Have you heard of Alice Smith (@alicesmithmusic)? If not, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!?
This past Friday night at the Howard Theatre (@HowardTheatre) here in DC, Alice made sure the packed house — made up mostly of newbies – knew who they were witnessing.
As I was standing in line for Friday’s concert I ended up talking to the people around me (I’m a line-talker) who said they bought tickets after seeing her on BET’s Black Girls Rock last month. I shook my head and told them that they didn’t see NOTHING that night. To me, that performance was muted as she didn’t have her band – which is awesome – backing her up. The all-girl house band was there because, well, we were celebrating how black girls rock. But, that band didn’t bring out the bad-ass woman that is Alice Smith.
From the moment she sauntered on stage – in a bangin’ outfit, BTW – you could tell Alice was going to have a blast, and those in attendance were in for a treat. I’ve been attending Alice Smith concerts pretty much every time she’s been in DC since discovering her via a Starbucks Song of the Week 7 years ago. Her debut album, For Lovers, Dreamers & Me hit me in a way that I can’t explain. And, when I saw her at The Birchmere (@theBirchmere) I fell in love with her nerdiness. She was having a blast and you couldn’t help joining her.
I have to admit, going to an Alice Smith concert for the first time is like being introduced to heroin. You become immediately addicted. The good news – unlike the actual drug – you’re always hitting that feeling you get from the first time you see her. It’s like experiencing the awes of a new concert every single time.
What kills me is that, even after receiving a Best New Artist nod at the Grammy’s for her debut album, it was obvious that mainstream record labels didn’t know what to do with her. Like other artists I’ve mentioned before – Me’Shell NdgeOcello, Res, or even Emile Sande – Alice has a rock edge to her, and her music shows a wide range of influences. This creativity scares the bejesus out of record execs who are just looking for a quick plug-in. Even her edginess comes out with the audiences she brings to her concerts – scan the crowd and you’ll see all different shades, hair/clothing styles, and personalities. But, when she sings, we’re all fans cheering on a voice that can’t be duplicated.
For the newbies at The Howard, you could tell they were completely amazed the minute she opened her mouth (Her albums are phenomenal, but you HAVE to experience her live to hear the insane range of her voice). Like it has been for the past year and some change since the first time I’ve seen Alice sing it – her cover of Fool for You brought the house down. Turning around (I was in the front) I caught a glimpse of pure enjoyment as people were standing to cheer her on and some littering bowing in deference. The newbies sitting near me turned around and told me that I was right. One guy saying that he will never question anything I say…ever. Simply said, she owns the hell out of that song.
Once Alice and the band got that song out of the way, which was perfectly placed 6th in her set, she took the wheel and kept giving 110% for the rest of the performance. You knew the people who had both of her albums – She being the new release that was funded by an awesome Kickstarter campaign (piss off all you lazy record execs!) – as we all sang along, and at one point provided the back-up for Another Love, and cheered our favorites when a song started.
I could go on and on and one – and ask my friends, when it comes to Alice Smith, I do. So, before I bore you to tears – check out her website, look at videos posted on YouTube, watch for live performances and…most importantly, buy her music. You won’t regret hitting that “download” button. And be ready to lecture your friends who don’t know about the awesome Alice Smith.