Alice Ivy isn’t your typical up-and-coming musician. Although I’m meeting the electro-soulster in the nice but modest Bedroom Bar venue in Shoreditch, London, as part of her first European solo tour, she’s actually no stranger to the continent.
As a guitarist in the internationally renowned, 30-strong all-girl soul group Sweethearts, the Melbourneite played a number of major shows in Europe, including legendary jazz festival Montreaux, at the tender age of 16.
“Now that I think about it, it was a big deal and an amazing experience and what influenced me to be where I am now,” she recalls. “But I wish I could go back in time and do more with it.”
Tragically, the band’s director, Ross Lipson, succumbed to cancer in December last year – leaving a big hole in Ivy’s and the rest of the girls’ lives.
“He was like a second dad,” she says. “He brought us all up. He was so musically talented and was always really enthusiastic and wanted to push us more.”
As well as sadness at the loss of a great mentor, Lipson’s passing has provided inspiration in the form of Ivy’s new single ‘Paint Me Blue’ – with 80 per cent of the proceeds going to the Australian Cancer Research Foundation.
The song itself uses samples of Chinese violin and ambient sounds from a Japanese train station that Ivy cut up using Ableton software. Mixed with a groovy beat, funk guitar riff and the soulful vocals of Chloe Beckwith, the result is a wonderfully textured musical tribute.
Ivy describes this blend of musical genres and techniques that is her signature style as “soul funk electronic” -combining the sounds of her soul idols such as Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin with the electronic approach adopted by the likes of fellow south Australians The Avalanches.
“At the moment in Melbourne what’s growing so much is the electronic scene,” Ivy says, name-dropping her friends’ bands, including Hiatus Kaiyote and LANKS.
“I wanted to start my own project and I that’s how I discovered making electronic music is as amazing and fantastic as soul and I can do it all using Ableton software.”
To purchase ‘Paint Me Blue’ and make a donation to the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, head to Bandcamp.