“Performing here means so much to me. I grew up here,” says a l l i e, beaming.

Dressed simply in a form fitting white baby T and light washed denim blue jeans, Toronto’s a l l i e seems at peace on the second last day of North By Northeast (NXNE). Standing under the illumination of Massey Hall’s stage lights, the singing beauty rocks out with her hometown for the third time during NXNE. Her melodic voice fills the relatively empty venue with her special brand of neo-soul and R&B.

Despite the fact that the venue is still slowly filling up as festival goers arrive to see the night’s headlining acts, Los Angeles’ electronic/R&B artist Kelela and Canadian native, LA-based Rhye, a l l i e holds nothing back for the small audience. She lets loose, belting out strong, powerful vocals, showcasing her dance moves and at some points kneeling on the stage floor, intimately connecting with her audience.

Not only does she make her way through the four tracks off of her Strange Creature EP, released last fall, but a l l i e also shares a new track with the audience, “Private Island” before heading off stage. “We just finished it like two minutes ago,” she explains, before DJ Elaquent drops the beat, which picks up her performance’s pace with a futuristic, up-tempo bump.

As a l l i e wraps up her set, the applause erupt, and a young man yells out, “Don’t go, marry me.”

She may have left the stage for the night, but with so much talent, a l l i e is surely in the music scene to stay.

Words By. Priya Ramanujam + Photos By. Candace Nyaomi