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An Interview With... Alba
All you need to know soul-pop, Spanish-born, singer songwriter Alba!
Here at Middle Eight, we are keen to showcase up and coming artists who are working hard to make themselves heard.
Recently, we spoke to Spanish born singer songwriter Alba, who told us about her influences, 'being weird kid in school', and her efforts to 'inspire young girls to follow their dreams'.
Settling in London after her first UK tour, Alba has been making serious waves in the capital's music scene. Her latest single 'Sister' recently surpassed 10,000 streams on Spotify and is the perfect introduction to Alba's blissful soul-pop.
Opening with gentle acoustic guitar, the energy of 'Sister' comes directly from Alba's stunning vocals. Raspy and raw, yet measured and melodic, Alba delivers emotionally charged lyrics immersing the listener to create a tranquil blues-folk vibe.
The single is the follow-up to February 2020's 'Mass Extinction' - a tune which you would have been forgiven for thinking was a separate artist altogether. Here, Alba turns to a 70s funk style, whilst singing passionately about environmental issues.
Find out more about Alba below!
Who are you and where are you based?
I have always seen myself as a bit of a nomad. I was born in the Canary Islands and discovered my love for music as my family and I moved from there to France and later on back to Spain. But London is the place to be for an artist such as myself, that's why I decided to set up my base of operations here right after I played my first UK tour.
How would you describe the music you make?
I've always found it difficult to put a label on my music as I like to think of it as an organic thing that grows and evolves with time. Tastemakers have described it as pop-rock with hints of neo-soul/R&B, which I think is a good way to put it.
How did you first get into music?
I started playing electric guitar when I was 10, thanks to my very supportive parents. Before then I had played piano and classical guitar, but it was the electric guitar that changed it all for me. I played in several rock and funk/soul bands through my teenage years. At 16, I started my own band Sons of Rock and recorded my first EP. You can still find some of my early work on Spotify.
Who are your main musical influences?
I was kind of a weird kid in school, like an old spirit inside a young girl's body. I would listen to all the classics and legends from the 50/60/70s like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, BB King, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Santana and many more. All these artists shaped the foundations of the music I write today. Later, I developed a taste for R&B/Neo-Soul music and artists that use real instruments alongside modern beats and productions such as John Mayer, Joss Stone or Alicia Keys.
Which artists do you currently have on repeat?
I have discovered quite a few new artists over past year "thanks" to lockdown. I've really enjoyed Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia, and had albums by Black Pumas, Tom Misch, Lawrence, and Lianne La Havas on repeat.
I'm very excited to be collaborating with production wizard edbl on a new track. I heard one of his tracks on BBC Radio and instantly fell in love with his sound. I can't wait to share with the world the new music I'm working on.
What separates you from other artists?
Probably the main thing that sets me apart from other artists is my song writing style and my guitar playing. You don't see a lot of women playing guitar in mainstream music. Some people are surprised when they come to my gigs and they see me performing solos over my head alla Hendrix. I think women are still seriously misrepresented in both the creative and the business side of things, and we are faced with more challenges than our male colleagues. That's why we need more females behind the wheel, so that we can inspire young girls to follow their dreams.
What are your plans for the future?
I have a new single and really cool video dropping early March, and I am looking forward to playing live gigs again as soon as it is safe to do so.
It's a shame that someone like Alba is such a rarity in music. Her eagerness to accept her platform and speak about feminist or environmental issues is to be admired, not to mention her immense musical talent.
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