Celebrating its 12th anniversary, the OC Music Awards kicks off on January 8th with eight weeks of free showcases at different venues across the county. 35 local artists will compete for the titles of Best Live Band and a performance slot at the 2013 OC Music Awards, March 9th at the City National Grove of Anaheim.
A rare songbird nestled in the wild, untamed forest of local singer-songwriters, Alice Wallace has her musical ascension almost figured out. Sipping her tea with an unwavering sense of confidence mixed with her straight-forward, sincere demeanor, Wallace says she’s finally ready to jump off that cliff, fiscal or otherwise, and fly. Her flight plan is just waiting for her to take off.
She already had to take the flight out here to Southern California for step one of her dream. Wallace jokes that she moved from “one Disney to another.” The young lady who once idolized Jewel in high school later graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism and was a writer at a newspaper in Gainesville before she had the opportunity to start weaving together her sonic roots in a much more musically-inclined area—Orange County.
It was those formative years in high school when she first picked up a guitar and listened to female singer-songwriters of the ‘90s that Wallace discovered that she could find a sweet release through the sounds. “It just felt like being able to put my own words to music was so much more engaging for me than singing other people’s songs,” said Wallace, talking about the moment when music became her passion. “Listening to people like Jewels and female singer-songwriters who came out in the ‘90s and were doing it—it made me realize that I could probably do that as well. I think that’s what really pushed me to feel like someone of my generation could sing and write songs and make an impact on the world in some way. “
Through the years, Wallace experimented with her sound with her first album, Sweet Madness, being “somewhat varied” and composed of a “lot of different influences.” Although that album allowed her to book two tours with band mates Tom Bremer (lead guitar), Neil Patton (upright bass), and Evan Maloney (drums), including a successful one up the West Coast that garnered a fair amount of press, Wallace says her upcoming album will be more on track with the “honest” and “sparse” alt-country Americana style writing she’s been doing lately and been influenced with since she was a kid listening to Emmylou Harris and “doing harmonies.” to Gram Parsons songs with her Dad.
Or maybe, jokes Wallace, she’ll call it the Break-Up Album.
“I keep saying that my next album is going to be called the Break-Up Album. I’ve had a couple of break-ups and I’ve just been writing nothing by break-up songs,” says Wallace laughing. “I may need to write about something else very soon. Once I get every possible song about my brain that could come out of this.”
With a full-time job and a full-time life, Wallace’s music hangs sweetly, divinely on a precipice between her morning commute and her need for sleep, ready for her to save it and one day “make a living singing and playing music.” Her title track from her first album, “Sweet Madness,” is all about that balancing act and Wallace’s inner struggle to do more.
“And just trying to figure out life and figure out my own idea of what life is supposed to be,” elaborates Wallace. “I’ve gone through some depressions and I guess it probably has to do with being a musician maybe and just trying to figure out how to be happy. And it’s taken my a long time to figure out that I really think the only way I can be happy is by playing music. And I’ve fought it for a long time because I’ve always been a perfectionist…I didn’t want to do something where I didn’t know I could be successful. And music is something where it’s hard to know you’re going to be successful and it’s hard to just jump off the cliff but at this point I feel like I’m not getting any younger and I need to do this.”
“I feel like because I’ve never given my music the proper attention that I should, that I’m not 100% sure what the potential is but I least want to see myself playing music for a living in whatever form that takes and playing my own music a majority of the time,” continues Wallace. “It’s too easy to just pedal along, waiting for things to happen and doing things here and there, but not really just throwing yourself in full force and seeing what happens. Seeing where your talent leads you.”
“If I fall on my face, I fall on my face, but at the same time I’ll feel like I’m going to regret it if I don’t really put everything into it for awhile and give it a shot.”
—Nadia Noir, KROQ Los Angeles
The 2013 Showcase Series runs every Tuesday night, January 8th-February 26th with stops at:
Jan 8 – Detroit Bar
Jan 15 – The District at Tustin Legacy
Jan 22 – The Slide Bar
Jan 29 – Constellation Room
Feb 5 – Tiki Bar
Feb 12 – Founders Hall
Feb 19 – Yost Theater
Feb 26 – House of Blues-Anaheim
LEARN MORE AT: OCMUSICAWARDS.COM