Alessi's Ark

Alessi's Ark is the brainchild of Alessi Laurent-Marke, a British songbird whose lilting, folk-tinged songs helped propel her from MySpace's inner circle to the roster of Virgin Records. Laurent-Marke began pursuing a songwriting career at the age of 16, having appeased her parents with a promise to return to school if nothing happened within one year's time. Virgin signed the budding musician on the spot, however, and Laurent-Marke promptly decamped to Nebraska to hone her skills with the help of Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott (two-thirds of the indie folk outfit Bright Eyes). Mogis and Walcott provided the backing for Laurent-Marke's debut EP, The Horse, which paired her sparse fairy tale ballads with flashes of orchestral pop. A full-length album, Notes from the Treehouse, followed in early 2009.