INTERVIEW: Alice D releases new single 'Offline'
Image: Nick Dynan
British singer-songwriter Alice D has been responsible for some of the freshest, most creative and just plain addictive music to emerge from a totally independent artist in the past few years. Constantly building and evolving her sound since 2014, her smooth R&B-soul-pop music is the perfect backdrop for her remarkable voice which can switch with ease between husky and sweet, tender and strong and is always beautiful to listen to.
Last year Alice released her debut EP Narcissus (the track ‘Favourite’ was named one of Women In Pop’s Top 50 tracks of 2018) and today she launches the next phase of her music career with the single ‘Offline’, a soul/ R&B track featuring a mixture of vibes from guitar acoustic to 1990s hip-hop and with some of the most sublime melodies weaving through the chorus you’ll hear this year. We recently spoke to Alice D to find out more about the track and how her 2019 in music has shaped up.
Hi Alice! Your new single ‘Offline’ is out today - the lyrics talk about the downside of social media and our obsession with technology. What inspired you to write the song?
Hi Women in Pop, lovely to speak to you again! My inspiration for ‘Offline’ came from my every day experiences and people watching mostly. I was feeling particularly reflective and frustrated with social media earlier this year when I wrote the song. It’s so ingrained in society now, it feels like you can’t escape it sometimes. It’s as if we’ve all turned into robots who spend more time looking down than up. Social media is great in one sense but detrimental in so many other ways. ‘Offline’ highlights some of these issues and its overall message is that we should all be making an effort to be more present in the real world. Not believing everything we see online & not being ruled by notifications & likes.
You worked with Oscar Scheller and producer Tim Bloc on ‘Offline’ – what was the creative and recording process like?
As you probably already know, I collaborated on my debut EP with Oscar last year. He is a fantastic songwriter and we just work really well together. I was introduced to Tim, through his girlfriend initially, and then by coincidence I saw that he and Oscar were friends and share a manager. We’d been meaning to work together for a while and when we all got together in a session, the day was a breeze! I already had the idea about “being offline”, and focussing on the social media aspect, and I thought the track would be quite down-tempo and sombre, but Tim totally flipped it. He created this vibrant beat from scratch that I think makes the track and its message a lot punchier, almost like an anthem haha! We wrote the song & the music in one day.
Alongside your trademark R&B/soul sound, there are some really interesting guitar, choir and electro sounds in the song. How important is it to you to continuously bring different sonic elements into your music?
Tim played the guitar on the track! Incorporating live music on this song makes it that extra special. It’s great experimenting with different sounds and genres as it keeps things interesting. It’s good to evolve as an artist and show versatility. People have told me that ‘Offline’ has quite an old-school hip hop element to it too, with the use of the choir especially. I love that it doesn’t sit in one genre.
Will there be a video for ‘Offline’?
There isn’t an official video, sadly. However, my multi-faceted boyfriend (he also takes all my pictures and does the artwork) made me a great lyric video for it, that is also out today.
Technology has so many positive effects on our lives, but also so many negative effects, some of which you highlight on ‘Offline’. How do you navigate between the two?
Technology is brilliant in many ways but I think it’s important to not live your life through a screen. I try to separate myself from it. Constant documentation and gratification from others online isn’t healthy. I think just see it for what it is and don’t get too obsessed by it all.
Social media can play a big part in people’s lives but can bring on comparison anxiety, FOMO, trolling and depression. What advice do you have for people, particularly young girls and women, on how to safely use social media?
If there’s one thing I hate, it’s trolls. It’s hard to not get affected by them but you just have to try and not take what they say to heart. They are often angry, messed up people that don’t deserve your attention. It’s easier to just block them, rather than engage with their comments. It’s difficult to not compare yourself to others online, especially when you’re young, but platforms such as Instagram are just highlight reels. No one sees the graft that goes on behind the scenes or how an hour before you took that “flawless” selfie you were feeling really rubbish about yourself. It’s important to remember that these platforms don’t always portray a true documentation of life. I know we’re all guilty of sitting and scrolling through endless images but I truly believe if you want a clearer mind, then you should use social media sparingly, only follow people that make you feel good about yourself & have an app-detox once in a while.
You recently played your first ever festival, with a slot at All Points East UK – what was the experience like?
Performing at All Point’s East on the Firestone stage was an amazing first festival experience! It was an honour to have been asked as it’s such a big festival in London. It was a glorious sunny day and the stage was bigger than I thought it would be. I had my best friends, boyfriend and Dad standing front row supporting me, so that always helps with any nerves! It was great to have people come over to listen and performing ‘Offline’ for the first time sounded great live with my band.
Do you have a favourite part of the creative process – writing, recording, playing live?
I actually really enjoy all of it. If you had asked me that question a year ago, I would have just said writing and recording because the performance element always frightened me a little. Now I’ve had more experience doing live gigs with my brilliant band and have a body of work that represents me as an artist, I really love singing live.
Is ‘Offline’ the first single of a bigger project? Can we expect an album or new EP from you soon?
New music is definitely on the horizon, watch this space…
What else do you have planned for the rest of 2019 music-wise?
More gigs! I would love to be able to squeeze in another festival this Summer and I’ll of course be working on more music.