Alice Merton has never stuck to her roots, in fact, the 27-year-old’s sonic vision has continuously evolved, building up a quarter of a billion streams and over two million monthly listeners along the way.
Having studied a Music Business degree in Germany, Merton had always envisioned music playing a crucial role in her life, albeit did not expect to have such a paramount position within the music industry. “I’m thrilled though that I can call this my career and perform music I love”, she expresses.
Alice launched Paper Plane Records as a platform to distribute her music, dating back to 2017’s ‘No Roots EP’ release. “Basically, no one wanted to sign the music in the form I presented it”, she tells us. “Everyone wanted to change things, add things and give their opinion of how it should sound”, rather than chaining herself to a label’s commands, Merton alongside her manager birthed Paper Plane Records in an attempt to follow her own art direction and remain a true product of herself.
Firmly digging her heels into all aspects of the industry through Paper Plane Records, plans to enlist a roster of her own are somewhat on the horizon: “…but I feel like I first need to put out more music of my own before I invest the time in other artists I love”.
Merton’s debut album ‘MINT’ is a product of the record label and acts as a diary of piled-up material she’d written since she first began investing in music. ‘MINT’ led to accolades Merton only thought were reachable in dreams, and now she’s fully submerging herself into future creations. “It isn‘t easy approaching the second record, that’s for sure”, she mentions how she sees the sophomore record as more of an adventure of exploration and experimentation. “I want to always be open to new ideas and work with new sounds”. Directing focus away from how the record may perform once released, Merton’s only objective is to craft a body of work that wholeheartedly represents this specific chapter in her life.
Produced by Koz (who has worked with Madonna and Dua Lipa), the hypnotic lead ‘Vertigo’ sets Alice off on her sophomore voyage. On the track, Alice outlines how she wanted to “put the feeling of vertigo into music” whilst also embodying the inner-workings of her mind each time she feels on edge from anxieties or panic attacks. “I’m constantly reminded of the strength the song has and it makes me feel so much better. It reminds me that showing weakness can be one of your biggest strengths”.
Her battles with anxiety are no secret and Alice is widely known as a spokesperson for mental health awareness within the music industry. “I don’t think the anxiety or nerves will ever completely disappear”, she responds to seeing numbers rise and crowds largen as her career blossoms to greater heights. “I‘m always honoured if anyone shows up to my shows and I would love for my fanbase to grow over time, that would be a dream”.
The video accompanying ‘Vertigo’ is a stunning motion picture in itself, with post-apocalyptic aesthetics drawn from director Anuk and Merton’s visualisation of how she feels when singing the track. “We both love art that has a deeper meaning and makes you think”, she communicates. Inspired by dystopian imagery and films Snowpiercer and Bladerunner, both Anuk and Merton let their imaginations run free in this collaboration.
“Anyone who isn’t afraid of creating a different world is someone I look up to”.
Amongst the rest of the population, Alice is looking forward to a little bit of normalcy to return, with plans to conquer and excel her craft through live performances and intimate sessions in the second half of 2021. The pivotal sophomore album is also all that’s on everyone’s lips, and Alice is about to endeavour into themes we’ve never associated her artistry with before. “There will be a mix of topics on this album that I’m really excited to share with everyone”, she pauses. “But I think the biggest one is learning to let go of the past, and being open for a new and exciting future”.
A new and exciting future with Alice Merton sounds quite enticing and we are on standby for greatness.