Alice Melnik: An Interview
By: Tom Hurst
Alice Melnik, a talented first-year singer-songwriter from London answers my questions about the music she writes, her performances in different places and her aspirations in the music industry, ahead of her performance this Thursday in Rector’s Café.
ST.ART: How did playing this Thursday come about?
Alice Melnik: So, through playing some open mics and at a live lounge for STAR radio last semester meant that I met Katie Murray – a lovely gal who’s involved with music is love – and she put my name forward to the head of music for STAR radio, who then got in touch with me through Facebook and asked if I was up for playing a couple of songs for this week’s STAR radio, and music is love live lounge at the rector’s café, and yeah, I agreed because… why not? It’s a fun thing to do and something I really enjoy doing.
ST.ART: Have you played much in St Andrews?
AM: I’ve played quite a bit, not as much as I’d like to. I guess it’s kind of difficult to be practising and learning songs whilst juggling uni work and settling in and getting used to everything in first year. Hopefully I’ll be playing much more next year and be playing more of my own songs. But yeah back to the question… I’ve played at a few open mics, a STAR radio live lounge and most recently I played at the Medsin’s exhibition on mental health and now have this gig coming up on Thursday.
ST.ART: What about playing outside of St Andrews? Do you vary the music you play particularly dependent on where you are?
AM: So, since I’ve been here I haven’t played back home, in London, where I actually played quite a few gigs before coming here (just at markets, pubs and cocktail bars). But yeah, it’s interesting you ask that, hadn’t really thought about it but yeah, I think I do a bit. So, back home I wasn’t very concerned with playing songs that people knew and just sort of played whatever I thought would be pretty cool to perform or play. Whereas here, I still do my own thing and play what I want, but I’m a bit more concerned with playing songs people know, more recent songs; due to a younger audience, I guess. So yeah to answer your question I guess I do vary the music I play… not too much, but to an extent.
ST.ART: You mention your own songs; how did you get into song-writing?
AM: Good question… I couldn’t really tell you how, I just did! Well, I started trying to song-write and write bits and bobs when I was like 10 I’d say, but that was just lyrics really. So, I’d say I properly started song-writing around the time I started playing the guitar, which is when I was 12. I guess I found it was a good way of expressing myself, getting my feelings off of my chest, being creative and it’s also a fun pastime, something I really enjoy doing.
ST.ART: Do you have a favourite place that you’ve played?
AM: Good question, I really like performing at The Troubadour in London. It’s a really cool place; back in the day Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, amongst others played there. It feels pretty special getting to play there, and the ambience and lighting is good there for performing as well.
ST.ART: Were they inspirations of yours?
AM: Not really to be honest, but they are obviously both musicians with incredible talent that I do enjoy listening to; I have to say I do listen more to Jimi Hendrix though.
ST.ART: Who were your inspirations, in making music, if you were to name names?
AM: Oh gosh, that’s a difficult one to answer, I don’t think I can answer it! I just really don’t know, because I don’t really try to emulate other artists when song-writing, I just write what comes to me. And I listen to a variety of genres; I really like classic rock and old-school hip-hop, but neither of those are really evident in my music if you get me.
ST.ART: Do you have a personal favourite of the songs that you’ve written?
AM: Ooh it’s hard to say, there have been favourites. Like, I wrote a song called ‘winding road’ a while back and I’d play that quite a bit, but I don’t think it’s my favourite anymore. I’ve written better songs since, I would say, and some of those I’d call my favourites now, but most of them are unheard… I should note that some of them I’ll be uploading onto my SoundCloud in the near future, so stay tuned.
ST.ART: Why was winding road your favourite song?
AM: I’m not sure, I guess I enjoyed – and still enjoy – playing it. It’s not as personal as some of my other songs and everyone can more or less relate to it I’d say. So yeah, it’s fun to play.
ST.ART: Staying tuned long term; what are your thoughts on pursuing a career in the music industry?
AM: Ah what a question, to have a successful career in the music industry would be the dream, it has been the dream since I was very young, for around 10 years now at least. I want to carry on working on my music over the summer and over the coming years; it is a great hobby of mine and I want to get more stuff up online. I want to get heard and carry on performing. Obviously, all alongside my uni work, it’ll be a bit difficult, but I’m trying and will keep trying to keep the balance. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens!
Whilst waiting and seeing, enjoy Alice’s performance this Thursday evening at Rector’s Café (Facebook event link below) and keep on top of her choice releases (such as winding road) by following the link below to her very impressive SoundCloud page.