These past few weeks we’ve had a few projects on repeat, but nothing is hitting harder than soul singer ALICHÈ. Dropping her debut EP “Good While It Lasted” a few weeks ago, the artist takes us through a smooth jazz-flecked project filled with honeyed vocals, serene harmonies and warming productions. Touching on everything from heartbreak to true love, the newcomer reflects on her own experience for the project while enlisting west Londoner Fonzie for a rhythmic cocktail of bass and jazz in “What it’s Like”.
“This song is special. There is a lot of love but a lot of pain. I wrote this song two years ago on a little self-escape holiday, at the time, I was feeling very out of touch, but listening to the soothing waves, I allowed myself to sink into the emotions I was going through. The words flowed out of me, there was no music. The never-ending cycle I felt trapped in within my relationship with myself and others. I knew from the moment my pen touched the pad there was only one artist to do this song with me. I wrote the chorus and verse with Fonzie in mind. Once he’d written his verse, I wrote the Middle 8 and we got all our vocal ideas down. He’s someone who’s tone of voice & pen game I adore, plus we’re from the same ends so it’s even more love!”
From Soho House to The Ned, the artist has put on a string of performances throughout the past month, bringing each of the harmonious songs to life. Ready for the next chapter, we caught up with the rising star talking her fast-rising career and finding her sound.
Check out the interview below…
Hi Aliche, let’s start at the beginning! What is your first memory of music!
Wow, my first memory of music?! Well, my mum gave birth to me under a piano. But I guess she remembers that more than I do! Probably my parents singing, terribly by the way, and swinging me around our living room to Buena Vista Social Club. Music was always blasting in our house from morning to night.
How would you describe your sound?
I grew up listening to all sorts of things, it was very eclectic. I’d like to think I include that in everything I make. I don’t want to just put it in a genre box. And whether it’s mixing R&B and jazz, or hip-hop and funk, it has to be soulful music that makes you feel, with honest lyrics and a rhythm that gets inside you. Everything I write about comes from the heart and is what I’ve been through or witnessed.
And, congratulations on the release of “What It’s Like”. Talk us through what inspired the track!
Thank you. This song means so much to me. It came from a time where I was trapped within myself, you know, not feeling like I knew who I was or what I wanted, and it showed in my life. Something in me knew I needed a change, but at the same time, I didn’t know how to deal with admitting that. And of course, there’s the difficulty of change, always something lost. So I kept going in circles, pleasing others and hurting myself. Just as we do when we are with someone who we really love, them being so much a part of you but the small cracks you’ve been stepping over are slowly opening up, threatening to swallow you. You know it’s not right, but it’s easier than the new life of being alone. It’s like an addiction: no matter how much it hurts you going round and round and round, you keep going.
You say that you wrote this song on a “self-escape” holiday! Talk us through that trip and why you were there!
Haha yeah, I’m a big explorer. When I need space, I’m known for just running off somewhere on my own. Being in unknown spaces always reminds me that life is so much bigger than whatever is tainting my mind back in London. On this occasion, I needed to recalibrate what my priorities were in my life. I went to see my nan in Portugal. I spent time in my head, time with her, chanting and praying and shut off from social media, which I always seem to do when I go away, and then, of course, spent time writing.
You have also joined forces with rapper Fonzie for the track, how did this come about?
It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been supporting each other for a few years. Over that time, we’ve tried some stuff and this was the first thing that really came together. I knew he was who I wanted to work with on this as soon as I started writing the first few words. And that was in 2019, so this track had been a long time in the making. He’s someone who I’m a genuine fan of. I love everything Fonzie does, so having him there with me on this and through the visuals was such a blessing, especially him being so patient with the making of it and me popping up with new ideas and making him try things. He’s the humblest and loveliest guy, plus he’s from the westside, so it’s only right.
And, your debut EP is on the way! Are you nervous about releasing your first EP?
Oh my, I don’t know what to expect. I’m just so excited. I’m so proud of the body of work as a whole. Not just the music but the concepts behind it, and the images, the visuals, the people who have jumped into work on it, their belief in me and how close I’ve come to some of them. You know, just the making of it will be an experience I will cherish forever. I want to do myself and everyone proud, especially Mcknasty who produced it, Dwayne who did all of the visuals, Daniel who styled and shot all the artwork and Georgia, my manager. The energy, time and belief these four have put into me at this early stage keeps me strong.
And, do you have a particular album or song that inspires you? Maybe one you were listening to when you created your EP?
D’Aneglo’s Brown Sugar album was on rotation, but that’s a normal day anyway. A lot of Prince, Lucky Daye, Sade’s Lovers Rock, Cleo Sol, Lauryn Hill, Snoh Aalegra and Jhene Aiko. A mix of the old and the new, lots of soothing and sweet melodies. The most stand out two songs of inspiration were probably, “By Your Side” by Sade and “Time” by Prince.
What is next for you? Do you have any other projects that you are working on?
Of course. I’ve got a lot of healing and reflecting to do, so I might be following Adele with a heartbreak album, haha. But, on a serious note, I want to experiment and play with making new sounds, pushing myself artistically. There is a lot of music to come from the new year, which I already can’t wait to share. And, who knows what else might pop up.