When 22-year-old Alice Jemima was 14 and everyone else from her comprehensive school in Devon applied for work experience placements in retail or IT departments, Jemima followed her passion and got herself a ticket to Glastonbury instead. By this point Jemima had already taught herself the guitar and started writing fully fledged songs, but the hands-on experience of soaking up a music festival cemented a desire that had always been there. Inspired by poetic, emotionally-lead artists such as Corinne Bailey Rae and KT Tunstall, as well as the birth of her brother, Jemima had started working on her own songs at the age of 12, steadily turning her classical guitar training towards a more commercial style. Aware of what she wanted from a young age, a spell studying music at college didn’t work out because she didn’t want to be forced into the kind of musical style they had in mind. Jemima utilised her days recording as many songs as she could whilst honing her production skills – beginning to encase her mainly acoustic songs in a mesh of delicate beats and loops. Recording a host of songs in her bedroom on Garageband, and releasing a self-funded EP in 2012 to go along with the myriad Soundcloud uploads, Alice Jemima’s breakthrough arrived in 2014 when her sultry, enchanting cover of Blackstreet’s No Diggity suddenly blazed its way to nearly 3 million plays.
Jemima’s songs caught the attention of Radio 1 DJ and Bestival co-founder Rob da Bank, first leading to a session at Maida Vale, then seeing Alice Jemima sign to Sunday Best – da Bank’s independent record label. Quietly determined, naturally authentic and with a devastating turn of phrase, Jemima creates songs that speak of universal emotions but in a way that feels direct and personal. Behind it all is Alice Jemima herself, quietly creating these slow-burn songs that draw you in and lock you under their spell. Aware of what kind of artist she wants to be, there’s no pretence and no desire to give up control. Her future aims may initially seem modest, but they’re also tinged with the determination and passion that’s got her where she is today. Her debut album ‘Alice Jemima’ is available March 3rd.
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