Melbourne Music Bank's 2015 winner 19-year-old Jade Alice is "still so over the moon!" She's launching her debut single Kick Drum at Shebeen, Thursday 18 February and remembers winning the flagship Bank of Melbourne competition in October (last year) as if it was yesterday. After making it to the shortlist, the vibrant singer reveals she kept thinking, "okay… come on now, this can't be happening! I entered it hoping to make the Top Ten."
With an "incredible vibration" at the State Theatre finale, she says the whole experience was "a bit nerve-wracking. It was pretty tough competition and that's what made it more rewarding. It wasn't me just entering!" While this humorous disposition hides a youthful, yet highly-experienced singer-songwriter career, she admits to still "lacking confidence with self-promotion".
Not one for boasting, "I don't want to get up in people's faces", the competition has given Jade Alice an exciting and well-received "new confidence". Now, with a great team behind her, industry professionals and a pretty hefty and impressive set of prizes, she feels fairly confident with performing. "It's social media I am just hopeless at!".
When the competition ended, a visit to prize number one – the famous Sing Sing Studios – made the singer feel "like a little kid in a playground." She sighs and fondly explains, "all the equipment! My dad is a producer – actually both my parents are musicians and dad was just in love, it was great". Her father is Michael Ingvarson, of Big Hand Audio Production and more recognisably – 'BABBA' the ABBA tribute band (who are still touring and celebrating 22 years as a band).
The relationship with her father, is one of producer and co-producer. "You think of them differently in a working relationship. My dad Michael, I think of him as my co-producer, we have quite similar taste in music. I will say something that makes no sense, like "let's put in like a Boom! Pow! Boom! And he goes, "great let's chuck that in. We work together really well".
After growing up "amongst extraordinary noises," she says music has "sort of been drilled into me. ABBA's music is a lot more complex. It is such an easy listen, but it has all these melodies and complexities in the melody. If you listen they are actually masters of their craft". As a bub she would sleep backstage, "before I could talk" and once she turned 12, started cultivating a deeper appreciation for songwriting.
While there is "not a whole lot to write about at 12 years of age!", her grandmother – an environmentalist and biologist – had a strong impact on the ingénue who penned some verses about the planet. "Dad's mum influenced the first song I wrote. She told me the planet is sick and I felt like, come on guys we need to do something." This sparked her love of the environment and outdoors, which she holds to this day. She also reveals the more common aspects of growing up featured in her lyrics, "I drew on encounters of being a teenager … first loves and food!"
Now, at 19, Jade Alice has just finished her first year of uni (Vic College of Arts) and explains her fellow students are diverse and inspiring. "Everyone is so different, we have singer-songwriters, others into orchestral music or hardcore. We compose for things like film, video … it really pushes and challenges and expands my horizons. I'm really into music theatre at the moment". When asked if she would audition and for which role, "I used to love Hairspray. Penny Kingston is so eccentric!"
Speaking of eccentric and all things playful, Jade Alice says the photo shoot for the album cover art was a real highlight. "We got to change costumes and dance around". While still admits she does worry about her limited "amount of poses. I have, I've got the cheese …!", she says the photos "came out really great." The media have heaped praise on the young star and she says it's been "very humbling. There were some people from the UK and the big music blogger Hilly Dilly played one of my songs, it's been very surreal. It is hard to take it in, as it is all happening at once".
The music video for Kick Drum features close friends, "they are the most incredible girls I know and talented dancers. They make me look like I can dance; they make me look good!", and was produced by Oh Yeah Wow (Gotye, Boy and Bear, Hermitude). She says having her friends support made the video a "special experience" and less nerve-wracking. Interestingly, the only time she gets nervous performing is in intimate gigs. "When I share my music with them, I feel more nervous – when the crowds are smaller. At Arena, I didn't feel nervous". The Arena she is referring to is "one of the greatest gigs I got to do". A Victorian State School Spectacular in front of 20,000 people with an 80-piece orchestra.
While her upcoming gig at Shebeen may hold more like 200 than 20,000 people she is still "very excited" and explains her on-stage setup. "When I perform I play my guitar kit, have my loop and laptop on an ironing board – this should be a thing! With this gig I will be getting a live band as well". She says the ironing board is purely for aesthetics and as much as she "loves the live sound, it is hard to bring the recorded elements to a live setting. Some parts will be digital in the laptop, or pre-recorded. It will be a real mix of extraordinary sounds".
Her extraordinary sounds have also caught the ear of the Songdoor competition, with three of her songs in the Top Five, "Something Special, Beau and Emerald Eyes. I am happy to have made three songs. My dad won this comp a few years ago". The feedback from Songdoor has been positive, "they gave me a lot compliments saying – it's really lovely stuff, we're sorry you have to compete against yourself!" For Jade Alice the timing couldn't be better with the release of Kick Drum. "It's all about being in the right place – bit of luck and a bit of hard work. It's very exciting".