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Friday, March 24, 2023

Alice Smith — Don’t put her in particular music box

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Combine the vocal styles of Corinne Bailey Rae, Janis Joplin, Erykah Badu, Norah Jones and Alicia Keys then add a little bit of something edgy and even more soulful and you’ve got Alice Smith.

Smith, the 29-year-old soulstress who hails from both D.C. and Augusta, Ga., has shaken up the musical world with her CD “For Lovers, Dreamers & Me.” The album, which is an eclectic blend of soul, funk, old-school R&B, and even rock, is just what’s needed on the entertainment scene — something different.

Fortunately, something different works for Smith, who refuses to be placed into a particular musical box or genre.

“I’ve had a couple of people in the music business tell me stuff like, ‘You should be careful, people need something to hold onto. People want one thing they can identify you as,’” explained Smith. “But I’m like ‘Why?’ I don’t think it’s true. I don’t think anybody is one way. It’s just music.”

As an African-American who happens to go against the musical grain, Smith feels it’s “offensive” when industry insiders think Blacks don’t listen to eclectic music.

“I have nothing against (record) labels at all, but some people at the labels don’t give people an honest chance and trust that people can understand music. Why can’t my signature sound be ‘Alice sings whatever…?”

Just as it is hard to associate Smith with one particular artist, the same is true for her album. “For Lovers, Dreamers & Me” has something for everyone. The first track, “Dream” is an anthem to that special someone in one’s life. The song professes undying love and the hopeful wish for romantic success. “New Religion” is an edgy song, full of energy and conviction with a rock element. The whimsical “Woodstock” masterfully takes listeners back to the ‘70s era and “Desert Song” allows one to visualize sitting in an intimate lounge with Nina Simone (ala Smith) front and center, bellowing out bluesy tones from deep within her soul. The song which speaks of reinventing oneself can be a motivational tool for even the most unenthused individual.

“For Lovers, Dreamers & Me” is the new “it” CD, yet Smith says that perception is one that haphazardly happened… kind of.

“It would be nice if this stuff got to be some new sh*#. I would be so happy. I think it would be great if this is where we’re going. I would love to be the person to do it. But I almost want to say that I didn’t intend that, but that wouldn’t be right, not exactly. What I intended to do was make a good record. You know?”

Indeed we do know. Smith’s intention was wonderfully and abundantly accomplished.

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