1883 Magazine

Tired of hearing the same, benal “earworm” being played on the radio by that dull, overused artist? No worries, Alice Chater is on her way. Chater, an English beaut, is about to become the new face of pop.

Amalgamating her songs with minty lyrics and sensual instrumentals, as heard on “GIRLS X BOYS,” or most recent single, “Thief,” Chater is the one we’ve all been waiting on, for awhile now.

I spoke with Alice while she was in LA, chatting all things “Thief,” as well as pasta.

Your latest single, “Thief” is everywhere. I mean, it just earned the title of BBC Radio 1’s “Best New Pop,” and has a spot on nearly every Apple Music Pop playlist. How’re you feeling right now?

I feel ecstatic. I feel so excited because I’ve had this song for like a year, I wrote it a year ago with my favourite writers and producers ever [Rami Yacoub, Carl Falk, Mozella], and we were all writing it together in Sweden, really excited about the song, and so now that it’s finally out and has got all of the top playlists on Apple and Spotify is just really amazing. I’m really humbled and excited about it.

Walk me through the music video for that song. So you’re having open-heart surgery?

Yeah, so I wrote the treatment with my dance partner and choreographer, Mark Jennings, who did “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Hourglass” with me. Recently, he and I have been practicing dance lifts together, because he was in the Dirty Dancing musical, and is just a genius at latin ballroom and technical lifts. I told him that I really wanted to learn some roulettes, because I had already did partner work and stuff before, but I wanted to do some really dangerous ones. So, we wrote the treatment together, and I said I wanted it to be like an open heart surgery, because the lyric is, “You stole my heart just like a thief,” and I wanted to make it quite literally that. So I persuaded him to be in the video with me, because he’s normally behind the scenes, and I was like, “Please, please be in the music video with me,” and he was like, “Okay! Let’s do it.” Basically he kidnaps me and takes me into this dingy, old hospital and performs open heart surgery on me, whilst I’m singing my song. Then we go into this weird, contemporary dance that involves the lifts and it was just like a piece of art that we came up with. The idea of being this person coming into my life, and then ripping my heart out of my chest, along with the way that I was dancing, was how this particular person has made me feel. We did it with this amazing russian director, her name is Anna Radchenko, and she just brought it to life. And yeah, I wanted to keep it the same tones and ques of “Hourglass”, as well as the spider video that I did, so it all just fits together. I’m really happy with the final result.

Around how long does it take you to nail the choreography in your music videos?

Oooh, so we learned all of that choreography in about two days. It’s quite quick. We had two days to plot it, because there’s loads of table choreography with my two dancers, Naomi and Katrina, who were nurses. They’re amazing. So me, the dancers, and Mark all learned it in two days, and then the third day I think we shot it all, in one day.

When did you decide to pursue music full-time?

Uhm, I think I was at drama school, and I think the first time that I started writing and singing pop music was when I was sixteen. I remember I met this producer who heard my voice, and we wrote this cool, quirky little pop song together. And then after that, I went to drama school and I was really focused with my training, because I love dancing as well. It was stage school, basically. So I was training really hard with my dancing, and during my time that I was at Italia Conti I started going into the studio and learning how to write, writing with different producers and writing about other people. I then decided that I wanted to make that a full-time thing, so I kinda left a bit early from the Italia Conti because I was taking time off to go into the studio, and they asked me to leave. (laughs) They were not happy that I was taking some time off - I definitely didn’t play by the rules there. So then, yeah, it was kinda around the time that I left school that I started doing it full-time with sessions everyday, one road leading to another, and then here I am.

Had you not gone down the music road, what’d you think you’d be doing right now?

I think I would be acting, cause I love acting, too. I think I would either be dancing full-time, or definitely acting.

Talk to me about your songwriting process. Do you follow a strict regime, or does it all just happen in the moment? 

Uhm, it’s different every time. I mean (pauses) yeah, it’s always different every time. I get into the studio, and normally how it starts is we have a long chat at the beginning with my writers and my producers, and I would be telling them how I was feeling that day. And then I’d be like, “Oh, I really want to write about this, because I’m feeling this kind of way,” and then they’re like, “Oh, cool.” So we normally start on the piano, I like to start on the piano and listen to the core progression, then start writing top lines over the piano, and then creating a beat whilst we’re in the room. Or, it could be, you know I go in there, and the producer’s like, “Hey Alice, I have this sick beat, what’d you think?”, and then I listen to it and I’m like, “Yeah, that’s cool, but I like the chorus bit on that beat,” so I take that, and we write over it. It’s always different every single time, there’s no kinds of rules for me, which keeps it exciting as well.

Do you find it harder starting a song, or finishing it?

I find it harder finishing it, because there’s so many ways that a song could go. It could be a full on pop song, but then last minute we could change the drums, and then it’s turned into more of a hip hop song. It just depends which direction you wanna go with the song. So, finishing it could be quite tricky some times. There’s also a lot of people, like you have your A&R who could be like, “Oh, I think it could go like this”, or your manager saying something else. It’’s a little tricky sometimes, but I’ve been lucky that every single song I’ve done, the finishing part has been easy, because we know which direction we wanna go in. 

Out of the songs that you’ve put out so far, is there a certain lyric that stands out for you?

Uhm, let me see. (thinks to herself) Probably, “There’s a shadow lying down where you used to be.” It really resonates with me, because it can kinda mean a lot of things. I was writing that day about my boyfriend at the time who would kinda go and disappear for like four days, and I’d have no idea where he is. So I felt like there was a shadow in the bed where he used to be, and it was kinda dark because it reminded me of those tricky times. Everyone can interpret it in different ways though, like it could be your long love that’s not there anymore, and it feels like they’ve died. I really love those lyrics in “Hourglass.”

If you can, what can you tell me about your upcoming album?

Oooh, uhm, well I really hope to release it in the summer, or at the end of the year. It’s exciting because I’ll have some ballads in there that I really adore, ones that I cannot wait for the world to see. Just expect the unexpected. I know I’ve released “Hourglass”, and “Heartbreak Hotel,” which are both dance poppy, but I’m not afraid to explore different kinds of genres while still having my voice as the thing that ties the tracks together and makes them an Alice track. But expect the unexpected. (laughs)

I was wondering, why are your fans called heartbreakers?

Oh yeah, well this is funny, so I did a poll and they actually chose it for me. I started to get lots of fans when I released “Heartbreak Hotel,” (pauses) even with “GIRLS X BOYS” I started to get fans, but with [Heartbreak] I saw that a lot of people connected with it, and loved the concept that I came up with of having an actual hotel where people go to get their hearts fixed when they’re like fucked up from a relationship. So yeah, the fans gave it to themselves, heartbreakers, from Heartbreak Hotel basically.      

If you could go on tour with any artist, who would it be?

Ooooh, (pauses) oooh I would love to go - dead or alive?


Oh, Michael Jackson definitely. I adore Michael Jackson, and his whole artistry, how he’s just an amazing singer, dancer, and performer. So yeah, definitely him, he’s the King of Pop.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Yeah, I love carbs, like I only eat pasta. I don’t know if that’s a guilty pleasure, maybe it is. Is there anything else? Hmm, guilty pleasure. I mean, I kind of just eat pasta a lot, like I don’t... oh, I have a guilty pleasure. I don’t know if this is one, but for some reason I’ve gotten into the routine of having a dairy milk chocolate bar every single night whilst I’m in bed, just about to sleep. I have no idea why, because it kind of makes me not sleep because of the sugar inside, but yeah, I eat a lot of dairy milk.

My last question, what was the last thing you Googled?

(clicks her tongue) Hmm, the last thing I googled, let’s see…. Oh, queen documentary.

Bohemian Rhapsody?

Yeah, I watched it and I’ve been completely obsessed, and so I’ve been googling Freddie Mercury, and I think there’s another queen documentary that I haven’t watched, so that was the last thing I googled.

Thief is out now.

Interview by Hailey Johnson

Photographer Ryan Saradjola

Stylist Thomas George Wulbern 

Hair Brady Lea 

MUA Sophie Moore 

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