When I started writing a new music blog, I didn’t really think why I was writing it, I just did it. I had no aspirations to become an A&R man in the music industry or a music journalist. I had no desire to be considered cool or for my blog to be ‘successful’ whatever that means – except perhaps unless success means enjoying what you do – in which case I have every desire to be that and am by my own definition successful.
I just set up a blog and wrote it.
I never thought about some of the wonderful opportunities it could bring me, or how it would allow me to meet many brilliant people from all aspects of life.
This is very much the case with Alice Jemima. I first wrote about her way back in 2011, when she was a seventeen year old, just recording songs in her bedroom. Since that first post about Alice, I have, in a very small way, been part of her journey. It’s a journey that has found me getting to know her a little. From our first taste of marmalade vodka under a setting sun in Dorset, to attending a Radio 1 Maida Vale session with her (truly one of the highlights of my life) to drunk dancing to sixties music in my hometown of Portsmouth with Alice screaming “I could dance all night,” as we dragged her away from the dancefloor to get some sleep. All because I wrote some words about her on the internet.
It’s been incredible to see Alice go from having just a handful of plays on her Soundcloud, to her cover version of No Diggity clocking up nearly 3 million listens. It’s been exceptionally gratifying to see her develop slowly and naturally, from a nervous but engaging performer to the person she is now; more confident, assured and knowing what she wants to do. But maybe the most exciting thing of all was finding out that Alice had been signed to one of my favourite independent record labels; Sunday Best. It's a label that's released the likes of Lucky Elephant, Kitty Daisy & Lewis, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Valerie June, Kate Tempest's early project Sound of Rum and more recently Xylaroo; all favourites of mine. It's a label that seems to focus on quality and originality rather than whatever is flavour of the month. Then of course then there’s Bestival, the festival that sprung from Sunday Best, which is one of the highlights of my year – I’ve even got to perform there myself several times as a DJ, once to a huge and rammed Big Top. I’ve missed just 1 Bestival since it started in 2004, and Alice has also become a regular there – way before she was signed.
So to the music. It’s been 4 years since her self-released debut EP. That’s a hell of a long gap before releasing your second. But like with all good cooking, you need great ingredients and time. Alice has both. Now she’s ready. There’s an EP due in June. There will be an album as well. But for now, here’s Liquorice. If you've heard Alice's older self-released material (pretty much of all of which has feature on this blog), you're in for a surprise. Liquorice is unlike anything she’s done before. It’s the one that when I first heard it in her live set it made me go ‘WTF’ and then by the end I was grinning from ear to ear. It’s a sweetshop extravaganza. It's a very clever and utterly unique pop song. It shows how far Alice Jemima has come. It's probably not like anything else on her album. It's bubbling with goodness.
Let’s take those flying saucers right up to Mars. What a journey.
Alice Jemima - Liquorice