The first we saw of alice, she was in the middle of a spider-web.
Our first thought was; you don’t see many spider-webs in pop music, do you? Our second thought was that we were instantly intrigued. alice was in the middle of a spider-web and we wanted to know more about her.
We’d heard good things; that she was in the middle of a bidding war with the major labels before eventually signing to Virgin EMI and Universal, that will.i.am was somehow involved (we won’t hold this against her) and that she was working with some of the people from Max Martin’s camp.
That spider-web we mentioned was part of her visual introduction track, the perfectly named ‘My Name Is Alice,’ which was a handy, one-minute-or-so guide as to why alice should be on your radar, complete with a high-concept video and a massive CGI spider thrown in for good measure.
So, we jumped on the phone with alice as she was in LA to find out more about the girl behind the pop star in the middle of a spider-web.
“When we were writing [My Name Is Alice], we wanted a really dramatic introduction,” alice tell us on the phone from LA. “I love drama and I love performance, I just wanted to have a great introductory song.”
The spider (which, if we’re honest with you, did scare the shit out of us when we first saw it) is also more significant than you might think. Christening the spider Baby A, alice tell us that it represents “the darker side of me, a fiercer side of alice.” She laughs when she remembers telling the label “I want to be a spider!” but re-assures us that the spider’s inclusion is not just a one-off.
“It felt really special when we were doing it,” alice says. “You’ll be seeing more of Baby A, 100%! In all my videos you’ll see a link to her. It’s like following the spiders…”
We don’t tend to say this often, but it’s clear from the off with alice that there’s something special going on here.
It may be due to the fact she’s worked with some of our favourite people in pop, like Bonnie McKee, who wrote the perfect pop song ‘Teenage Dream’. Or Carl and Rami, members of Max Martin’s production camp who’ve had a hand in some of Britney, Carly Rae Jepsen and Ariana Grande’s finest moment (as well as one really good song by The Saturdays).
It may also be due to the fact that alice, from the moment we saw her in that spider-web, radiated a kind of confidence, a kind of un-deniable charisma and star power that we haven’t seen in some time.
It may also be due to the fact that she’s inspired by some of our favourite pop people too.
“I love Gaga, I love Madonna,” alice states correctly. “I grew up listening to Britney and Christina, obviously. People like Janet and Michael Jackson…Beyoncé is a huge inspiration too. She’s a triple threat. I love triple threats! That’s what I want to be.”
It’s clear speaking to alice that she means it.
The idea of triple threats comes into the conversation at numerous points. It’s what alice aspires to. She just doesn’t want to be a pop singer, she wants to be a pop star, and those are hard to come by nowadays. Most importantly, however, she knows that the state of pop has grown a bit stale, and she wants to switch it up.
“I adore singing, dancing and acting,” alice says with conviction. “I want to put on big performances, high-concept videos…I really want to bring high-concept videos, choreography that people can copy and learn. Pop music to be is being a triple threat, having this high-concept and having amazing, amazing performances.”
She’s certainly off to a great start. alice’s first major single, ‘Girls X Boys,’ was released last Friday and, as alice says herself it’s a big bop.
All stuttering synths and coquettish vocals, the song bursts into life with a hazy chorus that’s one part ‘I Kissed A Girl,’ one part ‘Into You.’
“Are you ready?” Alice purrs deliciously on the track. “Are you ready? Tell me.”
It’s a stunning debut and does away with all this tastemaker-y bullshit that’s so commonplace in pop nowadays. It is just a proper pop song by a proper pop star. And there’s not enough of those around right now.
“Everyone can interpret [the single] in their own way,” alice says. “But for me it was the freedom of not labelling relationships and loving who you want, how you want. It’s a big bop! You can really dance to it. It’s the perfect song to dance to in a club and that’s exactly how i want to start.”
And we don’t have any complaints. ‘Girls X Boys’ was added to the Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist in the UK, and hopefully the song will really hook in an audience and introduce everyone to your new favourite pop star.
And alice is not afraid or embarrassed of being just that… a pop star. In fact, she says (and we wholeheartedly believe her) that it’s who she is.
“I’m not a cool person, I don’t try to be cool…I’m not trying to be an ‘anti’-popstar,” alice tells us. “I haven’t really listened to anything else apart from pop music. I’m staying true to who I am, because I am a fan of pop music.”
Like we said, we don’t tend to say this a lot, because we always end up getting hurt, but alice seems primed and ready to be a proper pop star, the like of which we haven’t seen for quite a while.
It was nice, it was so refreshing, to see someone embrace the art of pop music and not try to dance around the subject or market themselves as something different.
alice likes pop music, so she makes pop music. Very good pop music. And to top it all off, she was lovely too, you could sense the conviction and the belief in her voice.
She really wants this (plus, she told us this was her first ever interview and we immediately regretted spending too much of the time shoe-horning ‘Bad Romance’ into the conversation).
We first saw alice in the middle of a spider-web, but it’s not the last we’ll see of her. The opportunities in pop music are endless, and alice is going to use them all to her advantage.
We don’t know about you, but we’ve just found our new favourite popstar.
“I just want my music to reach as many people as possible,” alice says finally. “That’s the ultimate goal. It’s all about the iconic bops!”
Stream ‘Girls X Boys’ below:
Words by George Griffiths