Alicia Walter, the former leader of Chicago-based art-rock outfit Oshwa, has announced her debut solo LP I Am Alicia for September 17th via the burgeoning tastemaker label Sooper Records. Co-produced by Walter and Devin Greenwood (Sufjan Stevens, Steve Reich, Norah Jones) the album is a bold retelling of Walter’s self-discovery that encourages the listener’s own story to take root in its universal truths. Embracing influences spanning from jazz and the classic composition of American standards to hip-hop and new wave to build her own brand of eclecti-pop the album serves as “a hero’s journey through the unconscious, driven by my desire to experience who it is I am, inside, and what it is I do in this life, outside.” Nothing illustrates that statement better than first song and accompanying video for “Prelude” – a glitchy display of pop genius whose exuberance is uncontainable. The video, directed by Lisa Schatz is a vibrantly colorful odyssey that sees Walter transcending different life forms on her path to self-actualization and enlightenment. Of the song she notes “I wrote my album I Am Alicia sequentially, starting with ‘Prelude’! This song kicks off a wild journey exploring my identity, consciousness, and everything that makes me tick. ‘Prelude’ is about letting go of any inhibitions holding me back from evolving into who I want to be and remembering that sometimes real wisdom lies in not knowing, rather than assuming I do.”
With an other-worldly force guiding her, Walter self-imposed a deadline for completing what would properly present her as a solo act, taking all elements of production on herself for the first time. From March to October of 2018, the challenge of bringing such an ambitious project to life took her from her new surroundings in NYC to the quiet of the Catskills upstate; the frenetic pulse of storied concert halls like New York’s Village Vanguard and some of the apartments of the 18 musicians she met and collaborated with throughout her recording process. Facing burnout just two weeks before she was to wrap the LP, Walter met producer/mixing engineer Devin Greenwood – and was again reminded the voyage is just as, if not more, important than the destination. Together, the two re-worked Walter’s version of the completed album for another full year at Greenwood’s Brooklyn studio, The Honey Jar, and finished the journey with album mastering by the highly sought after engineer Heba Kadry (Bjork, Japanese Breakfast, Mars Volta).
Stream “Prelude” smarturl.it/AWPrelude