Canada always has great musicians. It’s a fact of life. While many of them have gone on to have successful careers, our northern neighbor continues to turn out many amazing new artists as well. If you’ve not been paying attention to the scene, you may not yet have taken notice of upcoming vocalist Jocelyn Alice, from Calgary, who performs pop-R&B songs that the real deal, and highly addictive.
We caught up to her at Austin’s Iron Works Barbecue as she prepared for an Austin set during SXSW and found Alice eager to talk about her love of music and her top influences. She stopped off in Austin not only to showcase her voice, but also to meet with streaming giants Spotify and Pandora before heading off to chat with the folks at Shazam. She sounded excited at the prospect of using Shazam, the music-recognizing service, to add new followers to her network.
“I always really gravitated towards good R&B music,” she told Austin.com, citing Amy Winehouse and Nina Simone.
No wonder her music so artistically weaves modern pop influence with an older and more mature sound. Watch the music video for her single, “Jackpot,” below…
After landing a spot on the Canadian talent show Popstars during the 2001-2002 season after her father insisted she audition, Alice for the most part was set on her career choice as a musician.
“I was in 11th grade, I was the youngest contestant, and we spent nine months of that year filming,” she said. “It was a good introduction to the entertainment industry and not the music industry, because it was more geared towards the television show. Afterwards, I decided to take a break. I had to decide whether I really wanted to sing and figure if that’s really where my heart is. I knew that I had something that was God given, and people reacted to that and I was aware of that. I remember being quite young and singing and having people stop and stare at me. It wasn’t until I started songwriting that I knew my message had to be really clear and that I needed to share my own story. It was two years after Popstars ended that everything started to make sense.”
Before making the transition to full-time musician, Alice performed in a duo called Jocelyn & Lisa, gaining modest fame in Calgary by performing a mixture of pop, R&B, and funk throughout the city on a regular basis. But she didn’t just stick around. Now that she’s made the move to full-time, touring artist, Alice admitted that she’s ready to move out of the long string of hotels she’s inhabited of late to her own place one of America’s biggest arts meccas: Los Angeles.
It “allows you to be introduced to a whole other audience that you would have never had before, and the reality of our business is that people don’t buy music anymore,” she explained. “My song went gold in Canada and everyone was just shocked. That was incredible because no one buys singles anymore.”
Speaking of shocked, check out how her meeting with Shazam went…
That probably explains Alice’s love of streaming — not to mention giving a new meaning to the song’s title. “Jackpot,” indeed.
Even so, Alice still spoke fondly of the special relationship that artists and music fans have with physical recordings such as vinyl or CD’s, and boldly stated that she also wants fans to experience her music on CD — even though the format is slowly dying. “I think die-hard fans will want a CD,” she said.
“For me personally, if [some] people never pay me a cent for my music but they come to my shows, that’s great,” Alice added. “Because at the end of the day I’m a live artist and I love playing shows and that’s what really matters to me.”
When discussing her dream collaboration, she noted that she would love to collaborate with Zayn Malik, the former One Direction member who left the British boy band a year ago to dive into his preferred genre of R&B. “Have you heard his song, ‘It’s You’?”, she asked excitedly. I told her that I did, and she replied: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better live performer in terms of loving a song and then performing it and then being nervous to perform it, and I just did not know you could sing a song like that. That is amazing.”
While Alice is still a fairly new artist, she spoke very highly of her incredibly supportive label, Disruptor Records and Sony Entertainment, saying they back up her every decision and give her complete creative control — a rare commodity among record labels today. As for touring and being the energizing and passionate vocalist she is, she claims that she never wants to stop performing and aspires to tour the world, reaching as many people as she can.
After speaking with Alice, it is clear that there is no stopping the feisty vocalist from achieving her goals and that she will accomplish anything she puts in front of her. Look out for more new music from Alice set to be released this year.
Meanwhile, check out her live performance of “Little Devil,” below…
If you would like to read more of Lauren Gribble’s features and interviews, you can head to her website Listen Here Reviews.