Introducing Interview: Alice Mary

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

WATCH: Jessica Winter – ‘Sad Music’

Born from the desire to create an unusual video with hardly any budget, Jessica Winter has shared an edgy set of visuals for her single ‘Sad Music’. Lifted from her debut EP of the same name which she released via Roya earlier this year, the track is an electro-pop gem inspired by the need to relieve heartbreak through the medium of music.

Winter produces her music from her bedroom studio in Brixton, effortlessly blending various elements of electronica, pop, R&B and industrial music to create her intensely dance-able sounds. ‘Sad Music’ is a perfect example of this, and the accompanying video directed by Nan Moore catches both the light and the dark explored in her music.

Speaking about the new visuals, Winter explains: “Nan and I started it with zero budget, so we sweet talked our way into Specsavers and took a National Express down to Portsmouth beach to film the initial scenes. A year went past and we hustled, we toured together and eventually convinced someone to give us the cash to finish it off. The only reason we got into Spescavers was because I was there so often with a health condition called blepharitis, you treat it by using artificial tears. I think that reflects how as an artist, a woman putting out pop music, you always feel like there’s an element of being performative. ‘Sad Music’ is performative, it’s getting through heartbreak with a song and a dance.”

As well as her Sad Music EP, Winters has released the Chambermix edition, with stripped back versions of each song that focus on her vocals and piano. With a talent for both taking it down and cranking it up a notch, Winter has earned her Queen of sad bangers crown. Watch the video for ‘Sad Music’ below and follow Jessica Winter on bandcamp and Spotify for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Fran Lobo – ‘Monster’

Jagged electronics, pulsing beats and striking vocals permeate ‘Monster’, the latest single from London-based artist Fran Lobo. Lifted from her new EP Brave, which is set for release on 19th June via via Slow Dance Records, the track is a collaborative effort exploring the frustrations surrounding identity, relationships, and reality.

Speaking about the track, Fran explains: “[It] started from a jam on a Volca sample I’d bought myself, and evolved into an embodiment of frustration with identity, relationships and dreams/reality. The song includes the voices of Deep Throat Choir, LIPS and the Roundhouse Choir, Jemma Freeman on guitar, [and] samples, rare drum machines and synthesisers”.

Fran’s fusion of voices, sounds, and themes makes ‘Monster’ a cohesive, impressive listen. The track is accompanied by a set of visuals that also hold significance for the artist: “The video is a journey from London to Southern India and back, exploring the displacement and search for identity experienced as a child of the diaspora. It deals with the idea of family, belonging and friendship and in doing so, asks audiences to question their own sense of identity.”

Watch the video for ‘Monster’ below, and follow Fran Lobo on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo credit: El Hardwick

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: Show Boy – ‘Video’

Having built a reputation over the last few years across London for his dazzling, energy-filled live shows (with support slots for bands such as HMLTD and Black Midi), artist and producer Show Boy has recently changed his set-up from a full band to a duo, creating inspired soundscapes filled with loops and innovative layers. And now, following his exquisite last single ‘Heart Is An Apple’, which received acclaim from the likes of Tom Robinson and BBC Introducing, he’s shared a brand new single, showcasing his new sound perfectly. 

Taken from his upcoming Surreal EP, which depicts a collapsing relationship in the age of social media, ‘Video’ looks at these ideas through the prism of endlessly repeating film footage. Propelled by throbbing beats and a whirring danceable energy, alongside Jovis’ soaring vocals, it’s an instantly catchy, sparkling alt-pop gem that demands multiple listens.

Show Boy’s upcoming Surreal EP is set for release later this year. Listen to ‘Video’ on Spotify now. Catch Show Boy live at The Social on 31st May.

 

Mari Lane
@marimindles