Alice Skye releases debut album Friends With Feelings today and says, "It was instilled in me from the beginning that women can achieve anything."

Alice Skye. Image: Atong Atem 

Alice Skye. Image: Atong Atem 

The voice of Alice Skye is intriguing and beautiful. With tenderness and vulnerability, Skye tells stories of identity and purpose.

Today, the 22 year old Wergaia woman releases release her eagerly anticipated debut album Friends With Feelings.

A collection of songs taken from journal entries Skye has written over the years, she says, “There are different landscapes and times in my life that these songs are a product of. The title track was written after being told by someone to think of my emotions as colours. I’m deeply preoccupied with identity, it’s something that gives me stability - understanding my culture and who I am. This whole album for me is a reminder of where I was, where I’ve been and where I’m still going.”

From Country Victoria, Alice grew up aside the sandstone mountains and wildflowers of the Grampians. Still inspired by her roots, Alice’s songs resonate with a sensitivity and maturity well beyond her years. Accompanied by the gentle and hauntingly sparse melodies of a piano score, her journal entries are transformed into well-crafted, articulate lyrics on love, loss and life. 

Skye first caught national attention back in 2015 with her debut single You Are The Mountains. Recorded at the The Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA)  studios in Alice Springs as one of eight winners of the Alukura Songwriting Competition, late 2015 saw Alice chosen as finalist in the Triple J Unearthed NIMA competition and one of the 5 new Indigenous artists you need to hear.
You Are The Mountains earned Skye radio airplay, a record deal with Indigenous record label CAAMA Music and a management deal with Penney and Logan. Invited to return to CAAMA Music’s Alice Springs studio to record her first full-length album - out today - it turned out to be a fortuitous and pivotal life moment. 

“When I was asked to return to Alice Springs to record an album, I took two weeks off university to be up there and I never ended up returning to uni. My life is now about music”.

Skye took some time to chat with Music Love about Friends With Feelings.

Alice Skye

Congratulations on your first full length album! What an achievement. How are you feeling?

Thank you! Honestly it’s still pretty surreal. I’ve known these songs for a number of years so it’s a funny feeling letting them out into the “real world”. It really is a "release". 

Tell us about the recording process – your time in the studio, and the team.

I was really lucky to record the album in Alice Springs. It was such an amazing time too. Disappearing into CAAMA’s [The Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association] huge (and very well air conditioned) studio and then walking outside to a 40+ degree day in Alice.

I worked most closely with Matt Byrnes and Rohan Carmody. They were so great and so supportive. It felt like a little bubble in the studio and it was also my first time working in a studio on something. I couldn’t imagine a better environment really.

Friends with Feelings is the latest track to be released. Tell us about that song.

Friends with Feelings was a later addition to the album but ended up encompassing a lot of the feelings and themes that I was talking about in the album - being 20ish and confused and terrified, basically.

I was having a conversation with someone about anxiety and how I find it difficult to process different emotions. They told me to think of my feelings as colours. And that’s where Friends with Feelings comes from.

Congratulations also on the First Peoples Emerging Artist Award. How did it feel to receive this award on IWD?

This really meant a lot to me. It’s so great and encouraging to see people putting money into black artists. I think this is such a wonderful opportunity they’ve created. The IWD event itself in Melbourne was so amazing - just being in a room with so many amazing women/non-binary artists that I admire! I was raised solely by women too, so it was instilled in me from the beginning that women can achieve anything. And the support of killer women in the industry is what drives me most.

What are you most looking forward to in 2018?

I’m going on my first tour with one of my best friends Emily Wurramara and my band mid year! I think that’s going to be a definite highlight!  

Which musicians inspire you?

Well I’ve already mentioned Emily – she’s so inspiring to me not only as a musician and songwriter - but just in general as a person. She’s got so much drive and power, I can’t wait to see what she does! I’m still learning my language, but it’s so inspiring to see a young, strong Aboriginal woman singing like her singing in language in the contemporary music world. I want to see so much more of that taking up space!

Friends with Feelings is out today

Read Music Love's interview with Emily Wurramara here.