Meet Lizzy McAlpine, Your Favorite New Songwriter

Dropping out of music school in the middle of a global pandemic sounds like a bad idea, but for Lizzy McAlpine, it’s the exact opposite. After completing two years at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, McAlpine decided to put aside his homework and focus instead on releasing music. Most important, she wants to release the songs she wants to release, not the songs her TikTok followers are obsessed with. “I feel like I have a love/hate relationship with TikTok,” she laughs during the phone conversation. “Sometimes it’s definitely weird and can be difficult to navigate or understand. The videos I post that I consider stupid are the ones that do the best, and that’s really weird.”

One example is “You Ruined the 1975 for Me,” a super viral TikTok video with nearly 2 million likes posted by McAlpine, a small reflection of how a band can become so closely associated with one person and how much that tie can hurt when they no longer exist in your life. And even though the Internet fell in love with McAlpine, sitting on her bathroom floor, talking about exes and Matty Healy’s music, that song didn’t represent who she wanted to be as an artist. “Cmon just finish it <3” read one of the 25,000 comments under the video, this comment was most recently posted in March 2022. McAlpine response? “No <3” — and she still never released it.

Instead, she gave the world her de facto debut album, Give me a minute, in August 2020 as the pandemic closed schools and offices, and left most people feeling more isolated than the increasingly digital world made them feel. Technically, it was preceded by an eight-song EP called dark blue released in 2018, McAlpine’s album has resonated deeply, largely due to her knack for venting the tough, tougher feelings we all face, and present them directly with poetic lines in their simplicity. “Pancakes For Dinner” became an online hit, Phoebe Bridgers praised her music, and McAlpine moved straight to researching new material instead of taking classes in the fall.

Lizzy McAlpine
(Credit: Gus Black)

“I didn’t listen [Phoebe] until just before Give me a minute McAlpine said. “But she came into my DM like a month after the first record came out and was like, ‘I love that record, I’m a big fan.’ And I like what’s going on? It’s really wild. On this new record, we have referenced Who punished a lot, just because Ethan Grushka’s production is so awesome that we used it as a base. Listeners will hear the similarities between the two artists, as they both face life’s more difficult moments with solemn fearlessness, raspy vocals and folk instruments.

In the same vein, Finneas is another like-minded artist who is also a fan of McAlpine’s work – and eventually a collaborator. “With Finneas, I really just texted him and told him I thought he was going to sound great on the song,” she said. “And five minutes later, he said, ‘Yes, send me the song. This is my number, I am very vulnerable. “” Their collaboration, “Hate To Be Lame, became one of the standout songs on Five seconds flatand Finneas even invited McAlpine to perform it with him at Coachella last month, an experience she can only describe as “surreal.”

While her decision to leave college was the right one for McAlpine, that doesn’t mean she broke the process. Berklee is where she meets her closest collaborator, producer and musician Philip Etherington, and provides her with a community of fellow artists and music lovers. “The best thing I got from being at Berklee was the people I met,” she said. “It’s really good for networking and meeting people. I’m so glad I went, I met some of my best friends. I think it’s important to make connections, especially in music, and music school can certainly help with that. I don’t think you need to study songwriting to be a good musician. You can just write songs and you don’t have to go to class to do it.”

Maybe she’s been assigned by now Five seconds flat, an anthology of 14 songs, all of which easily eclipse the TikTok snippet, with a broader scope and more nuanced reflections of how the failure of a relationship is the work of both. people, fans will focus on what this young artist always tells them – she has so much more to give. “With every project that I work on, I am growing in some way,” she said. “As a human being, but also an artist. Give me a minute, we were just in Phillip [Etherington]My little apartment is in Boston, and we’ve been doing most of it remotely because of the pandemic. With Five seconds flat, we have more time in his studio, just working with the two of us. I wanted it to sound different, so we’re experimenting; It feels like we are growing together. That’s why I’ve enjoyed working with Phillip, we’ve worked together since the beginning.”

mcalpine lizzy
(Credit: Gus Black)

For new listeners, both McAlpine albums are well worth a try, even if Five Seconds Flat sounds like a logical continuation and expansion of her sound on Give me a minute. McAlpine says she started the process towards an indie rock sound, but in the end, the songs did what they wanted. “I started with the idea that it would be indie rock,” she said. “But when we started making some songs, I was like, ‘Okay, not all of these songs fit that genre, so let’s just make songs the way they sound,’ and at some point they will all belong to the same record. ‘

Another element that helps bring all the disparate songs together, aside from McAlpine’s signature soft vocals, is a short clip she made to accompany the album. “I really enjoy telling stories and writing scripts,” she said. “So to incorporate it into my music is a huge thing for me. It is very satisfying. The next stage in her development are live and touring performances, elements that are understandably pause for an artist who has flared up during the pandemic. Now then Five seconds flat to the world, McAlpine is embarking on a sold-out tour behind her new album. But don’t hold your breath to put a certain song on the set list – instead, listen to new highlights and keep an open mind.

https://www.spin.com/2022/05/lizzy-mcalpine-give-me-a-minute-interview/ Meet Lizzy McAlpine, Your Favorite New Songwriter

Emma James

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