Fifteen-year-old singer, songwriter and musician, Allie McIntosh had spent her young lifetime crafting demos in her basement – but when it came to entering the studio to record her first EP, which was released in September 2020, she experienced a tsunami of nerves. It didn’t matter that she had already achieved virtuoso abilities as a classical violin, viola and piano player, or that she was the concertmaster for the McPhail Youth Chamber Orchestra. In typical teenage fashion, she felt a rush of excitement and terror facing down the high-tech studio equipment.

But one of those demos impressed Hideaway Studio’s Joe Mabbott, who introduced her to her manager, Aaron Mader, a.k.a. Lazerbeak, of Doomtree fame. Together, they instantly recognized something special in McIntosh, who blends pop with R&B and a dash of classical in her songwriting.

As she enters the studio to record her second EP, we peppered her with a slew of questions about music, her favorite things and what she thinks her spirit animal might be. Hint: Not surprisingly, it’s a creature known for blistering speed.

Q&A with Allie McIntosh

What is your favorite subject in school?

I like chemistry in school because all the other subjects are boring and that’s the one where you get to actually do stuff and do experiments and whatnot and blow stuff up and use fire. I like mixing things. I always have. It’s like baking and I like baking a lot, so chemistry for sure.

If you could collaborate musically with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be?

I probably would want to collaborate with either Beyonce or Ariana Grande or Megan Thee Stallion. There are a ton of artists that I would love to collaborate with. Ariana probably would be my top because I love her high notes, and I also love singing high notes and I feel like we could sing high notes really well together. It’d be a lot of fun.

What’s your favorite album of all time?

My favorite album released of all time would probably have to be Chelsea Cutler’s Sleeping With Roses. I love every song on that album.

What has been your favorite concert you’ve attend?

I haven’t gone to many concerts, but I went to Jingle Ball one year, and that was just a blast. I know Camila Cabello was there. Halsey was there. I just remember having a great time. I brought a friend. My mom was there as well, because I was still pretty little. I remember just having so much fun there.  Oh. Oh, geez. Okay… Now I’m going to have to modify that a little bit. Now that’s tied with a couple of years ago when I went to see Nicola Benedetti, who’s my idol violinist. She is fantastic, and I went to see her at the Ordway, and it was just amazing. I got her autograph and whatnot and said hi to her. My dad made a joke that we were both Scottish, so that was funny.

What is your favorite TV show?

My favorite TV show is a tie between ABC’s Once Upon a Time and Your Lie in April, which is an anime that I recently watched, which inspired me to play my Chopin piece – so of course I love it.

Where is your happy place?

My happy place is downstairs in the basement, at my computer, recording music.

Favorite Restaurant?

My favorite restaurant is Noodles and Company. I love their Wisconsin mac and cheese.

What instrument would you like to learn to play?

I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the harp. One of my close friends just started
playing the harp, and I’m just so happy for her, but so jealous. I just think the harp is a beautiful instrument, and I want to play it. That’s another goal that I have later in life, learning the harp.

What is your spirit animal?

Okay, I’m probably complimenting myself too much here, but probably a jaguar or a cheetah, because I feel like I’m feisty and my two settings that I have are fast and faster, so it’s either one or the other. I don’t slow down, ever. I never do anything half-heartedly, except for maybe school. But other than that, I’m always just doing stuff fast and efficiently like a cheetah, like how a cheetah runs.

Production Team: Ryan Klabunde, Jim Kron, Eric Pagel

This story is made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota.


Spend a day in the life of Minnesota music-maker, beat wizard, dad, family chef, and Doomtree ‘Ultimate Boss,’ the one-and-only Lazerbeak (and Allie McIntosh’s manager).

In her widely-praised, first hardcover book My Own Devices, Doomtree artist Dessa details stories about being a rapper, being in love and growing up in a South Minneapolis middle-class family. Dessa’s compositions are intimate, perceptive and analytical, and create a universe beyond her intellectual songwriting and self-expression. In this video story, she describes some of the inspiration behind the stories in the book. 

Meet another awe-inspiring Minnesota teenager: Edie Weinstein, who was in seventh grade when she wrote a children’s book about dementia, Grandpa and Lucy, inspired by the visits she started making to nursing homes when she was in second grade.