Who is Allegra Dolores?

Friday, 04 January 2013 20:49 Written by  Dana Weems

Allegra Dolores is in a lane of their own. No one genre suits the musical stylings of the dynamic duo which consists of Southside Chicago-bred biological sisters Kimeco and Asia. Their style can be described as a mix of Hip Hop, Punk Rock, edge, feisty and harmony but it doesn’t do them any justice for they are much more than artists who fall into a category.

The name “Allegra Dolores” comes from joining their middle names: Allegra which means joy, and Dolores simply meaning pain. Going by the mantra, “Joy sets it up; Pain breaks it down,” Allegra Dolores offers listeners a bit of soul and realness in every dose of their music.

As multi-talented artists, Allegra Dolores is devoted to doing it all.

Allegra Dolores tells GMO how they are doing just that and how they collaborated with director Dennis Dortch on his web series RoomieLoverFriends, produced by Issa Rae of The Awkward Black Girl.

Gloss Magazine Online (GMO): Tell me how Allegra Dolores the dynamic duo was born as far as the artist goes?

Allegra: We were part of a trio at first. It was kind of a spoken word but a cappella group. It was a bad break up and when the breakup happened as far as this trio is concerned, my sister and I were like, ‘hey we can do this on our own.’ I think we were all at my apartment. We were like, ‘we could do this, we could do this’ and the dudes were like ‘yeah—Allegra Dolores!’ and I think that was it. Hilarious.

GMO: Did you do spoken word when you were younger or sing as young children? How did you know that this is what you wanted to do?

Dolores: Our parents had us in music and we are straight band geeks. We’ve been in band forever and ever.

Allegra: I played the clarinet.

Dolores: I played the Tuba and Baritone.

Allegra: We both dabble in piano.

Dolores: That’s where we started. Our mom always tried ...I remember her sitting at the piano when we were really little and trying to teach us herself but I guess she vicariously put us in piano lessons. Piano, dance; she always put us in like, anything artistic.

GMO: Who are your musical influences?

Allegra: As far as Allegra Dolores, definitely Patrice Rushen, and for me, MF Doom.

Dolores: Yea, lots of early Hip Hop.

Allegra: Very Golden 90s Hip Hop. A Tribe Called Quest.

Dolores: Farside...

Allegra: And then also like UGK, Siouxsie and the Banshees—early punk.

Dolores: It’s such a long list. I think we will try anything.

Allegra: I’m influenced by anything melodic and a little bit different. I can do [Clause] Debussy. Debussy is one of my all time favorite old school impressionist classical pianist, but I can get down with UGK at the same time and gain some insight from Devin the Dude.

Dolores: We’re kind of all over the place.

Allegra: And so is our music.

Dolores: Which I think has kind of kept us going as far as we have cause we are all over the place.

Allegra: People will like us especially if they associate us with the Black and Sexy soulful...

Dolores: We get compared to Floetry A LOT. Which is cool cause they had a career.

Allegra: And then like in the early days a lot of Chicago acts would consider us apart of Hip Hop because we’re so influenced by Hip Hop but yet we’re very harmonious and really melodic.

Dolores: And we’re also in a Funk Rock band. ... just depends on the mood.

GMO: Your music is very versatile. So with the industry sometimes pegging artists under a specific genre, how do you stay true to your aesthetic?

Allegra: We do what we think beats. It’s all about how we feel - we’re some moody broads.

Dolores: I think the strongest aesthetic that me and Kimeco have is that we’re sisters. So we know how to bounce off of each other really well.

GMO: How did you all get connected with Dennis Dortch and doing the whole A Good Day to be Black and Sexy and “Chemistry”?

Allegra: He’s been with us since the beginning.

Dolores: Like 2006, 2005.

Allegra: We were wrote a song called “The Music OK.” ...we uploaded it on old [expletive] Myspace and he picked it up from there. He hit us up and was like, I’m doing a movie called A Good Day to be Black and Sexy and I want to use this song in it, can we do that? And Asia and I were like, yea sure! He went to Sundance and when we went to Sundance we were like Oh! This is a legit movie.

Dolores: Dennis started out trying to go into the music industry and so he’s always been like send me your stuff, let me hear it. It was two years almost to the date. He was like I’m doing a pilot, I need a theme song I want it to sound real like old school... He flew me out and in two days we [completed the song]. The best thing about it I remember Kimeco saying, ‘just want to use this—camera phone, action, I wanna use that—lights, camera phone, action.’

Allegra: We had two days to record and make the song happen while we were in LA and the first day we got there we stayed with a friend of ours and she was like let’s go out and we were like, no, we gotta write this song.

Dolores: But Kimeco was like no, let’s observe and let’s go out so she’s writing about the club is happening so...

Allegra: That night made it happen. Cause the whole vibe in whatever club we were in gave us like that feel for the song. It took some time [but then] the words just came out—boom. I think I contributed to going to that club. Especially the ‘side glances, eyes on me’ and i was looking at all of these girls that were like clocking each other—don’t look at me, don’t look at my man. They were giving each other the side eye. It was a great process.

GMO: What’s next for you ladies?

Allegra: Room 11 just signed with a manager. We’re still working out the contracts and how things are going to roll out but we’re looking at regional tours. I would like for Allegra Dolores to kind of do some stuff like that. But I think a lot of the time Room 11 feeds off of Allegra Dolores, and then Allegra Dolores feeds off of Room 11 because people discover the band through Asia and me, and then people discover Asia and me through the band.

Dolores: We do better with a band than trying to be on stage with a track. We’re performers. I can’t not do stuff on stage. Recording is cool but I just need, I feel like, I need that stage to perfect it, get it better.

Allegra: We’re also song writers and I feel like [that’s] the next step. And we’re a good team. We have the saying, joy sets it up, pain breaks it down so I being the joy, I kind of like come in with the idea and then Asia will put some flavor on it. There’s no one way to do music anymore so I’m down with whatever way it comes out. Dolores is a mad MC. People will look to her rhymes. You spit fire like an angry Chihuahua.

GMO: What do you want people who will be learning about you to know?

Dolores: Expect nothing, receive everything. We do it all. We lean more towards rock more so than soul. Cause we’re not runners.

Allegra: We write. On stage we’re just as interactive as we are funny. Usually the jokes are always on me, but it’s alright. Sister love = sister acts.

Fun Facts:

  • What’s next: Allegra Dolores is featured on the up coming Chicago Afro Beat album on a track entitled “Slippery People” with Tina Howell.
  • Have done backing for: MC Lyte, DJ Quik, Jon B, Omar
  • Have collaborated with: Prime Meridian, PUG$ Atomz, and a host of other Chicago artists
  • Favorite places to visit in Chicago: Michigan Ave, Roseland, Drexel Square, Bronzeville
  • Washington Park, Old Wicker Park
  • Favorite places to eat in Chicago: El Barco Marisco, Addis Ababa, Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s, Harold’s Chicken (on 79th Street), Revolution Brewering


Listen to the RoomieLoverFriends theme song “Chemistry” here

Twitter @AllegraDolores and Facebook Allegra Dolores Music.

Dana Weems

Dana Weems

Dana Weems is a contributing writer and a fashion/beauty columnist for GMO. A Chicago native, Dana earned a MA in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and a BA in broadcasting with an emphasis in broadcast news from Grand Valley State University. She’s interned and worked at WLS-TV; ABC 7 Chicago’s entertainment show Windy City LIVE. Still freelancing, Dana has written for news sites, public affairs-based publications, fashion websites and other organizations.

She can be contacted at dana@glossmagazineonline.com and danaweems.com.

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