Featured Images by Tammie Valer
Uprising indie-folk musician Alicia Blue just released her latest single “Blackbird” this past February, telling us a story of the discrimination and racism that not only her family has faced, but her friends and the Black Lives Matter movement. Blue’s music journey started when she was in college and met soul singer Malcolm Hayes Clark, Jr., who was the inspiration behind her stage name “Alicia Blue.” With inspirations like Hozier, HAIM, and Alabama Shakes, Blue’s music takes you on a raw and emotional journey that will make you fall in love with folk music.
I was able to speak with Alicia Blue about what music means to her, her latest single “Blackbird,” and the impact COVID-19 has had on her career.
What does your music mean to you? What’s the most exciting part of writing and producing music?
My music means moving forward. Figuring out the equation. Each song adds up some kind of math I didn’t have the answer to. The most exciting part of writing and producing music is when the bottom hasn’t arrived yet. When you and whoever is in the room, don’t exactly know what’s gonna happen. Then whatever was gonna happen, finally happens. That’s what it’s all about. Sitting in the black, the depth, waiting. It always shows up.
Who are your musical inspirations and where did your passion to create music originate from?
My biggest influences are Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Neil and Leonard. I grew up on my older brother’s music which was Alanis Morisette, Jewel, and a lot of 90’s punk rock. Today I’m influenced by Hozier, Alabama Shakes and HAIM. My passion came from words. From storytelling. I heard “The Hurricane” by Dylan when I was 13 and was mind blown that music wasn’t just a sing song radio thing. That it could tell a real life story. That it could be like journalism in a way. Words are where my passion originated from.
How has your career been affected given the current situation with COVID-19 and the inability to have gigs?
I had appendicitis at the top of the pandemic. Obviously, I made it out alright. But I was essentially ready to move forward after that. Something like that changes the way you think. I dove right into my writing, found the right manager, and am currently in Nashville writing. Although Covid is a total tragedy, and I’ve lost some of the closest people to me to it, I had to use the time to move forward on my craft and songwriting.
How was it collaborating with Lincoln Parish from Cage the Elephant and Sadler Vaden from Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit during the process of creating your new album?
Both Lincoln and Sadler are true. When you walk into a session with them, it’s down to it. I’m that way, and it was refreshing walking into Nashville with like minds. I’m always grateful that others exist in this way. And by that I mean, others committed to the task at hand, ready for the depth. I hate small talk. They both don’t know how to do that. Thank fucking God.
What is the story behind your latest single “Blackbird” and why did you choose this song to be your single?
I came to Eduardo Rivera with the sentiment and gist of Blackbird. It was the top of the pandemic and the beginning of the BLM protests. I was sitting with two friends in Joshua Tree a few weeks prior, talking about their grandparents in the Japanese internment camps. Talking about the muted state anyone who went through that, might exist in. I chose to release it because it felt relevant to real life right now.
Why did you decide to release your first album during the beginning of the global pandemic?
It was scheduled, and like so many others, I had the opportunity to hold off. I chose not to because I felt that times like these require art. Was it a good business move? I have no idea.
What’s in store for your fans in the upcoming future? When can they expect the release of your second album?
Working on this new album, and hopefully by late fall/early winter 2021 it’s out into the world.
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