Los Angeles-based artist Alice Gray unveils debut EP Paradise?
With the help of producers and co-writers Jonny Shorr, Nathan Fertig, Peter Fenn, Evan Blum, Dave Aude, Gabriel Benjamin, Alex Flagstad, Emily Cocontes, and David Marinelli, the singer/songwriter designed an honest first project, introducing Alice Gray as a remarkable artist and songwriter.
Fusing elements of pop, electro and soul, the 5 track EP portrays the topics of love, life and accepting our imperfections.
“The EP is titled “Paradise?” with a “?” because I’m obsessed with breaking down the facade of perfection - the desire to present an idealized version of ourselves to the world. The common theme is an awareness and acceptance of my imperfections,” explains Gray.
Dreamy and captivating, the project features the previous singles “Take Me To The Water”, “Hell with You” and “Indigo”.
Paradise? is now available worldwide.
Introduce yourself - where are you from?
I’m Alice Gray. I grew up in San Diego and live in Los Angeles.
What's your story?
Growing up I liked drawing, singing, dancing, knitting, swimming, snowboarding, playing guitar, basketball and softball, making things and selling them. I still do everything but knit and play sports. I also had an affinity to fantasy worlds. Fairies, mermaids, elves, etc. That’s usually the kind of thing I’d draw or write songs about. I gave all my high school friends fairy names (yes, highschool) and looked on ebay for velvet cloaks in pastel colors that I dreamed about wearing whilst prancing through a foggy forest. I still have an inexplainable connection to that sort of imagery.
When did you know you could sing?
When parents and friends would ask me to sing for them. I couldn’t get away with humming along to a song without someone making a comment about my voice. It was flattering but also made me very uncomfortable and I’d never sing for anyone when put on the spot.
When did you start writing songs? What made you want to write songs in the first place?
I mean I started coming up with songs before I can remember. My mom gave me a tape recorder and I’d sing about rainbow dresses. I coerced my friends into starting a band with me in 3rd grade- we called ourselves the GAP girls (spelled out our last names) and we wrote some heavy shit. About love, adolescence, fame and war. I still remember a lot of the songs and dances (we came up with dances that we performed on the field at recess).
What gave you the confidence to be an artist and fully pursue music as a career?
I first dabbled with it after taking a songwriting class and getting positive feedback from the teacher and students. My demos got the attention of a producer friend who brought me into the studio and showed me how a writing and recording session worked and that’s when I learned what that sort of career looked like and I liked it so much that I just went for it.
You’ve just released your debut EP Paradise?. What's the story behind this EP?
The EP is titled “Paradise?” with a “?” because I’m obsessed with breaking down the facade of perfection - the desire to present an idealized version of ourselves to the world. The common theme is an awareness and acceptance of my imperfections. It’s an honest portrayal of love and life. I like to explain the production as beach pop or dream pop. It’s inspired by the music I'd listen to at the beach with my family.
When did you start working on this EP? Do you remember the first song you wrote for it?
I want to say end of last year. I couldn’t tell you which was first because time is a blur for me while I’m in an out of writing sessions. Some songs come together really quickly and others take a handful of days in the studio to iron it out.
Who helped you create this EP?
My producers and co-writers: Jonny Shorr, Nathan Fertig, Peter Fenn, Evan Blum, Dave Aude, Gabriel Benjamin, Alex Flagstad, Emily Cocontes, David Marinelli. My mixer, Andi Inodami, and my manager Blade Thornton.
What are the different topics you are talking about on this project?
“Paradise” is about when a shift happened in my relationship. We reached a breaking point and instead of ending things, we worked through it and found a lot of clarity when we reached the other side. Our bond was much stronger after that. “Take me to the Water” is about needing a reset and a reminder of what’s important in life. It’s about claustrophobia in the city and needing to go home. “Water” is my metaphorical home in this song. “Hell with You” is about my challenging relationship and my masochistic attraction to it. “Stolen Gold” is a bonnie and clyde bank robbing fantasy about doing anything for the one you love, which turns out to be unrequited love in the end. “Indigo” is just a good-old-fashioned love song about swimming in the summer. Singing about water again- always.
What was the hardest part about making the EP?
MIXING. Just like hearing a song on the radio too many times can ruin it for you, listening to your own song too many times, especially in a critical way, can really ruin it for you. Eventually I love them again once I've had a break from them.
Any favorite memories from the making of the EP?
I loved writing “Indigo”. We started that session sitting by the pool in Evan's backyard. Not your average day in the studio where you don't know how light it is outside.
What did you learn about yourself after finishing the EP?
That it’s difficult to not include water in my lyrics.
What can you tell us about the artwork for Paradise? ?
I didn’t have any artwork for Paradise? and we had our release date set for right after my trip to Martha’s Vineyard, but luckily for me, I was going with my friend Emily Rowan who’s a film photographer and her boyfriend Sam. What could be better than a private beach on Martha’s Vineyard to shoot for Paradise?? I looked for anything that represented the opposite of paradise at Sam’s house and found some orange cones in the closet as well as 5 unplugged cord phones in the upstairs office. I ordered a couple neon dresses to be delivered to his house ahead of time and prayed that they fit.
How does it feel like to release your first project?
Really good! It’s about time. I like having a littler universe for people to enter. I’m already working on the next one.
As an artist, what do you want to accomplish?
Like I said above, I like to create a world for people to enter which might trace back to my fascination with fantasy. You could call it escapism, but I don’t feel the need to escape reality, I just like to enhance it, so maybe we can just call it magic.
What's the hardest part about being an artist in the music industry? And what's the best part?
Hardest: obsession with youth. Best: doing what I love everyday and not being confined to a desk from 9-5.
What message would you give to anyone who feel like they don't belong?
OMG I feel you. I’ve gone through some awful alienation, have been the target of a lot of judgement and have questioned my worth. I’m thankfully out of that place and I can say from the other side, that all of those dark days were worth it. I found myself and I found people who understand me and support me. I thought those people were my whole world. I was just drinking the kool-aid. It’s not easy to stop being a follower, but once you build yourself back up outside of the pack, you become a leader.
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
More people like Lizzo.
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