INTERVIEW: JOCELYN ALICE TALKS HER REBIRTH WITH DEBUT ALBUM 'HOW DARE YOU,' THE POWER OF CREATIVE CONTROL, ADVICE FOR WOMEN IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY + MORE

Photo by: Deserae Evenson
Having already made a name for herself in the industry, this Canadian artist is reborn again with the release of her debut full-length album How Dare YouJocelyn Alice – the platinum-selling singer and songwriter from Calgary, first attracted mainstream attention with the 2015 summer jam "Jackpot" – but her musical journey began long before then. 

When she was sixteen, Alice was a runner-up on Global’s popular reality television show Popstars. Dissimilar to the typical popstar path, Alice is vocal about valuing authenticity over popularity and is more focused on honest storytelling rather than validation seeking. Over numerous years into her career, her long-awaited debut release comes as a representation of Alice's personal and professional growth while showcasing her unsurpressed truth and talent behind her music and lyrics.

"I just started feeling this weight of all the beautiful work I never got to share. Honestly, I started suffering with some pretty bad panic attacks and sleepless nights for weeks on end. Why would I be motivated to keep writing when so much of my music wasn’t even being released? I felt so lost. My body broke down and looking back now I am so grateful for that. It was speaking to me. It was telling me to make a change."


How Dare You. was released via AWAL Recordings – a branch of Kobalt Music that offers artists an alternative to the traditional record label. Alice was aching for creative control and ownership of her work, that she felt she lacked with a major label:

"I actually signed my next deal with AWAL for another EP but I decided, fuck it, I’m gonna put more songs on and make it a full length. I am so inspired again. I don’t even care how it does because I’ve never felt so proud of my growth and courage. That’s success to me."


Her debut full-length is the follow-up to her 2018 debut EP Little Devil – which featured platinum hit “Jackpot” and gold-certified singles “Feels Right” and “Bound to You."

Three years in the making, How Dare You. is a celebration of strength. vulnerability, independence and of course, overcoming. Alice's brilliant musicianship shines through on the album's eleven genre-blending tracks, which she enables herself to tap into painful experiences and turn them into beautiful ballads:

“I never would be able to emote the way I do or connect with an audience if I hadn’t gone through those things."

Q: You first started out on the reality show Popstars when you were sixteen and went on to have a fruitful career. How do you maintain longevity in the music world?


I think it’s so important for you to know what REALLY matters to you as an artist. For me, artistic freedom has always been number one. I have always had a very close eye on every single thing I’m writing and recording. I didn’t release my first single until I was 30 very intentionally. I knew that I wasn’t ready for this insanely discouraging industry until I was a little older. So in the meantime, I played in a few bands and probably played close to 500 shows while I was working in the studio writing for film and commercials. When I did that long enough to feel really confident on my own, nothing could stop me. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my first single went platinum and my first album has almost 100 million streams. I’ve worked my 10,000 hours probably three times over now. I’m ready, and I’m also mature enough to never take this for granted. Everyone's path as an artist is really different, but for me, honing my craft in private before I present it to the world has always been how I work.

Q: You’re an important feminist voice. What advice would you give to women who are navigating the music industry?


That means a lot to me. Don’t be afraid to feel angry about how incredibly unfair and skewed this industry is. You’re not imagining that. But use your anger to fuel your art and the other artists around you. Just keep going. If you’re in the industry for the love of what you do, the rest is just details and bullshit. Focus on what really matters, which for me is being honest in my music and working with people that are there to support that.

Q: How does it feel to finally put out your debut full length album? Why is now the time?


I’ve wanted to drop this for years. It’s a big reason I decided to leave Sony. We had a really cool run together, but they just weren’t releasing enough of my music, especially when I tend to write like 3 songs a day. I just started feeling this weight of all the beautiful work I never got to share. Honestly.. I started suffering some pretty bad panic attacks and sleepless nights for weeks on end. Why would I be motivated to keep writing when so much of my music wasn’t even being released? I felt so lost. My body broke down and looking back now I am so grateful for that. It was speaking to me. It was telling me to make a change. I actually signed my next deal with AWAL for another EP but I decided, fuck it, I’m gonna put more songs on and make it a full length. I am so inspired again. I don’t even care how it does because I’ve never felt so proud of my growth and courage. That’s success to me.

Q: What can you tell us about How Dare You? Inspirations? Themes? Collaborations?


I literally called up all my best friends and asked them to be on the album. Hahahaha. Marshall from Walk Off The Earth has a hand in almost half the tracks. He’s my main go to guy and my entire creative life changed when I met him. I finally had the perfect combination of support and freedom and speed. I like to work fast. I’m also SO excited to be working with Tep No again. He just had his first radio hit with our last song "Never Been Hurt Before" and it’s always such an honour to work with him. I’m a huge fan. And of course, the artist that started my entire career with Jackpot, Hello Moth. My world is finally gonna get to hear his stunning voice. The album is a total mash up of everything. Hip hop, Reggae, dance, ballads, r&b. You can’t make me choose a genre. My voice isn't the genre.

Q: You possess exceptional musicianship, what’s the secret behind crafting a great record?


It is so nice to be acknowledged for that. Thank you. Honestly… I always tell other artists that ask me this that I’ve probably written thousands of songs. I’ve spent 13 straight years writing almost every day. If you don’t have that kind of obsession with it, good luck. It’s incredibly hard to write a good, simple song that will still be good in 20 years. That’s what I‘m trying to do. Writing in LA almost killed my spirit. So many people that live here are chasing the hits. I’ve never cared about that. I care about the song. I don’t listen to a lot of music. I don’t care about what's current anymore. I just want to make music that sounds like my soul. For me, in order to do that, I’ve realized I need to be working with people that I really love and trust and respect. Find your team. Find the people that will support and challenge you.

Q: I know every track holds a special part of you, but is there one that stands out above the rest?


Right now my favourite song on the whole album is "Chit Chat" featuring Marshall. Funny story, it wasn’t going to be on it because it was actually Marshall's song and I had already finalized my track list. But I fought hard to, first, steal his song hahahahah, and then get to put in on my album. It’s a ballad, which are always my favourite. It always really captures my LA journey of feeling so alone I wanted to pull my eyelashes out.

Q: You’re always supportive of other artists, which fellow Canadian musicians do you connect with?


SO many! You wouldn’t believe how close we all are. Ria Mae and I might have a collab coming. Mathew V as well. I’m obsessed with "Too Close" right now By Ria Mae & Dan Talevski.

Q: What’s next for Jocelyn Alice?


I’m really passionate about taking all of this songwriting and singing knowledge and getting to pour it into other artists. Watch out for Myles Erlick. I’m lucky enough to get to write lots of songs with him and he’s gonna be pretty massive one day. I’ll also be recording my own music until the day I die. Right when I think I’ve said what I need to say everything changes again. I am so lucky.





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