NASHVILLE, Tennessee- I remember Jamie O’Neal telling me that her 17-year-old daughter accompanied her when she re-released her mega-hit “Somebody’s Hero.”
Now, O’Neal’s daughter, Aliyah Good is 19 and is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Professional Studies at the Frost School of Music in Miami. And while she is first to admit that going to school while pursuing an artist’s career is quite the juggle, she is fortunate enough to attend a university that understands what she is doing. Frost School has programs for people like Good who are college students who want to get an education but also want to pursue their careers.
Anyone who knows her parents, O’Neal and Rodney Good, knows she comes from a long line of musical prodigies.
She said, “It’s primarily on my mom’s side of the family. But, even my dad’s family, like my grandma on my dad’s side was a choir director for the church that I was kind of raised in and she was a music teacher as well. So, everyone has been musical in my family.”
While so many newcomers to Nashville have absolutely no idea what they are getting into, Aliyah Good was raised on the road and knows exactly what the music industry is about. She’s seen the highs and lows, and all that goes with that.
She admitted, “I definitely consider myself really lucky that, I’ve got to grow up in that environment and with my family, bringing me out on the road and bringing me up on stage. I’ve gotten to see the ins and outs of everything about the music industry. Still, I consider myself super lucky because without my family, I don’t know if I’d even be in the business at all.”
O’Neal’s “Somebody’s Hero” 2.0 was rerecorded during COVID. Aliyah Good recalled, “Mom was working on her new album and she had the idea to redo that song because, as you know, she obviously wrote that song for me, and getting to like sing that with her now is so special for me.”
Aliyah Good has been singing since age three, and it is no surprise that she sings well. But what did come as a bit of a surprise to me was how talented a songwriter she is.
Her music infuses sounds of country-pop, alternative, and indie bedroom pop.
“When I started writing and performing my own songs, it just felt so natural. Sharing my feelings and laying it all out there for the world to hear, it’s scary and thrilling at the same time. There’s just something so satisfying about making that connection with other people and saying yeah, we’re not alone in all of this and life can be hard,” she said.
Aliyah Good was invited to join the esteemed Song Suffragettes at the Listening Room by the age of 14 and also plays writer rounds regularly in Nashville at Ole Red, Tin Roof, True Music Room, Alley Taps, Belcourt Taps, and recently played Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, a Sofar Sounds show in Atlanta, and the Bitter End in NYC.
One of the first songs that she released was “Insecurities” which she sang at a Song Suffragettes writers’ round. Aliyah Good lets her vulnerability emerge as she describes the feelings that she and so many teens have about being insecure in the honest song.
She said, “I feel like it’s such a universal experience, especially at this age as you’re growing up to experience those insecurities. Everyone has different insecurities. When they really start to become prevalent they can feel super heavy when you’re at like an adolescent age and when you’re going through high school or college and you’re trying to figure out who you are.”
“Insecurities” was written over Zoom during the pandemic with her pal, Lily Kincaid. It was one of the first songs they ever wrote together, and now Kincaid has become Aliyah Good’s go-to person for songwriting.
The Frost School of Music has its own record label and the first song that Aliyah Good put out with them earlier this year is the highly acclaimed “Ending of a First Love.” It tells the story of someone who falls hard in love for the first time, taking their lover “to your favorite cafe, you show them your hiding place, and then they hurt you in the worst way.” The song takes the listener through the feelings and pains of enduring an incredible loss of a breakup despite trusting the other deeply and never believing they would leave in the end.
She confessed, “That song has been like one of the songs I’ve written where I’ve gotten the most feedback from audiences, with people relating to the message and relating to the way that I talked about the ending of my first love. I feel like it is something that everyone goes through and can relate to. When it ends and you have the roller coaster of emotions that comes along with it.”
And while a well-written song will always impact the listener, writing the song may impact the composer even more so.
Aliyah Good agreed, “It’s therapy for me. And I started writing songs at a really young age. I would write songs before I could even play an instrument. I would just come up with lyrics and different things, and as I started playing guitar and making my own music. It’s been the biggest outlet for me the best way for me to process my emotions and process things that I go through. But yeah, it’s definitely therapy for me and it’s like something that’s helped me navigate growing up.”
Aliyah Good’s most recent single is a song called, “Human Background Noise.” It’s an upbeat pop tune where she acknowledges the current relationship will not be a permanent one.
A fun, light-hearted song with lyrics like, Yeah, we know we’re not forever/ We’ll be off and on until next September/ a TV show we won’t remember/ Only watching til there’s something better…. We’re passing time/ We’re feeling voids/ Yeah You and I/ You’re human background noise a more mature Aliyah Good sees the relationship for what it really is.
Aliyah Good will be releasing two more songs before a full debut album/EP is released in May.
Because I am a bit older some of the songs Aliyah Good performs may not relate to me personally. But if she was around when I was a teenage girl and college student, I would have had her music on repeat. She speaks succinctly to her generation. This girl knows what to do and how to do it. You can bet that I, her mom, dad, and the rest of her family will be cheering her on.
– – –