well I wanna talk to you about your faith and what faith means to you. We’re just gonna take a small break and uh, I’m just gonna you know, read an advertisement from one of our advertisers.
MIKE: And then we’ll get right back to your faith.
MIKE: Your faith, you talk a lot about your faith being important to you and what does faith mean to you?
ALLY: Mm, man, faith means believing when you can’t see it and in many areas and faith is me relying on God, and the Lord, and Jesus to, to be with me and to take me through all the obstacles in life you know, even when I feel like there is no way I will get out of this. Is knowing that there will be a way one day and sometimes it doesn’t look like what we imagine, or what we pray for, or what we ask for, but I believe that God takes care of all of us. And having faith in um, that you will see the rising sun again and for me it’s also happened in my family where for example, I open up in this book for the first time about how my uncle, he had a battle with cancer. I never had, there was never a cancer diagnosis in my family before, so I was shocked and completely devastated as anyone would be and I was also working so, this was last year. Um, I was on tour and it was a lot as you can imagine, to juggle. Um, and you know, even when the doctor said, you know, it doesn’t look good, you know we’re not sure if he will be healed. We had to have faith that he would heal and we as a family came together and we prayed and he had to have a major surgery um, to try to remove, but there was no guarantees the doctors said, so they were very upfront and it was very hard to hear but we had to have faith that you know that maybe there will be a miracle happening and it did. And by the grace of God, I can say he is still cancer-free till this day, and it’s amazing.
MIKE: That’s beautiful and so you when you I guess—first of all that’s amazing that he got through it and got to the other side. What happens to you when moments happen where people don’t?
ALLY: Hm. Well I’ve had that too and one of that was um, well, my grandpa Paul. Um, so in “X-Factor”—I think you might have been there, my grandpa passed away you know? And in those moments you feel tremendous sorrow and you feel so cold, and broken, and you just feel raw pain, and it’s, it’s awful, you know? It’s nothing but horrible and, and so sad and devastating and that you just have to surrender and grieve and cry, and it’s a process. But for me in those moments as sad as I am, or maybe even angry like, why did he have to go? Why before all of my success did, he have to, to pass? I just had to trust that God had a greater plan and that he’s now in a better place. Um, and that’s what brings me comfort and we’re all gonna, you know? We’re all gonna pass away one day and when it’s your time, it’s your time and that’s when again I do lean on my faith for comfort and God for, for words of encouragement and my community. My community of friends and fans to be that ah, beckon of hope and source of comfort.
MIKE: So what do you—what do you feel like you talk about in this, um in this book that you never really did talk about?
ALLY: Well that and then um, also I opened up for the first—I think pretty much yeah, for the first time about my choice to save myself for marriage and um, for me I was definitely, you know nervous to put that out. But also, I was super proud to and I was—
MIKE: Let me, well let me ask you were you nervous to put that out because you were told it’s not cool to save yourself till marriage?
MIKE: Is that why?
ALLY: …basically, um well because you know it’s so personal and that’s like as personal as it gets so of course I’m a little nervous about that um, and I have like told some people in the industry and some people didn’t believe me or they made fun of me and that was not fun, that was humiliating but I have to own my truth and know who I am and try to ignore that. And for me, I wanted to share my values with my fans and say like I, I would never judge anybody just like I know you know, they wouldn’t judge me and that was something that I wanted to share and I’m, I’m happy that I was able to share that you know? It’s something that was so personal, and I know my fans will feel really connected to me.
MIKE: Yeah, I haven’t, I haven’t you’re—I haven’t met a lot of women in their 20’s who say they’re saving their selves until marriage to have sex.
ALLY: It’s hard.
ALLY: It’s tough, a tough road.
MIKE: And, and so like when you meet a guy—are you dating someone now?
ALLY: Um, no I’m just kind of here.
MIKE: Okay, okay, so you’re kind of here. So do you—I imagine though this—I’m just curious, because you’re a very attractive woman…
ALLY: Oh thank you.
MIKE: …so I imagine with a guy, when a guy takes you on a date. Like you’re a very attractive woman, for whatever standards of like beauty today, you’re a beautiful woman, like….
ALLY: Thank you. I appreciate it that.
MIKE: …obviously, like a TV show—you don’t get on “Dancing with the Stars” and get—it’s just the nature of it, right? So you have glow to you, so I imagine it’s gotta be kind of interesting for you to date because guys, unless they completely respect it.
ALLY: Yeah, yeah.
MIKE: Like, they got to know right off the bat that this is the deal, right?
ALLY: Totally, yeah and it’s been awesome because I found that people have been respectful you know, and been like really kind towards that and it’s been really nice to know that and obviously, it’s not for everyone and I totally get that and I would never judge—
MIKE: I love it.
ALLY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that but…
MIKE: No, I love—
ALLY: If it’s not—
MIKE: You know why I love it? You know why I love it? I’ll tell you why.
ALLY: Tell me!
MIKE: Because it’s you doing you. It’s like, it’s—I love people that do what they wanna do, how they wanna do it, and don’t conform just because somebody else tells you how it should be. I always talk about how this ‘should police’. It’s like you should be this way, you should be that way, this is how it should be, this is not cool, this is—and it’s like, at the end of the day, you got to do you and live yourself to the fullest. I just love that you didn’t break free from being yourself through a industry that is sexualized entertain—you know, like that pushes the envelope on all of those things. I just, I think that’s awesome.
ALLY: Thank you! See that’s so nice is feeling that support and that respect. That really means a lot because you never know how people are gonna react to that. Um, and also on the flip side I, I feel that I can still be sexy and own who I am and be flirty and sassy on the stage. If you see my performances in “Dancing with the Stars” like yeah, I have that element to me and ah, you know I think we should be empowered as women and as people to show who we are and with ever way we’re comfortable with and I am certain to not cross a certain boundary whether it’s with lyrics or with dance moves but I’m still you know, flirty and thriving and sexy whenever I wanna be.
MIKE: I’m curious on finding your harmony, right? Like to me it’s your authenticity. What lo—like what lyric or dance move, what’s your line, right? Like we all have lines on different things…
MIKE: …but like, it—and by the way we change like over time…
ALLY: Exactly, yeah.
MIKE: …we be like, I said I didn’t want to do that but I did it.
MIKE: But like where, where do you find it? Is it like an instinct where you’re like, ‘mm mm’ or is it that you need time to process it?
ALLY: It’s usually an instinct, right of way kind of know like if a lyric is too far um, you know again, like I think being sexy and owning that and owning that in my dance moves and in my videos and, and being sexy doesn’t always mean like being in like bodysuits and short shorts. It’s sometimes just means, kind of owning what you are and owning your performance. It really has different um, a different um, how do you say, just colors I guess, if that makes sense. I don’t know if I’m…
ALLY: …making sense, um but yeah. I usually have an instinct and it’s awesome because you know, now I don’t have to go to a group and kind of say that stuff. I’m on my own and my team knows who I am and how fiery I am but also you know that I’m also sometimes like, I wanna change this lyric and they’re like yeah I agree, or they’ll even say that to me like, yeah we should change some lyrics before I even hear it. Um, so it’s awesome you know feeling that freedom of being who I am, owning it and showing that to the world now, it’s awesome.
MIKE: Why do you think you’ve been able to keep your values whereas, like how have you been—I understand your fam—you’re close to your family.
MIKE: But the fact that you didn’t change who you are—I imagine you took—look, we all just—in finding ourselves, we often try a lot of different addresses, right?
MIKE: Like where like, let me try this, I—you know, because we always wanna do stuff new, but…
MIKE: …like what—when you say it’s an instinct, for you is there a feeling? Is it a soulful thing like, can you give me an example when it’s, when it comes up?
ALLY: Um, like let’s see, like if it’s a lyric that kind of goes really into like the like, sexual world then I’m like, ‘mm, I wanna change that’, but if it’s like something you know, sexy or that can be kind of more broader in general then I’m like, ‘oh I’m fine with that.’ You know I think that’s, that’s cool and um, so that’s for me when, when that happens it’s usually with lyrics and—‘cause I’m in control of everything in what I wear um, but yeah usually lyrics are the, the times that I’m like, ‘hey, let’s reign it back,’ you know?
MIKE: And what, what do you in terms of helping people do—I imagine you want this book to help other also find their harmony, right?
MIKE: Be their own authentic selves um—
MIKE: And do you talk also about like how people can kind of do that?
ALLY: Oh yes, I list so many different things. Um, even in the beginning chapters, so I’ll usually kind of share stories about my life and then towards the end of each and every chapter, give advice to the reader. For example, for some people who don’t know what they wanna do in life, in the end of one chapter, I’m like you know, think back to what you, you loved. Maybe even as a child that will help you. Whether it’s um…
ALLY: …crafting things with your hands or uh forming a lemonade stand, it’s trying to help guide the reader in their darkest—well in some of their darkest moments and in their moments of just questioning, you know? ‘I don’t know what path I’m gonna take’ um, and also when it gets into the more serious things like, being faced in—with rejection or being faced with loss or um, even I opened up in one instance, about a night where um, I was in “Fifth Harmony” and a lot was happening behind the scenes and a lot was going on around me that I felt overwhelmed and escaped uh, I just felt like there was no escape. And I got to a very dark place where I, I just drank myself away and you know, it’s fine to have a drink every once and a while, you know that’s great, I love my wine, but this was dangerous, this was not in a healthy way and I was trying to just escape the world and use it in a very, very bad way and actually, Will, the same person that was my manager now. I wasn’t answering my phone. I was in a drunken fog, um I was completely out of this world basically and it was awful. And he kept calling and no answer, I didn’t even know, and then he ended up getting a key to my hotel room and opening up my door and finding me and carrying me and I cried out to him and to God and I said, why, why is all of this happening to me? Why? My life is never going to get better, things are never going to change, I’m never gonna find hope, will never be happy, you know ‘cause so much was happening all around me and he was just there to speak truth over me in life. And it was awful ‘cause I ended up throwing up all over my room and become very, very sick, but in that moment I learned a true lesson and I share that in the book. And I try to help people guide through their own dark times you know, and relating it to my story, um that’s very important.
MIKE: Mm hm, it sounds like um, you—it do you talk at all about the scenarios that were going on or do you kind of?
ALLY: I don’t really touch upon it, I just kind of tell the reader that there was a lot of different things happening behind the scenes and things building up after the other. I do give some examples of, of you know the um, that executive—those executives making me feel uncomfortable and then a lot of online bullying, body shaming, you see a lot of that and I think I do say, that there’s stuff going behind the scenes too, but um it was just…
MIKE: Well I like you know, I actually…
ALLY: …so much at once.
MIKE: …I actually um, a lot of people and I’ve worked with artists where they just blame everyone and everything, right? Like there’s no um, there’s no like taking the high road, like you know it’s like let me call out everyone and name them and, and by the way everyone has their own reality in life but I mean…
MIKE: …I actually think it’s pretty great that you don’t really dig into the details around that because that’s just drama and it’s actually taking…
MIKE: …it’s taking the high road—yeah, it’s taking it—don’t—won’t make you feel good. Like…
MIKE: …it, it does none of that feels good and to be digging into that is actually not evolving because you’re just—
ALLY: Yes! Exactly and on top of that, I just didn’t want any of that to overshadow my whole entire story. Things about my family and things that came to pass in my family and to my faith, to all the lessons that I learned and carried with me, I didn’t want to overshadow that because it’s too important you know?
ALLY: Too special and sacred to me, so yeah, but I—I’m glad that I was able to at least kind of share my personal journey and story through it and be real about the things that I did go through and that not everything was perfect and rosy and I had to you know, climb those, those mountains to get to where I am now, but I know that feeling. I know what people go through when they feel like the world’s crumbling around them and like there’s no…
ALLY: …way out.
MIKE: What um, what are you going to be doing for now that there’s no book tour…
ALLY: I know!
MIKE: …and press is funky, right? So what’s, what’s a way for listeners who buy the book to stay connected to you?
ALLY: Well of course you can follow me on social media on at “allybrooke” and all that, but we’re actually formulating something really cool right now. We’re actually putting it together but basically I believe there’s will be some sort of book club where I will be able to read to people and have interaction with them ‘cause that’s so important to me is people and connecting with them. Like…
ALLY: …I thrive on the road because I get to meet my fans in person and talk to people and I love one-on-one interaction. Sadly I can’t do that right now, but we have to think of other ways to do that and that’s something to look forward to and I just love people so we’re gonna make it work, one way or another but that’s, that’s a way.
MIKE: Cool, well I have, I have some ideas too. We’ll talk to your manager offline but I…
MIKE: …have some ideas and like that and a few books, so I have some…
MIKE: …ideas of what I got going on and that could be cool ‘cause I love, I love—I’ve always, I don’t know, you—always thinking back even with you, when you were, whatever it was ten years—gosh.
MIKE: Nine years?
ALLY: Seven years...
ALLY: …or eight? Dang it, 2012. Yeah, eight years.
MIKE: Two-thousand twelve.
MIKE: Yeah, eight years ago, um, I just always have wanted you to win. I’ve always thought you were…
ALLY: Thank you Bayer.
MIKE: …um, kind like.
ALLY: Awe, thank you.
MIKE: And you never really changed your vibe. I mean I’m sure you went through all this stuff but I, I want you to win and I think people like you they’re, they’re, they’re material is authentic. Um I think when somebody goes against the grain and does what’s right with their values that’s when they lead. I think in the long run…
MIKE: …in the short run, in the short term, people will always make fun of it.
MIKE: They think it’s not cool, they’ll think it’s lame.
ALLY: That’s right.
MIKE: I’ve gone through that myself, trust me, and then in the long term it with—it can sustain itself and it’s…
ALLY: That’s right.
ALLY: That’s right and I’m—
MIKE: And so—
ALLY: Thank you so much. That seriously means the world to me, especially from what I’ve been through and where I am now, thank you and that’s right and I’m seeing the benefits now of all of that, you know? And um, that just means the world, thank you Bayer.
MIKE: You got it, well thank you for coming on “Always Evolving”. This is Ally Brooke and pick up her book, “Finding your Harmony” and I’ll post it about it on my social media, you don’t wanna miss it. I dig it ‘cause it’s kind of goes and flow with my brand I was like, as I started to do this—
MIKE: I was like, heck yeah. so thanks for coming on “Always Evolving”
ALLY: Thank you Bayer, so much.
MIKE: All right everyone, thanks for listening to “Always Evolving” with me, Coach Mike Bayer. Make sure to subscribe in this podcasts, follow me on social media,”coachmikebayer” and I have my Tuesday empowerment group at five p.m. pacific time every Tuesday, it’s free to join, just go to, “COACHMIKEBAYER.COM” and till then, keep it magical and be free and be inspired, and be loving and kind to others. All right bye.
(END OF PODCAST)