Allison Asarch’s New Release, “Only Wanna Be With You,” Covers The 1995 Hootie & The Blowfish Hit

Donna Block
8 min readMay 4, 2023

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Growing up in Houston, Texas, you performed at your grandparents’ annual Christmas talent show. First concert you went to was to see LeAnn Rimes (you were 3, she was 14). In the fourth grade your music teacher’s (Ms. Teagarden) ability to get everyone singing and smiling brought you joy. Music gives students unique opportunities to express themselves. How have music education classes influenced the artist you’ve become?

My music teachers growing up are why I am doing music today. Hands down! Singing in choir throughout elementary, middle school, high school and college really helped shape me into who I am. In choir, you learn about working together as a team, how to balance in vocal power throughout the sections of singers, and learn many languages along the way with different music pieces. My voice teacher in college, Carolyn Redman, truly helped me find my voice in a way I’d never tried before. I always thought if I was going to take voice lessons, that meant I was a bad singer — but that was completely not true. I learned about breath support, where to place my voice when singing different pitches of songs, and learned valuable warmups that help me prepare for several gigs even now. Having my classical training background has set me up for success when I play 3–4 hour gigs several nights in a row on tour.

Inspired by Tina Turner, Shania Twain, and Freddie Mercury. Trained in classical opera at Otterbein University’s School of Music in Westerville, Ohio, including traveling to Ireland and Germany to perform. What is your favorite operatic song to perform and why?

Oh, wow… hmmm… There are so many to choose from! Let me think back on my senior recital back in 2017. When I was in college, we had “Juries” — where you prepare a certain number of pieces to be sung in front of a jury of faculty every semester. I learned quite a few pieces each semester that I fell in love with. I would have to choose something Italian because I would sing in that language the most over my college years. “Lasciatemi Morire” is a short, but a beautiful piece that I sang many times. I loved that I could quickly create a character who was so distraught.

Music City. “Neon Nobody” (co-written with Ericca Latza and Andi Renfree), the song encompasses your experience of moving to Nashville and shares the message to remain true to yourself, uncompromising, and having patience as you aim to reach your goals. Finding balance in your everyday life. What do you enjoy doing outside of music?

I love living in Nashville and attending Nashville sports events!! I am a season ticket holder for the Nashville Soccer Club, I try to attend as many Nashville Predators games as I can during their season, and I support a lot of my friends who play several different intramural sports as well.

I truly also love the behind the scenes work that goes into my music career. I love emailing venues in new cities to see if I can grow my audience in new areas, and being about to create a tour and have it all come together is so fun for me. Lots of work, but it is so so fun!

Auditioned for The Voice and American Idol. Appeared on Netflix’s Original Series Sing On! (Congratulations on your win!). How did your training help you on the reality competition show?

Thank you so much!! If there was ever a show for me to be on, it was Sing On! I get so hard on myself if I’m ever off pitch, even when not many people would realize it. When I found out about this show, I was so excited to have this opportunity!! I got lucky with my episode being the 80’s decade episode because I was raised on that music by my parents. I also had the classical training background which helped me immensely with moderating my vibrato. I also just went in with full confidence. I was just so happy to be there that I didn’t let anything get in my way. They flew us to London for the filming of the show, so that was already the coolest experience!

Your latest release, “Only Wanna Be With You,” a cover of the 1995 Hootie & the Blowfish hit. The song, the third single from the band’s Cracked Rear View album, topped the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 chart. “Cover songs were a big part of my journey finding my voice out of the opera world and back into the mainstream music world. I’ve always been a fan of this song by Hootie & the Blowfish. It’s a classic and I knew that if I were to release a cover song, I wanted to do Only Wanna Be With You” and flip the song on its head into a ballad. I also wanted to sing it from a woman’s perspective. I hope I encouraged a new way for fans to dance to the song at their wedding or hear a timeless tune they always loved in a way they’d never heard before.” What was the process of taking the song and making it your own alongside Andi and Ren Renfree?

Such a blast!!! Andi and Ren Renfree helped mold me into the recording artist that I have become. When we started working together in 2019, it took us time to find my voice outside of the opera world, but we did it by creating cover songs. I posted my “Hump Day Cover Series” every Wednesday for over 100 videos on YouTube. It was so much fun and making those videos really propelled me to release my first cover song. When I approached Ren about this idea, he instantly heard my vision, pulled out his guitar, and we started working right then and there. Andi helped me with the changing of the lyrics to make it work as a female artist. Post Malone also changed a line in his cover, so I thought it was fine if I did too. I am such a fan of this song and I’m so so proud of how it has turned out!!

Female empowerment. “I know there are wonderfully accomplished women who play instruments, sing backup vocals, produce and create. I want to help shine a light on those women and organizations the best I can!” What are some women’s empowerment charities fans can help support?

I’ll share a few that are based in Nashville that I’m a big, big fan of. Mother to Mother is a non-profit that started out for new mothers leaving the hospital who didn’t have a pack and play or car seat to take their new born baby home in. Now they give clothes, diapers, equipment…anything a family would need from newborn to 18 years old all over middle TN. If you want to help donate you, you can visit the website.

From Your Father is another wonderful organization for families with absent father figures in their lives. This organization sends groceries and needs for families in the Middle TN area, created specifically for each family. If one of the family members has an allergy, they take that into account and bring them specific foods and supplies that the family would need. They also provide resources for the children and mothers to help with financial issues and educational issues. If you’d like to learn more about how to help with this organization, here is a link to the website.

Lastly, Epic Girl is an organization that helps girls who are in the foster care system, juvenile court, and at-risk youth programs by providing resources and community activities to encourage these girls to not let their past define their future. Each girl is paired with two mentors who help with accountability and stability. Here’s a link to help support this fabulous organization.

You shared recently that you made challah bread, the ceremonial bread used during the Jewish Sabbath and holy days. The braided loaves have three strands, representing truth, peace, and justice. What else is served at a traditional Sabbath meal? Can you recommend a Jewish baking cookbook?

It was the best challah I’ve made yet, by the way! Every Friday night growing up, we had Shabbat dinner at my Nana & Popsie’s house where we would say the blessings over the candles, the children, wine, and challah. Nana would typically make salad, a typical veggie — most times apple kugel, which is my favorite — and either chicken or brisket. It was a weekly tradition from birth through high school. The Jewish cookbook that I use is called “Modern Jewish Baker: Challah, Babka, Bagels & More” by Shannon Sarna. There are AMAZING recipes in this cookbook and I’m hoping to try and make bagels real soon!!

Favorite restaurants in Houston to visit when you get the chance to go home?

A few of the STAPLES that I try to go to every time I go home are as follows:

The original Carraba’s on Voss is one of my favorite places since I truly grew up going there. I know all of the waiters well! I highly recommend fried mozzarella, the brick chicken, and the Picchi Pacchiu with chicken.

Best philly cheesesteaks? Head to Texadelphia!! Their mustard blend is AMAZING and I normally just get a diet coke with 4 limes. The Founder’s Favorite is where it is at, and don’t forget the queso to start!!

I could go on and on, so my last recommendation is a hole in the wall restaurant called The Dumpling King. Their steamed vegetable dumplings are out of this world!!! Great egg rolls, as well and it’s a very small “mom and pop” shop that I’ve also grown up going to. Hit me up if you ever want any other Houston foodie recommendations…I promise I have many many places to send you to!

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