Interview with Alice Russell

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alice russell
Alice Russell

Interview by Scott Preston

Music that tugs at the emotions and raises hairs on the back of the neck. You really can’t fake what Miss. Russell’s got!

Alice Russell has gained an enviable reputation as one of the hottest singers in the UK right now. Her tracks with the Quantic and Quantic Soul Orchestra projects helped elevate her profile further.

Alice’s lavishly soulful voice is both timeless and up to the minute modern. Live or on record, she always performs with her trademark self assurance and sass.

Her style is a predominantly bluesy, soul lament but encompasses everything from funk to gospel to jazz and beyond. Her performances captivate the audience and command its attention.

Her primary influences are golden voices such as Minnie Ripperton, Eva Cassidy, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin as well as Jill Scott. Alice’s sensual, sublime voice has seen her work on many different projects in a number of capacities. Her work with Bah Samba (who released on Estereo Recordings) finds her fusing latin sounds with tinges of house, uplifting jazz and funk, where as her material with band Kushti, reveals a more laidback, hip hop and soul inspired sound.

Alice always pens her own songs; they are quick witted and often influenced by other musicians, something that she states has been an important stimulus for her solo work. Her solo outing is a live six piece band – ‘Alice Russell Live’ comprising of a prime selection of talented musicians.

On November 24th, Alice releases her best work to date, the new studio album ‘Pot Of Gold’, a rare, bold and adventurous undertaking. This is also the first release on her own Little Poppet label, and is packed with intrigue, wit and style. (1)

Cincy Groove: Have you recovered from your jet lag? (Alice had just flown in from the U.K. about 48 hours before hand)

Alice Russell: Yeah just about, we are here in Chicago and went out to the Obama speech here in Grant Park last night. I have been a little jet lag delirious but having a good time here in Chicago. It really was amazing last night, people out in the street cheering and you could see they were relieved. We were on the outside of the park watching his speech on the big screen, but it was still pretty crazy.

Cincy Groove: Did you have a good time at the Hotel Cafe Tour show here in Cincinnati?

Alice Russell: Yes I did, that was my first show of the tour. I had just got off the plane the night before from the U.K. We rehearsed a few songs the afternoon before the show.

Cincy Groove: Tell me about your new album “Pot of Gold”.

Alice Russell: Its just getting ready to come out, so I’m excited to see how it is received. We had been working on those songs for a while, so its good to finally get the songs out there. On Monday, after this tour is done, I’ll be meeting my boys from England and we will be doing some full band shows with this American band we tour with. We’ll be doing some gigs in L.A. and New York. Then we will come back in March of next year and kick some ass.

Cincy Groove: When you joined the Hotel Cafe Tour, was there any preparation involved or were you just thrown into the fire?

Alice Russell: The Hotel Cafe band had just received my songs a few days beforehand. They had literally learned my songs that day (Monday 11/3) and we played that night. Besides a few bumps here and there it went well. Bless them, because they have to learn everyone’s songs. They would have to play different styles of music every couple songs. You just have to see what happens, it was fun.

Cincy Groove: Was there a particular moment that made you decide to become a singer/musician?

Alice Russell: There really wasn’t a defining moment. I had always been singing in bands and singing growing up. When I was 18, I decided that I love music and love art, so I’m going to go and do that. My life seemed to just lead me in that direction. I met people here and there that would ask me to come and sing on a track. One thing led to another and it sort of gently happened. I just ended up on this path which I rather enjoy.

Cincy Groove: I noticed your new album “Pot of Gold” is coming out on your own label. What made you decide to start your own label?

Alice Russell: Basically I think it was the age old thing of wanting to own your own copyright. The way the music industry is changing it makes sense to do it yourself. The big labels just can’t give the support that they used to. When you write your own songs having that copyright is paramount.

Cincy Groove: Who are some of your influences?

Alice Russell: So many really. Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Kate Bush, Tom Waits, The Roots, D’ Angelo. There really are just so many.

Upcoming Alice Russell tour dates:
for complete show details visit http://www.alicerussell.com
November
Thu 13th Hotel Cafe L.A., USA
Fri 14th Hiro Ballroom New York, USA
Wed 19th Hi-Fi ClubLeeds, UK
Fri 21st Mint LoungeManchester, UK
Sat 22nd Voodoo RoomsEdinburgh, UK
Tue 25th Komedia Brighton, UK
Wed 26th Scala London, UK
Thu 27th Trabendo Paris, France
Fri 28th Petrol Antwerp, Belgium
Sun 30th Paradiso Amsterdam, Holland

Dec 2008
Wed 3rd The Junction Cambridge, UK
Thu 4th Thekla Bristol, UK
Wed 10th Brownes Nottingham, UK
Thu 11th Hare and Hounds Birmingham, UK
Fri 12th Dimmidisi Club Roma, Italy
Sat 13th Musicbox Lisbon, Portugal

(1) – alicerussell.com