QSC Aspiring Interview: Naughty Alice reveals the origins behind new track, bloodline

London-based producer and songwriter Naughty Alice talks to Headliner about her musical journey so far, why she chose her artist name, and explains the inspiration and creative process behind her latest track, bloodline

Hi Alice - what’s been keeping you busy music-wise recently?

I've been writing a lot of music lately, but my main job is working as an A&R at a record label in Haggerston, East London, so I've been busy with that. I’ve been writing and producing for other people as much as possible; in 2022 I didn’t release much music, but now I’ve got lots to collaborate with people on so hopefully that will be coming out soon.

How much did the pandemic affect you in your work?

I think everyone would agree it was a weird time, but in terms of music, I was able to really knuckle down and concentrate. I upgraded my home studio, made sure everything was sounding good, and bought some new instruments. There can be a lot of distractions in everyday life, so it was actually really positive for me; a lot of the songs I’m releasing now were started during lockdown, so they bring those memories back but in a nice way.

When did you first realise you wanted to work in music?

It’s always been a passion of mine, and I love live music - that's something that I really missed during covid. I picked up the guitar at age seven, and then when I was 10 the drummer from The Specials moved in next door to me. He had a studio with four drum kits, and for me to go there when I was 10 and be able to play stuff was wild. I was seeing him going on tour and rehearsing and all this kind of stuff, and I just thought it was really cool. I think that was a moment where I thought this is what I want to do, and he pushed me towards releasing music and trying to get into a band, which I did.

I've taken quite a lot of inspiration from producers, as opposed to artists.

How did you choose your artist name, Naughty Alice?

I used to have a T-shirt when I was younger that had Naughty Alice on it, and people would just read it all the time, because it was just there. I was actually a really good kid; I was not naughty at all! But that is why I'm putting it out as it kind of just stuck. I think I mentioned the name to a couple of people and they said they really liked it.

From where do you take your musical inspiration at the moment?

I think in the last few years I've taken quite a lot of inspiration from producers, as opposed to artists. Inflo who does all of Little Simz’ stuff is amazing; I really listen to his music and depth to see what he does with textures and everything else - it’s very inspiring for me. I just yeah, it's very inspiring. In terms of artists, Christine and the Queens, Daft Punk - those are a couple of names that have really inspired me.

Can you explain your process when it comes to songwriting?

It’s different every time, because although I'm an artist, I think of myself as more of a producer in a sense as in, I don't do vocals on my songs. Actually that's a lie [laughs], I have one song coming out that uses my vocals for the first time ever. But generally speaking, I collaborate with singers, so we share in the writing process quite a lot. I love to collab with people, and every time I do, I'm inspired by the other artists. I don't collab with just anyone; it has to be very selective for me. I make sure that I really love their music, I meet them before and make sure that we get along because it is very personal to write a song with someone. So I would say that a lot of my inspiration also comes from the people that I'm working with, because each song is different and each has a different meaning.

How did your new track, bloodline, come together?

I started writing the song last summer. I think I had a beat basically up to a demo point, so complete enough to send to artists for vocals. I sent it to a couple of artists and I just wasn't really vibing with what they were giving back, which is often the case, and then a manager reached out to me and put me in touch with this singer called Silvana. She came to the studio and we just spent half a day listening to music that we both liked. I put this beat up, and she just started singing along and she really liked it. I also really liked what she was doing, so we had a couple more sessions and then the vocals were decided. We recorded them properly, I finished the beat and then it went off for mixing and mastering.

In terms of the song itself, it’s basically about her relationship with her father, who cut her off because she wouldn't go down the traditional route of being a doctor or a lawyer. She chose music, and they haven’t had a relationship since, but she's worked on it and wants to make the best out of something that's bad. The lyrics are essentially saying what happened, but also saying, she hopes he's okay and can find peace with it. She managed to so there's no reason why he couldn't. And so even though it's actually quite like a deep song emotionally, it’s also quite uplifting, and I'm sure that a lot of people will be able to relate to it. It's amazing that she has been able to go through something so hard, but find the light in it. Those lyrics really came across in our first few sessions.

What would you say has been your proudest moment so far as a musician?

I think every time I release a song I feel quite proud, because it's a long journey and sometimes it's not easy. There’s one specific moment that springs to mind which was in 2020, when I won a Mixed In Key competition for my song Reborn A Queen. They have loads of followers and loads of people tuned in, and the guests on that night were quite famous people, so it was quite nice to have that recognition after putting my name out, and to have them commenting on the song. And of course it's great that they chose it to win! That was probably one of my proudest moments.

Listen to the full interview with Naughty Alice on Headliner Radio, here: