16th September 2022
Interview: Amy Bell
Music has been a constant presence in Alice’s life. As a child she remembers seeing her parents, Sara Dallin (Bananarama) and Bassey Walker (Michael Jackson, Tina Turner) rehearsing at home and performing on the biggest of stages, which ignited her passion for creating her own music. She didn’t seek to ride on their achievements, instead becoming a singer and songwriter on the London dance scene. Alice discovered that her passion lay in music inspired by a wider range of cultures and styles, and she collaborated with her friend Oscar Scheller (Mabel, Biig Piig, Tkay Maidza) as she cemented her direction.
Bookended by two mood-setting instrumentals, the EP feels like a journey of discovery in which Alice has learned more about herself every step of the way. The EP’s halfway highlight, ‘Protect My Light’, unifies nostalgic R&B and lilting island rhythms as Alice explores the need to eliminate toxic friendships from her life to keep her own energy pure.
Personal development and empowerment is also a part of ‘Bittersweet’, which focuses upon the future possibilities that come with the pain of the end of a relationship. The EP was co-written between Alice and her regular collaborator Tim Blok, who also produced 7 out of the 8 tracks.
Hi Alice, thanks for talking to ReVamp, let’s take it back to the beginning, who inspired you to start creating music, and was it always something you were interested in?
Hi ReVamp, thanks for having me! I’ve always loved music and coming from a musical household, I think it was somewhat inevitable. I wrote and recorded my first song at age 11 with my Dad actually in our little studio room at home...I remember loving the process of putting pen to paper and singing on a mic.
If you could choose 3 words to describe your sound, what would it be?
Soulful, Unique, Authentic.
Congrats on releasing your new EP ‘Into the Light’, what inspired this EP, and how did you choose what would go onto the EP?
Thanks so much! I feel like I have grown as a person and artist in the last year whilst writing this EP, which is why I titled it “Into the Light” - stepping into my truth and not being afraid to be myself. Musically, I had been listening to a lot of vinyl, some obscure instrumentals and classics from Buena Vista Social Club, and Putumayo’s “Congo to Cuba” where modern African music meets Cuban styles. I’ve always loved global music and I finally had the confidence to experiment with different elements and sounds on this new EP. I worked on the project primarily with my regular collaborator Tim Blok and every song we wrote I actually included! Tim is so talented and he totally understood my vision for the EP.
When you have written and recorded the songs, who get to hear them first, and what is the reaction like?
My parents and my boyfriend - they’re each very honest and will give constructive criticism when needs are...it makes it more genuine when they truly love something.
Talk to us a bit about the writing/recording of this new EP.
The overall theme of the EP is strength/ empowerment and I don’t think I really set out to do that, it all just came naturally. I used to be a people pleaser whereas now I will happily say no and set boundaries, which I think is reflected in the songs. In terms of writing, I have a list of titles I like in my notes on my phone as it helps to have a starting point - “Nervous,” “Bittersweet,” “Ego” and “Passion” were all on there! I wrote the EP over a year and recorded the majority at Tim’s home studio- his space is super chilled and we’ll stop for lunch and he’ll make us a homemade soup using vegetables from his garden haha, there’s no pressure which I think is the best way to work. I wrote “Warrior” with Julian Simmons who is a brilliant producer and also very easy to work with…the EP has been a joy to make!
If you could choose one song off of the EP, which you could listen to forever, which song would it be and why?
“Warrior” - it’s a song for the warrior women throughout history and the strong women in my life now. I always feel emotional when I listen to it.
How long did it take you to fully ‘step into your own light’?
A long time! As mentioned, I didn’t always have the confidence before and often doubted myself. Perhaps it’s just growing up and getting to know yourself more. I still have off-days but I know now when to step away from things/ people that aren’t bringing positivity into my life and to stay true to who I am no matter what.
What is next for you?
More music, I’ve already said to Tim I’m ready to get back into the studio. Next year I’d like to do more live shows with a proper band…watch this space!
You can follow Alice D on her music journey here.