Published May 03, 2013Alice Russell isn't Adele. She doesn't aspire to be. The UK soul singer and songwriter is now on her fifth studio album, but crossover success (à la soul-inspired contemporary Adele) has largely eluded her. No matter, Russell is clearly committed to a more pure strain of "blue-eyed" R&B; fifth studio album To Dust is unabashedly so. In fact, defenestrate the "blue-eyed" terminology altogether; Russell exists as an artist beholden to a genre interpretation that at the very least comes off both sincere and absent calculated commercial ambitions. And if anything, Russell is consistent.
Why was now the perfect time to drop the album?
Well it was just ready! I had to learn to be patient, I had a lot of other things going on in the last three years and so it took a bit longer than I thought. But in a way that was a gift as it meant we spent a lot more time going back and playing with the production and sound of each song, sometimes trying four or five different versions before feeling it was right and sometimes going back to the original demo of the song.
How would you define your sound and style?
Open, raw, and emotional, and for this last album more electro-stylee. But it is hard to step back and look at yourself sometimes and define what you do sound/style/genre-wise as I feel I love all music and draw from all different styles.
What is the most important idea, issue, dilemma or thing that you want to address in your art?
Miscommunication and how misunderstanding each other and judging each other needs to be addressed, with ourselves and how we communicate with others — and how we are all flesh and blood the same! Under all the different clothes we wear the different tribes of life we choose to go with, be it goths, punks, rockers, you know what I'm saying. Under it all we are all the same vulnerable human beings and that is what I get drawn to sing about the most, that and calling us all to remember we have people power if we can remember this!
Who is your target fan/demographic?
I don't target anyone, I just make the music then let it out there and who ever wants to listen listens.
What/who are your influences right now?
Wow so many, from the Invisable, SBTRK, Mount Kimbie, Frank Ocean, Kate Bush , Aretha [Franklin], Donny [Hathaway], David Axlerod, Fela, always so many songs going around my head and from so many different people.
What keeps you motivated to keep making music?
Frustration, love, and the need to express those things.
What separates you from current soul singers out right now?
You tell me! [Laughs]
What's the measure of success to you?
For me, it is making the music you love and being able to play it to people that want to share that with you, and reaching that total feeling of communication and moving people. I am still very much a work-in-progress and think that will be the way till my last breath as you always want and need to do better.
What's next? What have you got cooking and lined up for 2013 and beyond?
Well more touring and some festivals, then I am really wanting to put aside some writing time and studio time here in the UK and hopefully with Quantic (aka William Holland) in Colombia later in the year! Onwards upwards!