Artist You Should Know: Alice Russell

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KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez and Alice Russell
KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez and Alice Russell

British soul singer Alice Russell joins KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez on Tuesday, August 17 at 1am for a Guest DJ set, playing some of her favorite songs of the moment. She will be stopping by the studio after a “KCRW Presents” show at the Bootleg Theatre on Monday, August 16 and we asked her to answer a few questions in advance.

How influential was radio in your musical upbringing?

I grew up in Suffolk.  It’s country-side near the sea.  Radio was very inspirational. When I was really small I couldn’t really afford records and stuff,but when I listened I use to play with legos and I use to have my little boombox and you would have your tape ready to record the tracks you liked, and that’s where I began making my  mix tapes for myself.

What records this you listen to as a kid?

Basically Cameo, when they were on the charts. Wow, I’m trying to think. It was James Brown’s Sex Machine. I was really young when I first heard that.  It meant different things to me at that age. I was like “Like A Sex Machine? What does that mean? It’s really funky!”  8, 9 or 10 that sort of that age.  Even younger, Mom said I would tape things off the radio and drove them nuts.

What other mediums of art inspire you outside of music?

Film for me is one of most inspiring mediums because you have performance, music, dance in there. Each frame could be like a piece of art.  For me, it’s pretty crazy.

It must be amazing to be a director because you have to think about many things.

Musically you’re always trying something new.  With “Pot Of Gold,” you have a distinctive throw back sound and then you dabble in electronic music.  Is this a conscience choice to always step outside the box and try new things?

For me it’s a natural feeling to love so many styles of music. I find it weird when you have “purists” in the world because I do not want to eat the same thing everyday.

I want to taste a lot of different things.  So many things move me — from classical, folk, soul, techno to crazy noises.

Is traveling inspiring for you as an artist?

It takes you out of your zone and makes you think in a different way and see your self in the new.  It’s like being a baby again. It makes you feel like more things are possible and refreshed the mine.

Thank you for your time Ms. Russell.

Thank you!