Alison Wonderland is quickly establishing herself as a mainstay electronic DJ, male or female, and she has good company in Canadian stalwart REZZ.
Wonderland will headline a Wave virtual concert experience on Friday, Feb. 5, following in the footsteps of the Weeknd, Tinashe, John Legend, Lindsey Stirling, and more.
Wonderland, 34, has scarcely performed online since the pandemic brought live concerts to a screeching halt. For Wonderland, this virtual concert is an amalgamation of live events and futuristic technology.
“It’s been very difficult for me because I’m used to playing shows and feeding off the energy of the crowd,” she tells ET Canada ahead of the unique performance. “It’s hard for me to be without that. I feel like they get me. This is an interaction. This is going to feel more like a crowd.
“With this, there is actually a crowd and an interaction and a transaction between myself and people out there,” Wonderland adds. “I did a rehearsal yesterday and it made me feel like I was doing a show. We are going to be talking to each other, I can see what people are saying.”
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Not only can fans watch the Australian DJ perform in real time, they can actually shape the performance.
“People can be featured as dancers behind me in the visuals,” Wonderland reveals. “It’s a good opportunity for us to feel like we’re at a family reunion. But one where there is no beef. I’ve never seen anything like this before.
“When I saw the technology, my mind was blown… We created this whole universe for everyone to be in,” she dishes. “I wanted this ’80s fantasy theme in this Wonderverse. There are universes that we will visit in the show and fans can vote on where they want to go. It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure.”
She will also become a virtual avatar with the help of a motion-capture suit to perform hits like “Bad Things” and her new single “Anything” with Valentino Khan.
Asserts Wonderland: “This is the future. Nothing is going to beat live shows, but this is so different that you can’t really compare it. It stands on its own.”
Numerous female DJs have emerged in the electronic scene over the last several years, highlighted up north by Canada’s own Rezz. For Wonderland, the most impactful way to prop up women is to continue perfecting her craft.
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“I’m competitive with myself. I don’t let my gender dictate things for me. I just work hard,” Wonderland shares. “The best thing my art teacher told me in eighth grade was, ‘Let your art speak for you.’ Obviously, there are struggles of being a female in this industry. We all know that. I don’t need to tell you that. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, I just f**king work hard.
“I do want to add that I think people like myself and REZZ and TOKiMONSTA. There are a lot of amazing females out there killing it,” she points out. “It’s given women who may not have had the confidence to put themselves out there, the confidence to put themselves out there. Now the community is growing.”
Speaking of Rezz, Wonderland reflects on her budding friendship with the Ontario-based DJ and an ultra-memorable Lana Del Rey concert they attended.
“I just got off the phone with her 10 minutes ago. It’s probably when we went to Lana [Del Rey]. We talk about it every time we get on the phone,” she shares. “We drank so much wine and had the best night together. It was awesome. My favourite Rezz story is probably just us hanging out as people. I love her.
“We talk on the phone as friends and confide in each other. It’s a really nice thing we have together because not many people have that,” she continues. “We share similar struggles and anxieties so it’s good to have each other.”
Wonderland is an open book regarding mental health and her own anxieties. In 2019, she cancelled multiple European show dates, which she later made up, to focus on her mental health. The “Run” artist learned a lot from the outcry of support she received from fans and fellow artists.
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“I learned that if you’re an honest artist, you’ll attract the right people to listen to your music. The right people were there and understood what I was going through. I felt very grateful for the community I was surrounded by in my music,” Wonderland says. “I felt like I had to be honest with myself.”
“Life is about taking risks and not thinking, What if. I really had to take the risk, to be honest with myself,” she adds. “If only you knew what I went through before I walked on stage with a big smile on my face. No one knows. I had to create boundaries for myself in order to have longevity in my career.”
She concluded her take on the matter, “I’m just going to plug happiness and hope everyone is working on themselves.”
Wonderland’s Wave virtual performance takes place on Friday, Feb. 5, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. You can purchase tickets here.
“It’s the beginning of what the future is going to look like virtually for concerts… The only way is up from here,” Wonderland exclaims. “Please go and experience it.”