Alice Smith, Afrobella of the Week

My Afrobella of the Week is normally a woman with naturally curly hair, but for this lady, I’m making an exception.

I promised a follow-up to my black rocker chicks post, and here it is!

One of my new favorite musical discoveries is Alice Smith, a gorgeous sista from Augusta Georgia with a fierce four octave vocal range.

She began her musical career as a lead singer for bands with diverse sounds, and became a member of the Black Rock Coalition in the early 2000′s. The title of her debut album, For Lovers, Dreamers, and Me, is inspired by theme song from the Muppets’ first film. As a fellow Muppet lover, I appreciated the title. “The Rainbow Connection” is an expression of gratitude that takes Kermit from the swamp to big time Hollywood contracts. It’s a powerful, lasting song and in choosing it as her album title, Alice Smith proves that she’s got a fantastic, funny, admirably wide range of musical influences.

I can’t begin to tell y’all how psyched I am about Alice Smith! If I could have a fraction of her singing ability, I would be ecstatic and proud. She’s an incredible singer/songwriter with musical influences that range from go go to country to classic soul and rock n’ roll. You probably won’t hear her on your FM dial anytime soon, her sound is just too rich, too expressive, too diverse for mainstream radio.

Take a listen to Woodstock, a bouncy, bright pop ditty about ditching city stress for country detox (pssst, you can download it here).

I can’t even quite define her genre. But who says any musician has to have a defineable genre? Alice certainly doesn’t feel that way, nor does she think her racial identity should pigeonhole her as an artist.

She addresses the stereotypes in this interview on AOL Black Voices.

When asked about being a risk taker with an eclectic sound, she retorted, “I’ve had a couple of people in the music business tell me stuff like, ‘You should be careful, people need something to hold onto. People want one thing they can identify you as.’ But I’m like, ‘Why?’ I don’t think it’s true. I don’t think anybody is one way. It’s just music. This other guy told me: ‘You need to be careful, what’s the common thread [in your music]?’ [I said] ‘Uh… Me?’ I think people get treated like they can’t handle it. ‘Oh, you’re black and you sing this? How are you gonna get to black radio? This is too eclectic for black people.’ You know, offensive s#%t! That’s rude. What are you really talking about? Are you saying that people are stupid? That’s how it feels to me. I have nothing against [record] labels at all, but some people at the labels don’t give people an honest chance, and trust that people can understand music. Why can’t my signature sound be, ‘Alice sings whatever…’?

“Whatever” wouldn’t even begin to describe Dream, a lush promise of a song that builds to an undeniable force-of-nature crescendo. Alice sings whatever the heck she wants. For further proof, hit up her MySpace to listen to the dubby and dreamy “Do I”, and the cabaret-esque “Gary Song.” You can listen to her whole album here.

She’s been gathering big praise for her vibrant live performances (according to The Hotness Grrrl, she’s absolutely amazing in concert). She was recently named one of Rolling Stone’s Ten Artists to Watch, and now she’s getting a big-label contract that hopefully, will lead her to national stardom. I’ll be flying the flag all the way!

You can buy Alice Smith’s album on Amazon, or iTunes.

Congrats, Alice! You’re Afrobella of the Week!

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Comments

  1. PS: I tried really hard and stayed up super late trying to figure out how to embed a music player into my page so you guys could listen to these songs right here. But I had to give up and go to bed. If anyone knows of an easy player to embed into WordPress pages, holla at me!

  2. Hey nice post. You also may want to check out this Nicole Willis at the Smoking Section.

    http://www.smokingsection.net/TSS/?p=821

  3. AppleDiva says:

    Bella,

    Good stuff. I will get this album from iTunes. Thanks for bringing us good music. When I think of mainstream music, I think of Kanye West, “I hear new music
    And I just don’t be feelin it.”

  4. Max Henderson says:

    Hey afrobella somebody hipped me to this piece which I think is great because she was going to be a midweek review. Hopefully I want tread the same ground as you but I think some good coverage would help her. Then again I’m not playing fair since she comes from my hometown. If you are looking for a flashplayer I use this for my myspace. It is a little involved in process but works fine for me. And there a few styles to choose from to compliment your site: http://www.myflashfetish.com/myspace-mp3players.php

  5. Max Henderson says:

    Hey Afrobella nice post,

    It is a startling coincidence that someone hipped me to this post because Smith was going to be a midweek review. I hope I won’t retread the same ground that you covered succinctly. I think she is worth the coverage and deserves it. But then again I am playing favorites since she’s coming from my hometown. Either way if you are looking for an embed mp3 player you could try this site. Its a little tedious in process but I use it for my mp3 player on myspace and have had no problems. The iPod one allows me to post up to ten songs and there are enough styles to choose from to compliment your site:
    http://www.myflashfetish.com/myspace-mp3players.php

  6. Where were those four octaves??? It’s good to see someone out there trying to do something different:). Peace!

  7. She reminds of India.Arie (a lil bit).

  8. jerseybred says:

    You’ve done it again…I like Alice Smith, her album is very rich in quality.

  9. Thanks for making alice smith bella of the week. I am jamming to ‘love endeavor’ right now!

  10. Thanks for the heads up on Alice Smith Bella. She has a beautiful voice. I can definitely hear the Muppets inspiration in her music, particularly in “Woodstock”. Every time I come across new talents like her I am constantly reminded of how puzzling the music industry is. What can be said about an industry that seems to glorify hype, image and sexuality instead of true talent?

  11. I have downloaded a couple of her tracks. The girl is hawt! I love her music and I’m glad to discover sistas that step outside the bootyshaking box.

  12. Thanks for the shout! I will definitely link up with Afrobella whenever I can find the time to update my site.

  13. Sue Le Vent says:

    I downloaded her music from Emusic.com. It has got to be my favorite disk from 2006.

  14. Nateseven says:

    She is actually from Washington DC

  15. Spot on with this write-up, I really believe this website needs more attention. I’ll probably be again to study much more, thanks for that info.

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] There must be something about Augusta Georgia. Great musicians like James Brown, Alice Smith, and Sharon Jones came up in the town and steeped their voices in the church. Like Sharon says, “Once you get moved by the Spirit, you just gotta let it out and share it with the people!” [...]

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