Chart Beat Podcast: The Aces & Alice Merton Among New Female Stars of Rock Radio

Alexander Bortz
The Aces

Utah quartet The Aces chat & perform new track "Volcanic Love" & debut chart hit "Stuck."

Welcome to the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast, where each week co-hosts Gary Trust and Trevor Anderson, from the Billboard charts department, discuss why what's on the charts … is on the charts, while also looking at current chart action in a historical context for even greater insights.

This week, we have live song performances (thankfully not by Gary or Trevor), as Utah quartet The Aces recently stopped by Billboard's New York offices to perform new single "Volcanic Love" and breakthrough chart hit "Stuck" and discuss their rise.

The band – sisters Alisa and Cristal Ramirez, Katie Henderson and McKenna Petty – made its Billboard chart debut when "Stuck" reached No. 38 on Alternative Songs in December. The track is from The Aces' 2017 debut EP I Don't Like Being Honest and first full-length, When My Heart Felt Volcanic, due April 6.

With the all-female act hitting the chart, and Alice Merton this week becoming only the third solo female to top Alternative Songs in the last 22 years (joining Elle King in 2015 and Lorde in 2013), as "No Roots" takes hold at No. 1, The Aces discuss, with Gary and Billboard rock chart manager Kevin Rutherford, women's ascent in the traditionally male-dominated genre.

"Girls are feeling more empowered. Gender stereotypes are going away," Alisa says.

"When we started the band, 12 years ago, we were Disney kids and loved watching the Jonas Brothers and seeing boy bands. We wanted to do that and be the girl version and represent women, at a very young age," says Petty.

Now, The Aces are inspiring their own fans. "Once or twice a night on tour, a girl will come up to us and say, 'I want to start a band,' " notes Cristal. "Or, 'I've wanted to be a tour manager, or go into the music industry, and I've been too intimidated. But, seeing you guys on stage … I'm going to do it tomorrow. I'm going to send the email.' "

"The other day, after a show, I'd given my guitar pick to a fan," Henderson shares. "She DM'd me and said, 'I'm using your pick, I'm learning how to play guitar.' It was so … this is why we do this. It's [for] anybody, but especially young girls."

Regardless of gender, The Aces are reinforcing that long-term success is largely a result of dedication.

"We've been performing almost all our lives," Alisa says. "Confidence takes years and years and years."

Gary and Trevor also cover this week's Billboard Hot 100, where Drake reigns for a fourth week with "God's Plan" and launches at No. 6 as featured on rookie rapper BlocBoy JB's "Look Alive." And, long before The Aces, another band was bringing melodic alternative to Billboard's charts, as we flash back to the Pop Songs chart's No. 1 hit 21 years ago this week.

Enjoy the entire latest Chart Beat Podcast and check back for more upcoming episodes with artists, label executives, radio programmers and personalities, songwriters, producers and more. And, to receive every episode automatically in your inbox, subscribe to (and rate) the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast on iTunes!