Change is nothing new to budding songstress Alice Smith. Currently a New York native by way of Washington D.C. and Augusta, Georgia, the diverse environments brought about growth, personally as well as musically.
We caught up with Alice to discuss her new album, For Lovers Dreamers and Me, which is best left for personal interpretation. Songs ranging from upbeat 70s pop piano riffs to the deepest melancholy of jazz and blues serve as a backdrop for Alices varying octaves. Alice claims that shes just being herself. Limitations are not relevant, because in her opinion, shes just having a good time.
Alice: Where are you?
AllHipHop.comAlternatives: Im in Miami right now. Its mad hot.
Alice: I was there a little while ago for the Winter Music Conference [A yearly music extravaganza where artists and DJs from all over the world, come to South Beach and showcase their talents.]
AHHA: How was it?
Alice: It was weird. We were going to play, but it got rained out.
AHHA: The first song on the album, Dream, has a very 70s pop-funk vibe to it. The lyrics were very sexy. How did it come about?
Alice: I just sat down and wrote it. I was working with this guy at the studio who had the track. I dont even know what it was about. Actually, yeah I do. At least I did at the time, but I cant exactly remember at the moment.
AHHA: You just threw it together in five minutes?
Alice: No, it was for real. The writing for it was way easy. It just fell out, right then and there. No effort required.
AHHA: Theres obviously a plus to being able to write a song so quickly, but on the downside, when re-listening to it, do you ever feel that you might have missed something?
Alice: Oh, no, no, no. Theres no downside to that. Theres no downside to the song coming out as quickly as it did. Well, I guess there would be a downside if you werent satisfied with it, that is, if it wasnt complete. But it was complete. Ive had songs where I thought, Oh, this was easy. Then there are times when I stop in the middle of it and just come back to it. When you finally go back to it, you wish that you had done the whole thing at one time. Its hard to recreate that moment.
AHHA: On the back of your album youre quoted saying, Im full of contradictions, which doesnt bother me, as long as Im being honest about it.
Alice: It was from some article. People are always like, Its got this and its got that. Youve got this and all of these different things. Im really like that so, it doesnt bother me. People ask me, How do you think its gonna work? Youve got all of these different things. What do you call it? Ya’ know, people ask
AHHA: The same questions.
Alice: Yeah, they try to make it one thing instead of everything that it is. It doesnt bother me, because thats how I am. I change my mind. I like different stuff. As long as its honest, Im being honest about it. If you say what you mean and what you mean is what you say, then its good! I think its healthy.
AHHA: Well nothing is absolute.
Alice: Yeah, definitely. Nothing is absolute. I agree 100%.
AHHA: Ok, Im going to try to stay away from the trite questions. What I noticed on this album was that vocally and musically, you take a lot of risks. Some people arent comfortable stepping outside of what they know, but the album [For Lovers Dreamers and Me] is really on the outskirts of the box, so to speak.
Alice: I think that its the only way to go. I dont have a problem with taking risks in anything. I dont take real big risks, but Im not actually taking a risk on this album. I do experiments and try different stuff. Im always trying to do something different. Im not going to take risks because its [her singing] too delicate for that. Im gonna do it so that its not. So, Im actually not taking a risk when Im singing because that wouldnt be smart. Its way to sensitive.
AHHA: Ok, but say while performing live, you sing a song differently, hitting a certain note differently than you did on the album. Wouldnt that constitute as a risk?
Alice: Thats fine, but its not taking a risk. Thats just having a good time. When you say risk, I think danger, like if you take a finical risk, you could go broke. If I take a risk with my voice, I could hurt it. But stepping outside of what ever its supposed to be, then I dont have a problem with doing that at all. Thats actually the fun part. Thats the whole point in being able to sing, being able to do what ever you want with your voice. I spend a lot of time in making sure that my voice is clean, healthy and well taken care of.
AHHA: Do you have a routine, like only drinking hot tea or swallowing honey?
Alice: No, I dont have one. I need to get one probably, but I dont. I should have more of a routine. I used to go to see a vocal instructor regularly, but now I just go to keep maintenance. Other than that, I just try to keep healthy and get a lot of sleep.
AHHA: If you could sing with one person dead or alive, who would it be?
Alice: I’d say Nina Simone because shes the best and I think that shes a genius. Her pitch is perfect. I would love to sing if she was playing the piano. She was the greatest.
AHHA: How do fans respond to you at a show?
Alice: Theyre cool. If they get into it, then theyre fine with me. Usually unless theyve seen me before, people are pretty quite. They listen. Theyre good at listening, especially the New York crowd. They come to listen. They dont do too much talking during a show. Some people do, but not like at other places.
AHHA: Where? Can you give me an example?
Alice: I dont know, just some other places that Ive played. I think that it just strikes me that people in New York listen. Its more about that than someone else not listening. It just stands out to me.
AHHA: Would you say that its more respect driven?
Alice: Yeah, I would say that its a respectable thing when someone is trying to perform for you.
AHHA: What could some one on a farm in Ohio take away from your music that a regular fan in New York could?
Alice: That its just me. Its honest. I think that people can tell that its real. Really its just music, not brain surgery. I hope that they get enjoyment out of it. Im trying to grow. What ever they need is what I want them to get. Theres nothing negative about it, so take what you need from it. Im just trying to have a good time.
AHHA: If you could live anywhere else besides New York, where would you go?
Alice: Im not sure. Im working on it. I was thinking about Barcelona or Hawaii. I was thinking Barcelona because they have mountains and ocean. Im not specifically sure where, but it would have to be somewhere thats pretty, has good food and the weather is moderate.
AHHA: Somewhere new where you dont know the surroundings?
Alice: No, its not really about that. Its about the place itself. Its not really about me and the place, its more about if I leave New York, the place that I go to is pretty. It has to have some mountains, ocean and trees.
AHHA: Yes, well New York City isnt exactly known for nature or having a large tree population.
Alice: I like to be in some form of nature. I need to see it. Youre always in it. Its just weird when you know that youre in it, but cant see it. If Im going to be somewhere else then thats where I want to be, but I like New York.
AHHA: Thats true; New York is the center of a lot of things, especially music. With it being such a musical Mecca, do you find that the market becomes flooded?
Alice: No, theres plenty of room for everybody. Youre not going to take up too much space for too long if youre not worth it. People get weeded out so, I dont think that its flooded. If youre good here, someone is going to find out. It goes back to that same idea that people are really good listeners.