Alice Phoebe Lou grew up on a mountainside in South Africa, attending a local Waldorf school that cultivated her innate love of music and the arts. She made her first visit to Europe at 16, a life-changing journey that first saw her taking her songs to the streets. Lou returned home to finish school but as soon as she was able made her way back to Europe, specifically Berlin. Armed with just her guitar, a small amp, a passel of distinctive original songs, and an utterly intoxicating voice and charm, she soon built a devoted fan following, not just in Berlin but around the world as tourists and passers-by from faraway places were so captivated by her music that they began sharing it amongst friends.
She self-released her debut EP, MOMENTUM, in 2014, followed two years later by her acclaimed first full-length, ORBIT. Tours across Europe and South Africa – including support runs with such like-minded artists as Rodriguez – honed her already striking gifts for live performance, as did visits to the United States that saw showcase sets at Austin TX’s annual SXSW.
2017 saw Lou’s single "She" featured in the award-winning documentary, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, with Executive Producer Susan Sarandon personally inviting her to perform the song before a private screening at The Feminist Institute in New York City.
Lou then paused for the first time in her fast-breaking career, allowing herself a moment to fully consider her next step. "I was kind of starting at zero," she says. "Nothing felt quite right. I felt a bit worried – I like to do things in a more stream of consciousness way, I trust my gut instincts." Her quest eventually led to a phone call with GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Noah Georgeson (Joanna Newsom, Cate Le Bon, iLe), a conversation that lasted more than an hour and instantly affirmed the partnership.
Lou and her troupe – which also included engineer Samur Khouja (Gruff Rhys, Michael Kiwanuka, Regina Spektor) among their number – stocked in groceries and set to work recording at Panoramic House in West Marin, CA, a landmark residential studio overlooking Stinson Beach and the Bolinas bay and lagoon, spending long hours in the studio interspersed with good food and good times.
"All the music was a conversation," she says. "We all gave each other space to put our ideas on the table. There was no ego, no bullshit; we were all in it for the right reasons. Which was wanting to have the best come out of it. It was very special."
PAPER CASTLES proved a strikingly dynamic work, rich with both whispers of nostalgia and an unstoppable sense of forward motion.
Following the release of “Paper Castles” in March last year Alice went on to tour across four continents tallying up 102 shows throughout 2019. She took new songs to the stage throughout the year to try them out,something she has often done when busking. Her first release of 2020, “Witches”, was one of these songs. Produced by Ziv Yamin and Mixed by Grammy winning producer Noah Georgeson (who prodded Paper Castles), “Witches” was accompanied by a music video shot on a second hand 8mm camera Alice took on tour last year. Carefree and spontaneous it encapsulates the positive attitude and synergy with which Alice and her band performed 102 shows in 2019.
The hundred and first show Alice played in 2019 was at Saal 1 at Funkhaus, an incredible recording studio built to recorder orchestras in 1956 as part of Funkhaus radio house in East Berlin. Her new Live LP “Live at Funkhaus” released this year is a selection of nine tracks taken from that performance on the 7th of December 2019. Alongside the release of this live album Alice published a short documentary directed & filmed by Julian Culverhouse which looks into the last days of the Paper Castles tour.
Alice is recording a new album which she intends to release independently next Spring and hopes to be able to hit the road again in 2021 to bring abrand new show to her fans with her friends and touring mates.