Born in Germany to German and Irish parents and raised in Germany, the US and Canada, Alice Merton’s multi-nation background provided the inspiration for her breakthrough debut single No Roots. A stomping piece of pop-rock, No Roots racked up over 100m Spotify streams and propelling Merton into music’s rising star stratosphere. With her debut album MINT on the way next January, she’s paying a visit to Sweden next week for a show at Obaren. We had a quick chat with her ahead of that.
Hi Alice! Your debut album MINT is out in January, how does it feel to finally release it? What can you tell us about the record? Is there a big difference sonically between it and the No Roots EP?
It feels great to finally release this body of work. I’ve been working on MINT for the past 3 years, and all the experiences and emotions I’ve gone through are wrapped in this album. There definitely is a difference sonically. I feel like my music has evolved from two years ago and always will be developing in different directions.
Songs like No Roots stuck to a darker, more bluesy style, Lash Out sounds more in the range of indie-rock and Why So Serious moves in the direction of slick, groove-guitar pop. Do you feel comfortable moving easily between genres like that?
I do feel very comfortable moving between genres. I don’t like reducing myself to one genre, especially because when I write a song, I want it to convey the emotion and the experience, regardless of what genre it would fit in.
With that wide genre spread in your work, what kind of music influences you as an artist? What plays into the Alice Merton sound?
I love a good bass line, or any good melody. Bands such as The Killers, Kodaline, Queen have all played a role in my music. But also singer songwriters such as Regina Spektor formed the base of my sound.
You’ve said that the playfulness of Why So Serious was a response to people trying to put pressure on you after your debut single No Roots became such a hit. Is having a debut single become so popular a weird thing to deal with? Or is it something you’re able to move on from and shake off quickly and focus on other things?
For us it was a door-opener. I don’t see No Roots as having any negative effect on my career, but I know how people think. They are quick to judge but I will always carry on making music that is honest and means something to me.
Finally, what can we expect from the show at Obaren in November?
You can expect a good time :).
MINT is out on January 18. Alice Merton plays Obaren on November 19.
Photo: Tim Bruening