The first time I heard the debut, self-titled album by Alice Jemima I sat up and took notice of a sound that was at once honest, edgy and loaded with atmosphere. Keen to find out a little more about the artist from Devon who is set to make a big splash in the music industry for 2017.
The flexibility and reach of social media and the internet means that new artists are emerging daily and some of the most exciting talents are regularly using these digital environments as the platform to showcase their sound.
I first became aware of Alice Jemima in the spring of 2016, when I heard her intoxicating and hypnotic song Liquorice, which leapt from my speakers and grabbed me with its earthy beat and dance inspired origins.
As her self-titled album is released we caught up with Jemima as she sees a current brief run of UK gigs come to an end.
I began our conversation by getting a sense of the kind of music Alice grew up listening to.
“My tastes were quite eclectic and I guess reflective of the general popular music scene of the time. I listened to the likes of the Spice Girls but was also keen on Sade and Gabrielle.
“I grew up in Devon but ever since I was a child I always knew I wanted to follow a career in music.”
Most teenagers would probably go through a phase of wanting to be a pop star so how did her parents take the news that she wanted to be a singer/songwriter?
“I was fortunate because my parents were very supportive of my ambitions, perhaps in part because mum especially had an involvement in the industry. She was in a tango band and I spent a lot of my childhood surrounded by musicians and going to gigs and festivals. For me it was like second nature and it’s always been a part of who I am. I think I had always known where my future lay.”
In a continuously evolving industry where the fabulous advantages of social media and a connected society also mean there are expectations to perform and perhaps remain current, does she feel the pressure to produce material or is the writing process an enjoyable one?
“I love what I do and consider myself very fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living. I really enjoy writing even if sometimes it can make me go a little crazy when I suddenly have writer’s block! When I am writing, it is satisfying and liberating. I can’t think of a more intimate way to better express your inner thoughts and feelings.”
As someone who grew up listening to popular music how would she classify her own sound.
“I guess if you had to label what I do I’d say it’s indie-electronic-pop….”
How does it feel to have your new album out and how much work went into getting it out?
“Having my album out feels amazing, scary and strangely humbling – all at once. It’s a little like having everything you want come together with everything you fear! I’ve put a lot into the songs I’ve written, all compositions that are reflective of my life. Relationships, films, personal and non-personal experiences – every-day life things! I guess you could describe it as a musical diary of my world for the last few years.”
With a number of gigs being played to support the new album – Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol and London – does she enjoy performing?
“Yes. What better way is there to really connect with your fans? I still get very nervous pre-shows but that is one of the unique things about the live experience. The pure adrenaline rush. Once I’m on stage I’m incredibly happy.”
And is there one artist she would like to write and perform with if she had the chance right now?
“If it was possible I would love to work with Tom Misch. I think he is an incredibly gifted musician and songwriter.”
Social media has become a pre-requisite for any artist but how important is it for her as her career really starts to take off?
“It’s so important – not just to me but to all musicians and artists these days. However, I’m naturally quite a private person, so sharing details of my everyday life is something I struggle with. It’s a very difficult trade-off. Of course, you want to keep your fans informed of what’s going on but at the same time you have to keep something back for yourself.”
Outside of her career, what does she do to keep herself occupied?
“I have a diverse number of interests but coming from Devon I love going for walks by the sea as well as hanging out with my friends. I also enjoy food and cooking – my absolute favourite is Sushi – and catching new music and films.”
Does she have a favourite movie?
“I’ve got so many. Three that immediately spring to mind are Amelie, Submarine and Drive. I love the way each of them are filmed – the colours, the atmosphere – and of course the soundtracks!”
There’s no question in my mind that Alice Jemima is certainly going places and her new album will be something that fans and critics will be discussing positively over the coming months.
If you would like more information on Alice Jemima and her new album then visit her website here.
George R Vaughan