Alice Ella: A Star in the Making?
X Factor eh? Does she have it?
Maybe, but we’ll ignore that for a while as Alice Ella actually hopes to gain success the old fashioned way - playing live, writing songs and singing well.
So tell me a little bit about her...
Alice Ella is a 22 year old singer from Horsham, who first started performing locally about 18 months ago and has impressed with her vocal range. Alice, a dedicated follower of fashion, attracted quite a crowd during the Horsham Festival of Sound, despite playing off the beaten path on the acoustic stage in Park Place.
Is she a solo performer then?
She does play with a band. She sings and plays the keyboards, and currently performs with guitarist Vic Chase, who she affectionately refers to as ‘Uncle Vic’. You may have seen him perform with the successful Phil Collins tribute act No Jacket Required.
A case of ‘she’s got the looks, he’s got the brains, let’s make lots of money?’
I’m sure the money bit would be nice for all concerned, but Alice is very much in control. Vic is happy to support Alice as she bids to make a breakthrough.
How did they cross paths in the first place?
Alice is friends with Vic’s daughter, Emma. Alice said: “I met Vic and I said ‘do you want to do some covers and pub gigs?’ I did have my own songs written but I didn’t feel confident enough to play them. He pretty much made me sing my own songs. He gave me a lot of confidence and convinced me that they were good songs.”
Then they played them live?
They started playing, with Alice singing mostly covers and just a couple of her own songs. But they were the songs that people commented on the most, so the duo started practising and performing Alice’s own songs more.
What kind of music does Alice play then?
It’s contemporary pop, along the lines of Jessie J or Ellie Goulding. Alice has covered hits by both of these artists at recent gigs. She is a tiny bit besotted with Jessie J. Alice said: “She’s my idol. I feel like that I’ve been on the journey with her. I saw her on YouTube before she made her breakthrough, and I thought she was amazing. Then she started releasing stuff and I saw the process of her getting famous. She had a heart problem, and her song Big White Room is about being in hospital and I can relate to that song.”
In what way can Alice relate to the song?
Alice suffered from ME, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which saw Alice spent most of her late teenage years in bed.
Don’t most teenagers!
This was a little more serious than that, says Alice. “I was in a wheelchair and was really ill and didn’t have the energy to do anything. But I found the music of Beyonce and Destiny’s Child fun and therapeutic.”
Did this illness inspire Alice’s music then?
It did – the first song she wrote was Koko. Alice said: “Keep on Keeping On is what my mother would say to me whenever I was very sad. That’s going to be the name of my first album.” Alice is currently trying to raise enough money to fund an EP. Two songs - Easy and Daisychain, two very personal tracks that relate to the difficult break-up of a relationship, have already been recorded at BabyGirl Music in London. Alice said: “I’m trying to get an EP together and I want to send that out to all the labels.”
Are there any more tracks?
Yes, among them are You Got Me So Good, a piano-led poppy ballad, and Fly, a more downbeat, crying-at-the-window sort of number. They’re not too bad, although Alice’s voice may not be to everyone’s taste.
Can’t she hold a note then!
Anyone who saw her perform at the Festival of Sound will testify that she doesn’t miss a beat and just occasionally isn’t afraid to express her vocal range in a Diva-style warble! But it’s a very distinctive, powerful, soaring voice, not nearly as frail as the lyrics Alice pens. She said: “My mum was an opera singer and performed all over the world. She taught me how to sing classically, and then I went to ACM (Academy of Contemporary Music) in Guildford. I went from classical to rock and I think I’ve come out of it as a jazz singer!”
ACM eh! Could Alice be a star in the making?
She’s certainly hoping so, but is under no illusion as to how hard it is to make a breakthrough. Alice said: “It is hard work. People think being a singer is an easy route to go for, but it’s probably one of the hardest as there are so many people out there trying to do the same thing. If I can be gigging and making enough money to live on, I’ll be happy!”
So is Alice doing much gigging?
For someone that needed a lot of persuading to get going, Alice is now a confident live performer, and recently played a well-received at Ronnie Scott’s in London, which came about by “pestering the bookers”. Alice has also performed at Camden and several Brighton venues. She’s also played at the Tanners Arms and The Anchor.
Has Alice recorded any videos?
Not anything in the way of a proper music video, But Alice is a big fan of YouTube and through her channel
(alicekitten1234) has received more than 26,000 views. She will also soon be performing an acoustic number on SBTV, an online broadcasting channel for youths.
Mostly men I’ll wager!
Maybe, maybe not. It would seem a lot of Jessie J fans have been watching Alice’s cover versions. Alice said: “Jessie J did a contest and the first person to post a video response won tickets to meet her, which is a dream of mine. I was ill at home with a cold, and I thought, well it’s the first video, not the best video, so I’ll just do it. In a few days it had about 5,000 views because all her fans were looking. It was the one video I really wouldn’t want people to see, but from that people are looking at my other videos. When I got better I wrote my own version of that song, so that has got a bit of attention from the Jessie J fans.”
Sounds like a very successful first year. Could lead to big things…
And hopefully not X Factor! Alice said: “I’ll see how it goes and if everything fails I’ll go on the X
Factor. But that’s a last resort as I write my own stuff and there are credibility issues, so let’s hope I can avoid it! It’s going to be hard but I’ve come a long way in a year so we’ll see what happens.”
Where can I see more?
You can listen to a few tracks on Alice’s Myspace page, including You Got Me So Good, which we think is her best song. This is at http://www.myspace.com/aliceella or a few videos (mostly covers though) on her YouTube channel alicekitten1234.