Interview with Alice D – NRFF Artist of the Month

‘Forever Mine’ – Alice D

ALICE D is the NRFF Artist of the month (April ’20). This is the first in a series of exclusive interviews by Anya Mani Patel featuring ’emerging talent’ from film, music and dance.

Alice Dallin Walker, aka ALICE D, is a new and exciting British singer-songwriter to burst on to the independent music scene. Growing up in the fast paced city of London, her musical roots were firmly planted at an early age. She wrote her first song at 11. Performing runs in the family too. Her mother, Sara Dallin, is a founding member of the iconic girl pop group Bananarama, and her father, Bassey Walker, is a dancer and musician. Alice’s new single ‘FOREVER MINE’ has its roots in soul and R&B. Produced by Oscar Scheller, she sings passionately and in an empowering way – words that aptly describe the artist herself. Filmed in Alice’s home, the video directed by Sylvia Suli (Vogue, SkinDeep Mag), captures her sophisticated style, as she effortlessly reminds us about the importance of cultivating a healthy relationship with ourselves. We interviewed the NRFF artist of the month to talk about ‘lockdown’, her new EP ‘Lioness’, music influences and aspirations as an emerging artist.

Congratulations for being the NRFF artist of the month. How does it feel?

It was quite unexpected but of course I’m thrilled & so thankful for the accolade. As an independent artist, it’s great to be acknowledged for the hard work you put into your projects so Thank You NRFF!

How are you approaching the current lockdown?

It’s been tough & I think it’s okay to feel down and sit with those feelings of grief for a bit. I’ve been appreciating the bit of exercise we’re allowed a lot more & just trying to instil some form of routine. Sometimes it’s hard to feel motivated but I am trying to see this as a time to get even more creative & connect with people. I’ve got my new EP coming out soon so I’ve been sorting that as well as the artwork for it, so that’s been keeping me busy & sane! 

Tell us about your current single ‘Forever Mine’. What was the inspiration behind the lyrics? 

The phrase “Forever Mine” is something we associate with love letters & a significant other. Oscar Scheller (Producer) & I thought it would be interesting to flip the narrative & have it as though you are writing a love letter to yourself. Through the good and the bad, you can always rely on yourself – I am forever mine & you are forever yours. 

‘Forever Mine’ – Alice D

Can you explain the concept behind the music video for the new single.  Who did you work with? What were the main challenges making it? 

I worked with the super talented Director/Producer Sylvia Suli (Vogue, SkinDeep Mag) & I was fortunate enough to have a whole team of people there on the day. I funded the video myself & we filmed it in my living room! We wanted to create a video that focussed on loving yourself & the journey to self-acceptance with the intimate close ups, bold silhouettes & different lighting. The bold, more fierce shots are juxtaposed with the delicate nature of my clothing, creating a sense of vulnerability.

Through this love, we felt it is important to be gentle with ourselves whilst simultaneously feeling empowered & comfortable in our own skin. 

‘Forever Mine’ – Alice D

You must be feeling excited about releasing your new EP ‘Lioness’. What genres and themes will it cover? 

It’s a 5-track EP & it has a title that I will be announcing very soon! It covers things from online-trolling to heartbreak & love to feeling empowered. The tracks are soul RnB inspired as well as having some disco/ funk influences. I worked primarily with artist/producer, Jimmy Robinson aka “Big Pretty,” who has been a joy to work with- he’s played live instruments on all of the songs, which gives them a real authentic feel. 

I can’t wait for everyone to hear…

How does this EP differ from your previous body of work? 

I think with music it’s good to take risks & try different things- not to pigeon hole yourself. With each single or EP you release, you evolve & push yourself as an artist. You develop further & therefore your writing gets better & you feel more confident in your abilities. I feel like this shows on this new EP- I normally write my songs with another person (which I still love!) but with 4 of the tracks on this EP, I’ve written them by myself- which in itself is an achievement for me. I would have felt too scared to do that a few years ago.

I think the sound of this EP is different from before, but still feels authentic to me and my style. 

How did you get started as a recording artist? 

I come from a musical family so have always loved music & singing. I wrote my first song at age 11 with my Dad & participated in numerous plays & concerts at school. The first time I recorded something properly was when I was a teenager in Oscar Scheller’s (mentioned above) bedroom. He had a basic set up with a mic & we’d write & record our ideas down. I knew from then that this was something I wanted to pursue. 

I’ve experimented with different genres & worked with many producers/ song writers over the years, but felt like I found my “sound” & confidence back in 2017 when I released the single, “I Don’t Owe You.” I haven’t stopped writing & recording since. 

‘More 2 U’ – Alice D

Who and what influences you as an artist?

I grew up listening to a mix of music- my Dad was the soul man of the house whilst my Mum loved Bowie, The Smiths & Patti Smith but also a lot of 70s disco/funk. I can appreciate all types of music but I connected to Aaliyah, Brandy & Mariah Carey (to name a few) when I was kid- their soulful voices, melodies & lyrics resonated with me. I played Mariah’s “Butterfly” album on repeat! Brandy in particular has such a rich dulcet tone to her voice that I would listen to constantly & try to emulate. 

How important is it to you to have creative control over what you do and how you are portrayed as an artist?

So important! I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my music & all the artwork that goes with it, especially as I do it all myself with no team, I have to be over everything. As an artist you have to make the music you want to make & can’t be moulded into something you’re not, otherwise that inauthenticity shows.

How important is it to have people around you who encourage your artistic passion/vocation?

Being an artist, I suffer with a lot of self-doubt. I’m lucky I have a supportive network around me who truly believe in me & my vision. My mother is a musician herself, so she gives me invaluable advice, which is super helpful. I’m surrounded by creative people, which always helps as we can share ideas & even collaborate. I’ve worked on 2 of my music videos (“I Don’t Owe You” / “More 2 U”) with my friends, which were brilliant experiences & I’m so lucky to have had their input & expertise.

‘I Don’t Owe You’ – Alice D

The industry has changed a great deal, especially with social media. How would you advise a young artist starting out?

Creating content now is key online. I’ve learnt that you have to do a lot of your own self promotion- it may feel a bit indulgent at first posting about yourself / your music, but it has to be done. You are your own promoter essentially! Trying to navigate the music industry can be a minefield sometimes- I think just keep your wits about you, don’t be so trusting of everyone you encounter & be open to critic & ideas from people whose goal is to help you. For anyone starting out, I think just always be unapologetically you, create music you like & don’t worry about trying to fit into a certain genre/sound

What are your future aspirations as an artist? Is there anyone in particular you would love to work with?

I would love to make an album & tour it- that’s always been my dream.

In terms of artists I think “The Weeknd” is amazing. I listened to his album “Trilogy” again recently & forgot how much I love that album. The artist “Mahalia,” is so good- I would love to collab with her. I saw her perform live the other week & she has such an amazing voice & aura about her. 

Also…working with (the queen) Rihanna in any capacity would be an honour! She’s iconic. 

NRFF wish super talented Alice D great success with her new single and forthcoming EP. Follow her on social media.

Instagram: @alicedmusic_ Twitter: @alicedw1 Facebook: alicedmusicpage Soundcloud: alicedw

We are currently receiving film submissions (including music and dance films) for all of our festivals. NRFF London 2020 is scheduled to run in mid-September, subject to government guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Please follow our social media for updates, and the official guidelines for staying safe during this challenging time. Keep your creative spirit alive!