ALICE LOW | ONES TO WATCH
Ladydaddy, the debut release by Cardiff resident Alice Low, is an extraordinary introduction to an evident creative talent. It’s a 14-minute song formed of multiple sections, something like Todd Rundgren meets John Grant (though there’s more to it than that) and celebrating her identity as a trans woman (again, that’s the truncated version). Go and listen to it! Then read on…
Was Ladydaddy designed to be this epic, or did it just keep growing as you assembled it?
It came together quickly and instinctively. I write music all day in my head; I think it’s a survival method, because I’m often so anxious, especially in public. It normally happens that when I arrive at a guitar, or piano, the songs are there already.
It was recorded at home over the course of a few weeks. I often build the framework of a long-form song as one big piece from the ground up, until the level of detail requires me to break it off into its modular sections to work on them individually. Once I stitch it back together, the whole thing sings.
You moved to Cardiff last year and became a member of Rosehip Teahouse – some of whom play in your band too.
I’ve known Frank, the singer of Rosehip Teahouse, for almost 10 years now, and I’ve always admired his music. When I moved to Cardiff, through him I met a lot of really talented and kind people. There are so many incredible musicians in Wales. The people I asked to play with me were all early supporters, and have become some of my closest friends.
Are there more Alice Low live shows planned following last month’s livestreamed Clwb Ifor Bach gig?
I quit playing live six or seven years ago; it was something I enjoyed doing, but my nerves wreaked havoc on my physical and mental health, so I wanted to make sure that when I did return to performing, there was a reason. It was a great decision – it allowed me to calm down, rebuild my relationship with music as a positive force and focus on finding my voice, following my vision, and forming a musical identity that was truly mine.
Do you consider your music to have the potential to reach a mass audience (whatever that might mean) and is that something you’d enthusiastically pursue?
A song like Ladydaddy has an immediacy to it. That immediacy isn’t the goal, but I’m never aiming to do anything other than translate the music I hear in my head. I’m not above finding an audience for my work. I like the idea of people enjoying my songs, but my ambitions are almost entirely creative. By almost entirely, I mean, I do love compliments.
Alice Low’s Ladydaddy is out now via Clwb Music. Info: www.facebook.com/lowsmuseum
words NOEL GARDNER