Tiny Singer, Big Voice – Alice Russell at Resident

Alice Russell 2
By Sarah Jackson

Acoustic gigs are often intimate affairs, but rarely are they as intimate as Alice Russell’s acoustic set at Resident, an independent record shop in the heart of the North Laine. To celebrate and promote the release of her new album, ‘To Dust’, Alice performed four acoustic songs, including her 2012 single, ‘Heartbreaker’.

Resident seems an unlikely choice for a live music set; it’s a typical small record shop, bisected down the centre by racks of CDs and vinyl. Alice, who can’t be much taller than 5’3”, could barely be seen over the top of the racks at the back of the crowd, but boy could you hear her. She has been compared to the late Amy Winehouse whose voice she certainly matches in both power and style.

Originally from Suffolk, she moved to Brighton to study art and music in 1994. “I just liked the vibe,” she told me afterwards, so she stayed after finishing her studies and choosing to pursue a musical career. She began to make a name for herself with her contributions to recordings with Bah Samba, Quantic and others, before releasing a debut album in 2005. Her records have been consistently critically acclaimed.

She and her band will be leaving Brighton for a few days in order to do some promotional work in Paris, but for now at least, Alice seems happy to stay here. “It’s a lovely place to come back to,” she says, “it’s nice and small”.
Small city, small venue, small singer; but a big voice. I can’t help but hope one day her popularity will be such that she will be unable to perform in record shops.

Alice Russell’s album ‘To Dust’ is available now from all good record shops.

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