Following her 2017 debut EP No Roots which entered three different American Billboard charts, made the Top 10 across Europe and was followed by the rocking hit Lash Out in 2018 and the album MINT in 2019, German-Canadian-British singer Alice Merton released the track Vertigo in 2021 which offered the opportunity to arrange this interview.
Vertigo was produced by Grammy-nominated Canadian producer and songwriter Stephen Kozmeniuk, professionally known as Koz, who has worked for the likes of Madonna, Nicki Minaj and Dua Lipa, and teamed up with Alice here to turn into a song an unexpected feeling of panic and vertigo she once experienced on a night out in Berlin.
Alice Merton was born in Germany, where she became a judge on the local edition of The Voice in 2019; she grew up in Canada and has also lived in America and the UK; on the British side, she dueted with BRIT award winner popstar Tom Odell in the 2018 song Half As Good As You.
Alice, what achievements are you most proud of?
I’m proud that we were able to play various festivals like Coachella and perform on Late Night shows in the US. But also growing a fanbase and having more and more people show up to concerts.
What do you think of today’s music?
I sometimes think a lot of the music nowadays sounds quite similar and repetitive. I get excited though when an artist like Phoebe Bridgers comes along and mixes things up.
What kind of music do you listen to, these days?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Twenty One Pilots and Lana Del Rey.
What music genre do you feel most represented by?
I think it’s really difficult to categorise music sometimes. In general, I would say it’s alternative because it’s not really your everyday pop music.
Which one of your songs are you most attached to?
I’m attached to all of them, but at the moment I’m definitely very attached to Vertigo. Itwas created in Canada, very near to where I grew up, I wrote it together with producer Koz. The song itself talks about my struggle with certain fears that actually stemmed from a night out where I couldn’t overcome the feeling of vertigo before entering a club, and went home feeling angry at myself yet again, for succumbing to my anxiety of small and crowded places, when all I really wanted to do was enjoy the music like everyone else.
How do you feel when you hear one of your songs playing on the radio?
I am honestly ecstatic when I hear a song of mine on the radio. The feeling never really gets old in my opinion.
Who are your greatest influences?
I‘m inspired by people that aren’t afraid of taking risks. I think that says a lot about a person if they’re willing to give up everything for something they truly love and believe in. My parents are a big inspiration in my life, but also everyone I work with into my label. Music-wise, I would have to say that Regina Spektor influenced me the most in my songwriting and my approach to music.
What was your dream job as a child? Did you have a plan B?
I wanted to be a figure skater, but I wasn’t that great at figure skating. My plan B was actually to go into finance or perhaps to open up a bakery… all very different jobs, I know!
In what language do you think and imagine your songs?
When you think about your identity, which country comes to your mind first?
Hmm, hard to say. I am technically speaking British… but I haven’t lived in the UK long enough to feel British. I think I feel more Canadian; even though I don’t have Canadian citizenship, it’s just where I grew up.
You did perform a duet with Tom Odell in Half As Good As You in 2018. How was the experience?
It was such an honour to perform on his track; Tom has been a big musical inspiration for me since he put out his first EP Songs from Another Love in 2012, and I loved sharing that experience with him.
Are there any other artists you would like to collaborate with?
My dream collaboration would probably be with The Killers.
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