By Fiona Bloom
Allow me to introduce myself.
Brit Expat living in NY for 17 years now and immersed in the Entertainment Biz. I’m also one of the Ambassador’s for GEORGE, so hopefully you’ll see my writing regularly.
I’m very excited to introduce to you an incredibly talented British singer/songwriter – Alice Russell. She’s been making vintage soul, pop and funk records for many years. I’ve seen her perform several times in the U.S and in England and her live performances are nothing short of incredible and chilling.
I caught up with her on the last date on the tour- NYC. Le Poisson Rouge. The place was packed despite it being a Sunday and Mother’s Day.
What a way to end her U.S ‘To Dust’ tour. Her latest effort available on Tru Thoughts. Le Poisson Rouge- last stop on the tour.
I hope you enjoy getting to know Alice Russell…
Fiona: What’s the inspiration behind the lead off single “Heart Breaker”– How did you hook up with Steve Glashier for the video and how did that treatment come to life?
Alice: I have to give Steve the credit for the idea, I just told him I didn’t want a narrative love lost video for this song as I feel that has been done to death! We sat and had a chat about it and he came up with this and asked me to ask Harry, Harry agreed and was up for it so then it was just down to sorting a day where we could pull in favours, find a hotel room and shoot!
Fiona: Was that your idea/conceptually or his?
Alice: Twas Steve’s!
Fiona: To Dust latest project. What’s the theme for this and how did you come up with the name?
Alice: The album title To Dust comes from one of the first songs we (TM Juke and I) came up with for this album and for me it encapsulates the whole feel of the time we spent making it. There were a lot of things going on, stressful situations but one of the many problems was put in to perspective when a friend decided to disappear from our lives, it was like a cold slap in the face of what is really important in this short life, and a life we still don’t know what we are really here for but we roll along and find meaning and joy. It was the idea that nothing is bigger and makes you feel more alive than when faced with death, your own mortality or losing someone close that you will never get to see or share time with again, to dust, all goes back to dust.
Fiona: What’s your fave song off the album?
Alice: It changes! I love singing ‘For A While’ live, and at the moment singing ‘To Dust’ out live is a great release for me.
Fiona: This is your first time touring in America in how long?
Alice: Well I came to LA in December of 2012 to do a soul special with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson,Leon Ware, See Jorge, Coco from Quadron, Shuggie Otis – which was an amazing night! So, I have been popping back and also toured a little with Quantic and our project early spring of last year but I agree it has been far too long a break between touring my own show! But, I am back now and I intend on coming back as much as I can!
(Fiona) What’s taken you so long to get back here. I last saw you doing a few showcases at SXSW, Austin– the crowd went mad for you and you were adored by the media…You still are.
Fiona: What’s the reception been like so far in the U.S for the new project?
Alice: This last visit has been overwhelming you never know who, if anyone will turn up… and they came! The crowds were ace, really vocal and filled my heart right up! It’s been an amazing visit. I give my all when performing as you have to you can’t hold back and I feel the crowd gets this and gives it right back !
Fiona: Was that your first time on Jimmy Kimmel? What other TV are you doing here?
Alice: Yes it was! We were Kimmel virgins and this is the only TV we did on this visit but I have plans to try to come and do some more if they will have me!
Fiona: I’m sure you love NY like all us Brits. Do you have any tips or fave haunts to share with our audience?
Alice: Wow, so many! There are sooo many good places to eat and drink (we all went out for pickle backs the other night, and I am afraid some of the best places we have ended up in I haven’t remembered soo well.) Black Bettys in Brooklyn was many a good night of drinks and music but I heard it has sadly closed down 🙁
(Fiona) Oh– Black Betty’s was one of my haunts too
On the health is wealth side , I am a bit of a spa fiend as steams rooms really help on the road with a tired voice and chops! Getting a good pummelling when you have been late nights, early morns and trains planes and automobiles is a very good thing to try to get into so I visited the great Jones spa and I loved it! They have a juice bar steam room and I got a good pummelling massage…mmm..so yin and yang, one night re tox the next de tox and so it goes on.
Fiona: What about restaurants? Do you like Spicy food?
Alice: I adore spicy food!
Fiona: Fave Spice?
Alice: One of my fav spices isn’t so spicy on its own I love cardamon! Chilies I don’t count as a spice but just hot fire chili sauce I adore. We recently did a show in La Reunion Island, the next island from Madagascar and the chili sauce there blew your head off but still
retained amazing flavor! Now thats what I’m talking about..yum!
Fiona: What’s been your saviour mobile app while you’re on the road?
Alice: Loving Vine and I have only just been introduced to it by the band we play with here in the states, ‘The Park’, they are all over it and now so am I!
Fiona: Any juicy stuff you can share?
Alica: Best to keep quiet on this….
Fiona: Not sure your current relationship status– seeing anyone, married?
Alice: Yes I am with someone.
Fiona: Fave place outside of NY to tour/visit in U.S?
Alice: I adore San fran , feels like a home from home.
Fiona: What about overseas?
Alice: Japan is amazing to visit.
Fiona: Who are some artists in the U.K that are on the rise you’re feeling?
Alice: Check out ‘Us Baby Bear Bones’
Fiona: I’m sure you’re doing a ton of festivals this Summer. Is there one you’re super excited to Rock and why?
Alica: Well we have Glasto coming up and I am hatching great plans for that show both musically and outfit-wise and who knows, I may get my bays all doing some dance routine…
Fiona: Lastly, as a Woman in the entertainment world, any specific challenges or barriers you’ve had to knock down, and encouraging words for young girls starting out?
Alice: Just stay true to yourself and you can’t go wrong. Do not let anyone bully you and surround yourself with people you trust and that help you keep your feet on the ground.
Thanks Alice- love the answers and insight. Learned a great deal more about you!
So for everyone who hasn’t seen the official video for Heart Breaker- here
I encourage you all to go buy the album. It’s worth every penny!
On Twitter at @alicemrussell