Five Minutes, Five Questions: ‘Musician for hire’ Alisha Pattillo

Five Minutes, Five Questions: ‘Musician for hire’ Alisha Pattillo

Northwest Arkansas’ vast array of musicians never fails to impress. When we heard of Alisha Pattillo, who recently jammed with The Extemporaneous Music Society for Trillium Salon Series, we wanted to know more about her. Below is an excerpt from a podcast with Pattillo and Monica Hooper, music editor. Hear the full podcast here:

Q. I read that you were born in Australia and raised in Singapore. Is that correct? How did that happen?

A. Yes, ma’am. My father’s job. My parents actually met in Singapore. And then when they were pregnant with my older brother, they moved back to Australia because if you’re born in Singapore, you have to do the military service. … So they got out and got a different job and then he got another offer back there. So it was just kind of a back and forth thing. It’s their fault.

Q. And you trained in in Singapore, right?

A. Yeah. I did elementary, middle school and high school in Singapore. And then I went back to Australia for college. I studied at a music school called the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane. I don’t really have any relationship to Brisbane, other than it’s warm, and there was a school there.

Q. OK. So was it in Singapore when you started playing saxophone?

A. Yep. When I was a kid, about 5 or 6 years old, one of our family friends, their son was playing it. And that was the first time I saw it. And I just thought it was a coolest thing. It looked cool, sounded cool. And I was attracted to the instrument. So when I was finally big enough to get my hands around a saxophone, I just went straight for it, and just stuck with it. You know, if you like something, [you] just keep with it.

Q. I haven’t seen a lot of female saxophone players, I really liked the “Bracelets of Submission” video by the Wonder Horns [one of the many projects Pattillo is involved in] that’s on your YouTube page. How many lineups are you involved in now and what sort of events do you play?

A. That’s a constantly changing number. I’m basically musician for hire, a freelance musician. Consistently, “The Bracelets of Submission” Wonder Horns, a trio that are basically horns for hire, mainly for commercial and top 40 party bands. But we also are all classically and jazz trained, and they all have their master’s [degrees]. I don’t, but you know, they’re fancy. That’s one group that I work with. And then I have a couple of ensembles down in Texas that I work with on a pretty regular basis.

Then up here I’ll put something together if someone wants like a duo, a jazz duo for playing standards, I’ll do that. If someone wants a funky fusion group, I’ll put together a quartet like that. I also work with some party bands in the area up here as well.

So I try to not just do one thing. I want to be able to have some different outlets. And you know, if anyone calls me for anything else, I’ll try anything once. Let’s do it.

Q. Can you tell me a little bit about your albums?

A. So I have an “Alisha’s Quartet” album, which was a group that was based in Houston. We were a steady working group. When I moved up here, I’ve reformed that with some local musicians, and we get gigs here and there. There’s nothing coming up. Like it’s not a super busy schedule with that crew. But it’s always fun when we get together. Alisha’s Quartet — it’s on all major platforms for download or streaming.

Then I also have a studio project called “Billabong Island Sound,” which is also available everywhere. And that’s more kind of experimental, like acid jazz-ish, kind of chill out [music]. Sort of stuff more like lots of panning and effects and saxophone sounds. So yeah, check them out.



Alisha Pattillo

Learn more about Alisha Pattillo at or find her on Instagram and Facebook. Her albums, “Alisha’s Quartet” and “Billabong Island Sound,” are available on Spotify and other streaming platforms.

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