Alicia Blue has been waiting her whole life — or at least the last few years of it — to put out her debut album. But with her self-titled set out June 28 and premiering exclusively below, the California singer-songwriter says the experience is a little different than she expected.
“It definitely feels like you’re telling your secrets,” Blue tells Billboard, “but it’s also really cool to get it off my chest. I have no idea how it’s going to be perceived or experienced by anyone. While I guess I look at my experiences as kind of unique only because no one really talks about these things, I think my hope is that it will actually make people say, ‘Hey, Omigod, me too!'”
The seven Americana-styled songs on Alicia Blue mine many experiences in Blue’s life, particularly being of Mexican-American heritage with an “old world Mexican” father — “He drinks tequila and parties, and fun is very in front of life for him,” she says — and a mother who’s more of a “protector and safety net.” The song “Uncle Juan He Wastes His Stardust” was inspired by her brother’s struggles with his ethnic identity, while “Come On Home” and “Incognito” chronicle Blue’s coming to grips with her own ambitions and dreams, which made her leave here home town of La Verne, Calif., for a grittier existence in Los Angeles.
“Most of the tunes on this record felt like they’d been bubbling within me for some time – some of them my entire life,” acknowledges Blue, who sings one of the tracks, “Por Un Amor,” in Spanish. “It was only a matter of time before they erupted and, trust me, I tried to hold a few of them back, but there was no just way. There was so much darkness there, and it was so close to home that I tried to bury, run from and even deny it. To own it is what this album starts to scratch the surface of. The liberation is owning, handling the pain, taking care of it like it’s my baby — because it is.”
“Tightrope Walker,” meanwhile, reveals how therapy made Blue realize she actually likes to walk on the emotional edge more than she knew. “My first therapy session ever I realized that is certainly my nature — wanting to feel the highest of highs and not afraid to walk around the lows,” Blue says. “I had to become an artist because I had to have therapy, right? No one knew what therapy was where I grew up. These songs, especially ‘Uncle Juan,’ it feels so good to sing them. It’s like it’s healing me, getting comfort from making sense of these explosive sorts of events in my life.”
Blue is a self-acknowledged “late bloomer” as a musician, though she notes that “the dream’s been in my mind for a while.” It wasn’t until she met Los Angeles soul singer Malcolm Hayes when she was 25 that Blue began to pursue that ambition, finally playing her first open mic show three years later and focusing seriously on her craft during the past four years. She’ll celebrate Alicia Blue‘s release on July 3 at the Desert Nights songwriters showcase at the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles and has already finished a second album with producer Jordan Ruiz.
“I got a late start,” Blue says, “so I want to make up…not for lost time, but I want to get (music) out there and start playing for more people and really get going on this thing I’ve wanted to do for such a long time.”