Alice On The Roof
Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux
Alice on the roof is a 20-year-old Belgian artist. She shot to fame in her own country with ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ and its infectious melancholic sensuality. The record was top of the charts for 8 weeks and become the most-played title in 2015. Now, after releasing an EP of her ethereal pop in the spring, Alice is preparing to bring out her first album.
Her father an instrument-inventing electrical engineer and her mother an architect, Alice entered an academy of music aged six. “I learned to sing in harmony and absorb family influences – from Peter Gabriel to Jewish and Chinese music. I studied piano and especially vocals. I’ve always been much better at expressiveness than technique.”
When she left to restart her last year of high school in September 2011, Alice ended up in Brookings, Oregon, “the state’s most southwestern city, by the sea. I love new experiences.” Although she is not religious, she joined the movement of a small American community that includes Mormons and protestants. “I went to church every Sunday with guides who looked after me and offered encouragement. Every day, I sang with a jazz band at seven in the morning and I did an hour’s choral work with fifteen people in a choir called Sea Breezes. We sang country songs, big American productions and Sting (she smiles). I’d already done choral singing in Belgium, but in Oregon, there was more nerve and a strong sense of performance. They’re not as shy as us. The experience gave me greater self-confidence. I was even named Prom Queen at the end of the year.”
Alice is a naturally anglophile singer without borders, even if her English-speaking tastes (Bon Iver, Beirut) also run to a selection of Nordic talents. “I’m a great fan of Björk, Sigur Rós and that Danish singer, Oh Land. They taught me to develop more warmth in my voice.” Another frontier crossed.