Alice Phoebe Lou will be returning to CT at the end of the month and you can stand a chance of winning one set of double tickets to one of her CT shows and one set of double tickets to her JHB show. Let us know why you should be at any one of her shows. Comment below, write on our wall or tweet your reasoning to us on @ourfriendsco using the #OFAPL hashtag. You have until Wednesday, the 25th of January at 13:00 to get your entries in. Winners will be contacted directly.

Alice Phoebe Lou is a South African who developed her bluesy, folk sound busking on the streets of Berlin. She has caught the ears of a community of music lovers the world over with her honest storytelling and raw, beautiful voice. She left South Africa with no money and started busking in Berlin. She was invited to perform at TEDx Berlin, of which her performance went viral and received almost half a million views.

Alice released her new album ORBIT last year in Europe, which charted at #2 on the German iTunes singer/songwriter charts and at #1 on the Austrian singer/songwriter charts. In September she was also nominated for Best Female Artist at the German Critics Choice Awards (Popkultur Awards).

Photo by Robert Paul Kothe

Rolling Stone in Germany published a 6 page spread on Alice praising her independent approach to releasing music. She has been on the cover of Tip Magazine in Berlin and also sold out 4 nights at the Berlin Planetarium.

We here at Our Friends had the awesome opportunity to sit down and chat with her.

You recently released your new album Orbit, what was it like putting together a full production version of the tracks that you play live? What was the best part about it all? What was the hardest?

I’d definitely describe it as one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. It comes with so many challenges and really difficult times, especially considering I was working super hard to be able to fund the entire project on my own and the expenses rack up like you can’t believe! The best part was the recording process and learning so much every day. Also holding that vinyl in my fingers the first time!

You gained a lot of your musical influence abroad, specifically in Europe. Would you say that distinguishes you from most artists, especially here in South Africa?

I think that everyone has their own unique concoction of influences and you definitely don’t need to travel to Europe to be influenced by the music that comes out of there. I was just privileged enough to have a magic little passport thing that tells me I’m allowed to be there, which definitely changed my life. I’m not sure I would actually be a musician if I hadn’t gone to the other side of the world, because that’s where I fell in love with street music and began shaping that path.

You were also invited to play at TEDx Berlin. What was that like?

I felt quite lucky to have been picked to perform there, as they had simply passed by me playing on the street and decided I’d be good for the job. It was a great experience to be playing music in an intellectual and inspiring environment and I was definitely not expecting the reception that I received from the few songs I played.

Photo by Robert Paul Kothe

What does your ultimate musical success look like?

Right here, right now. Being able to travel the world, employ my friends, play in every environment from festivals to inspiring conferences, having enough money to sustain everything purely from hard work rather than from getting involved in the big industry of it. I feel empowered and happy with where I am right now!

We always think about things like, “How can we use street style photography to change the world?” or things like, “How can we use festival coverage to change the world?” so we’re going to a pose a similar question to you because we believe that there’s always something you can do to improve peoples’ lives in the areas that you are passionate about. I ask you, “How can we use music to change the world?”

Well I think that music and popular culture play a huge role in changing the world, because you are able to reach people and spread ideas in a medium that people can relate to. For me, the most inspiring musicians are often the ones that are using their music in one way or another to spread ideas, to hold up a mirror. These things can be subtle or bold and they all play a part in changing what is normalised in youth culture and often it can give us hope.

Feature photo by Lucas Fiederling.