‘Community’ Star Alison Brie Talks New Girl Group, Covers Classics At LA Gig

By Zachary Swickey

LOS ANGELES – Alison Brie is a woman of many talents: she can act, pull off a believable British accent – as seen in the hilarious Jason Segel and Emily Blunt comedy “The Five-Year Engagement – and let us tell you, the girl can sing like a bird.

Brie already has a cult-like following of devoted fans thanks to her role as the innocent-but-spunky Annie Edison on NBC’s hit comedy “Community,” but lately she has been dabbling in musical courtesy of her work with The Girls – a pop trio she recently formed with two of her best friends, fellow actresses Cyrina Fiallo and Julianna Guill (who have both popped up on “Community” as well).

Fortunately, Brie is just as nice as her “Community” character, as she was willing to chat with MTV News on the phone a bit about her new group and how they came to be. When asked if she was already friends with her fellow bandmates before their respective appearances on “Community,” she explained that they were all in an online web series together known as “My Alibi,” which ran on ABC Family’s website. Brie described the show as a “’Breakfast Club’-type web series,” and credits it for helping her land the role of Annie because the characters are so similar.

The Girls made their debut performance in New York City – with the amazingly talented locals Jones Street Station as their backing band – and Brie revealed that they were very prepared for the gig. “We practiced a lot. We practiced for about four months – choosing songs and getting together weekly with Ludwig Goransson [a composer on “Community”] as he helped us with our harmonies,” she explained.

“But of course, on the day, liquid courage was involved,” she joked.

Brie explained that music has long been a part of her life because her father is the leader of the Terry Charles Band, who occasionally play the Viper Room in LA.

While they were warmly embraced at their first gig, The Girls aren’t taking things too seriously just yet. “I don’t think you’re going to see us hitting the streets with The Girls posters or shopping our demo to any labels or anything like that,” she laughed. “It’s been happening more organically and casually. There is no master plan at work here. We just want to continue to have fun and sing.”

For The Girls second show, they found themselves in the back of Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles on Cinco de Mayo for the store’s “Nerdmelt” event, which also featured comedian April Richardson of “Chelsea Lately,” who admitted to being dumped recently. (I can only imagine who the unlucky fellow might be as she was as hilariously funny as she was inappropriate and beautiful.)

The Girls have been sticking to covers so far (easy now, they are only two gigs in), but the songs they pick are “spot-on,” as Simon Cowell would put it. I felt like I had taken a time machine back to the ’60s as Brie, Fiallo and Guill were all sporting lovely dresses that had a vintage charm, while singing mesmerizingly beautiful harmonies during covers like the good ole’ Hall and Oates tune “Rich Girl” and their own rendition of “These Girls – a tune originally credited to none other than Brie’s “Community” co-star Donald Glover through his rap side-gig, Childish Gambino (who I personally witnessed slay the audience at SXSW last year).

While they also performed a lovely version of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire,” the highlight of the evening for me personally was their take on The Head & The Heart’s “Winter Song,” which showcased their ability to harmonize and the natural beauty of each of their voices. The final song of the evening – a cover of Jones Street Station’s own “Tall Buildings” – was also rather breathtaking.

At the end of our chat, we asked Brie a classic “what if” question: If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have three albums to listen to, what would they be?

As expected, she wasn’t a fan of the question (“You know that’s a mean question,” she joked) and its inherent “implausibility,” so she requested that they be three of her favorite albums at this moment. Making me feel like a lacking journalist, she mentioned two artists I did not know (but have since listened to and fallen in love with): the folk sounds of The Lumineers and sexy synthy ’80s throwback Haim.

Hoping to keep my indie music cred, I encouraged Brie to check out two totally amazing acts that she admitted being unfamiliar with: R&B prodigy The Weeknd and Ryan Gosling’s music project, Dead Man’s Bones. We hope she enjoys both!