Alicia Blue Is 'An Outcast With Formidable Energy' on 'Magma': Premiere
Alicia Blue considers herself "an outcast with formidable energy" -- something you can hear on her debut single, "Incognito," and the new "Magma," premiering below from her self-titled debut album.
"On that song I had this vision of a volcano and the intensity and sort of formidable energy of it," the Mexican-American singer-songwriter from California tells Billboard. "I always felt like that was me, my personality." Blue, in fact, grew up in working-class family she felt "was afraid of me" and her creative ambitions, including poetry as well as music. "They really thought I was crazy and called me stupid," recalls Blue, who works for a delivery service and gives voice lessons as she pursues her independent music career. "So I was on my own. But I believed in myself -- and I still feel it's going to work out."
Blue is a self-acknowledged "late bloomer" as a musician, though she notes that "the dream's been in my mind for a while." But it wasn't until she met Los Angeles soul singer Malcolm Hayes when she was 25 that Blue began to pursue that ambition, playing her first open mic show three years later and finally focusing seriously on her craft during the past four years.
The pursuit has put Blue in the company of many younger aspirants, and she also wrote "Magma" about their energy and drive -- as well as some of the shortcomings she saw in their makeup. "There's that rebellious energy that's also sincere and authentic, I noticed," Blue says. "We all didn't want to do the 9-5 structure that was told to us by our parents, but there’s that overtone of, 'Hey, you millennials don't want to do the work but want to have a $5 coffee,' and while a lot of that's true I feel like we're doing something really cool that might scare people 'cause they can't see it, but we are going balls to the wall.
"So I wanted to paint that picture of my generation and make a nice gift, uplifting them. It came from that very sincere place."
Less pronounced but still present on the self-titled album, expected this summer, is Blue's heritage. There are some Latin-American stylistic overtones in her melodies and rhythms, while she does sing one song ("Por Un Amor") in Spanish and has another, "Uncle Juan He Wastes His Stardust," inspired by her brother's struggles with his ethnic identity. "We were Latin people, but I came out looking white and this theme of assimilation was sort of pushed on us," recalls Blue, whose father is from Mexico while her mother is second-generation Mexican-American. "There's this beautiful nostalgia of my father's family and the culture, and it's very different from my mom and how we grew up. So there's this crazy conflict we all deal with, in different ways."