"Music is just everything. It brings peace. It's calming. It tells a story."
Words of a Montgomery woman who absolutely loves to sing love songs.
"Songs that bring people together," said singer Alicia Purnell. "Songs that mend broken relationships. Songs that talk about things that may have went on in a relationship. Just love. I just like to talk about love."
So it was fitting that I caught up with Purnell during a special Valentine's Day performance. As couples sat and painted romantic images together at A Touch of Soul Cafe, Purnell sang her heart out, and then even did some background music during spoken word poetry.
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"One of the styles that I'm trying to create is being like really raw," Purnell said. "That's raw in a good way."
It's an art, and it's unique for Purnell, who has her own mix of neo soul, blues and gospel.
"I never try to sing like anybody," Purnell said. "I always try to create my own style."
And when the audience finds themselves being pulled along by her sound, swaying in their seats and moving their heads and hands, that's Purnell's happy place.
"I always want somebody to be moving," she said.
It's a kind of movement she's got to be used to, growing up in a church choir.
"I've been singing all my life," Purnell said.
These days, she's a youth choir director, as well as a vocal instructor.
"I teach them, don't sing like me," she said. "If I give you songs to listen to, listen to them but create them in your own style."
Purnell studied music performance at Alabama State University.
While she's been known to sing at funerals, Purnell's also the life of the party — singing at weddings, sweet 16 birthdays, anniversaries, and even retirements.
In 2014, she won iHeart Media's Montgomery's Best competition.
"I'm still in the process of learning," she said. "Still in the process of growing. I'll get there."
You can catch Purnell at A Touch of Soul Cafe, 115 Montgomery St., on first and third Mondays from 6-8 p.m. She calls it Mellow Music Mondays.
This past Sunday, she performed during Happy Hour at The Village Place on South Court Street. She's also looking for other new venues to try out, including ones outside of Montgomery.
"Another city, another state, another country. That's my goal," Purnell said.
Her personal motto is, "It was all a dream." To her, it means everything that's been done began as someone's dream. So when, not if, she becomes a great and widely recognized singer, it was all a dream that she'll have made into reality.
"I'm me. I'm creative. I'm not like anybody else," Purnell said. "I'm me."
To all of her future fans, Purnell said to get ready because she's coming. "When you hear my music, you'll be like 'That girl can sing!'"
Follow her online at facebook.com/alicia.stringerpurnell.