South African born jazz and indie folk singer and songwriter Alice Phoebe Lou. Picture: YouTube
South African born jazz and indie folk singer and songwriter, Alice Phoebe Lou has been difficult to track down. Leading up to our chat, she had been busy recording a new album, just after releasing a new EP and preparing for her upcoming performance at the MTN Bushfire Festival in Swaziland next month.

“Things have been really busy, but dreamy recently. I finally managed to find the perfect producer and the right team to create my upcoming album and I have just come back to Berlin, where I am based. We recorded the album in Northern California and now I am so excited to unleash it onto the world later this year,” she said.

However, before she does that, she is looking forward to performing on the Bushfire stage. “I am really looking forward to it. I’ve heard so many good things about the festival. My mom is going to be there too and I’ve never been to Swaziland, so I can’t wait. I can’t bring the whole band down because of expenses, but I will have my core band with me, and we will be playing a lot of new songs from the new record.”

Lou recently released her latest work, an EP titled Sola

“This EP has been a side project through all my touring and shows, but some of the songs were written years ago. I put this album together over the course of a few weeks last year, whenever I had time in between all my moving around, I would get into my friend’s studio in Berlin and record another tune.”

She said she had wanted Sola to be intimate. “I decided that I wanted to make something intimate, and simple for my fans, something that felt like I was singing to you in your bedroom. It was also a helpful way for me to be able to release something completely independently, and hopefully make some cash to be able to put towards my new album, which is also an independent project.”

Lou said when she was putting the EP together, she had been going through a lot. “I was in a very introspective and sensitive time in my life, trying to figure out a lot of things in my life that I wasn’t completely satisfied with and trying to make my little world a bit more wholesome, learning how to love myself.”

She described Sola as a deeply intimate look into her mind, fears, dreams and some thoughts that she didn’t think she’d share with so many people. The EP’s title had been influenced by her friends.

“A friend of mine mentioned the word sola to me, which means alone in Spanish, and it felt like a simple, honest and fitting name. My best friend is from Argentina, so Spanish is often circling around me and I felt like it sounds: alone, but also like the sun.”

The former Western Cape resident said she had wanted the sound of this EP to be real.

“It’s very stripped down, almost low-fi. I tried not to get too complicated with it, or even strive for perfection, in any way, I just wanted realness and honesty. With this EP, there is a feminine rhetoric and it deals with very deeply personal things, putting my heart out there for anyone to see. A way of showing people that you can be sensitive and vulnerable, at the same time as being strong and powerful.”

Lou said Lost in LA was her favourite song.

“It’s the most recent one that I wrote, and it’s a song that was written in one night and came out from deep inside my subconscious. It deals with themes of feeling small and lost and insignificant, but finding some kind of beauty in that.”