Following her last single ‘Too Much’, London based artist Alice Mary has now shared the second of four singles to be released this year. Reflecting on the mix of feelings that can overwhelm the mind after a break-up, ‘Mystery‘ offers a jangly slice of swirling indie-pop. With shades of the uptempo danceability of the likes of Blondie, it showcases Alice’s sweeping vocals alongside funk-tinged hooks and a scuzzy energy.
We caught up with Alice to find out more… !
Hi Alice, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello! I’m a singer-songwriter, producer and guitarist and I make indie pop music which combines my love of classic pop from the ’80s and ’90s with modern production and introspective lyrics.
What initially inspired you to start creating music?
I started having guitar lessons when I was eleven – I would bring along tapes and CDs of songs I wanted to learn and my teacher would work them out by ear and teach me how to play them. It sort of forced me to develop a music taste because I had to bring something every week to learn and luckily I lived in a house with three older siblings whose record collections I could raid! Then, after I’d been learning for about a year, my teacher said “I think you should start writing your own music now”. I wasn’t very good and I thought you had to be good at playing music before you were allowed to write it, but he just gave me the permission to go ahead and start. After that I never really stopped writing music!
You’ve just released your twinkling new single ‘Mystery’, can you tell us a bit about this? Is it focused on any particular themes?
The lyrics are about this back and forth I do in my head where I can be a bit all or nothing. It’s looking back on a break up and thinking – “I have to completely forgive this person and be their best friend”, or “I have to hate them and we’ll never speak again”, or “am I still in love with them?”. I could get stuck in this black and white thinking and struggle to make decisions, but I am a bit better at seeing the nuance and the in-between solutions now! After all the back and forth in the verse and pre chorus the clarity comes in the chorus: “I don’t really like you, you’re just what I’m used to / I’m happy that we’re done, I just miss having someone.”
We love your shimmering, heartfelt dream-pop sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Hmmm, so many! For these latest songs probably St Vincent, Prince, Radiohead and Joni Mitchell.
You’ve previously charmed us with your beautiful live set at The Amersham Arms a few years ago – but can you tell those who may not have had the pleasure of seeing you what to expect from your live shows?
I have two different kind of live shows – one with a bassist and drummer where I play electric guitar and sing and have some electronic sounds I playback on an iPad, and one where I play and sing solo with special arrangements on the acoustic guitar.
And, although we are still far from ‘normality’ at the moment, do you have any plans to gig in the near future? And if so, where/when?
I feel like I’m not supposed to say this but: I haven’t missed playing live that much! I’m wondering if when I start to do it again that’s when all the pain of missing out on it this last year will hit me, but I don’t know. I find playing live very stressful and although I enjoy it once I’m up there, all of the organising and psyching myself up beforehand is quite hard. All of that is to say I don’t have any gigs booked and I’m quite ok with it! If I get offered anything good (and safe!) I’ll go with it, but I’m not making any effort to book anything right now.
How have you been connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
Instagram! I’ve been lucky to be quite creative during the last year and have enjoyed sharing my experimentation via videos on my instagram stories. I also joined a Facebook group for women and gender minorities working in music production called ‘2% Rising’, which has been great for learning and sharing ideas.
And has there been anything/anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, throughout these strange times?
I started having Zoom piano lessons a year ago and I’m still learning now – I love it and I’m so surprised! Not being able to play the piano was always a secret shame of mine, but now I can and it’s given me so much confidence in myself.
How do you feel the music industry is for new artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
The music industry is still a complete mystery to me, and I think that’s by design. There are amazing people who aren’t getting noticed and not very good people who have managers and agents. It’s a business, so they play it safe because they don’t want to lose money. So in answer to your question: yes, it is hard to get noticed by gatekeepers in the industry, but do we even need them anymore when you can reach fans directly through social media? That’s its own kettle of fish – it seems almost completely random to me what gains success online, but in a weird way that has helped me because I feel free to just try anything. There isn’t one way to find success, so you may as well just try things out and see who connects with it – if no one does, then try something else!
As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists that you’d recommend we check out?
I always want to shout out my friends, so I have to say: Hayley Ross, Semi Precious and James Chapman And The Blue Moon.
Finally, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for Alice Mary?
I have a re-release of an old song coming out for Bandcamp Friday in September. Then two more singles coming out in the autumn, and some recording this summer which I’m excited about. I’m also hoping to produce and mix some other artists.
Massive thanks to Alice for answering our questions!
Listen to Alice Mary’s new single, ‘Mystery’, here:
Photo Credit: Ben Peter Catchpole