To Dust / I Loved You
Released: 11th Nov, 2013
Label: Tru Thoughts
The fourth single from Alice Russell’s ‘To Dust’ album is “To Dust” / “I Loved You”, out 11th November. Alongside the two heavyweight originals, striking new remixes come from Sam Sparro (Island), Anushka (Brownswood) and Giom (Defected/Blackcherry), as well as a live Acoustic cut recently premiered on USA Today.
It is testament to the staggering strength in depth on her fifth album that these two tracks, each showcasing Alice Russell’s powers as a classic soul vocalist with sharp songwriting sensibilities, have kept until the fourth single for their turn in the limelight. Both “To Dust” and “I Loved You” have entranced discerning fans and tastemakers since the album’s release in February, amassing radio support from the likes of Huey Morgan (BBC R2 & 6Music), Shaun Keaveny (BBC 6Music), Jamie Cullum (BBC R2) and KCRW to name a few. This single release drops amid a large scale US, European and UK tour (see dates overleaf), and Alice Russell can currently be heard as Huey Morgan’s ‘Don’ of Sharing is Caring, each Sunday on BBC 6Music until 20th October.
While the strident, off kilter electro-soul of recent singles “For A While” and “Hard & Strong” brought out the playful, rock-chick side of Alice Russell’s persona; “To Dust” strips back to her soulful, philosophical essence. With an instinctual intensity, on “To Dust” we see Alice Russell growing up, fronting up to reality. The track was written in the aftermath of a serious let-down at the hands of someone she had trusted. As the resulting financial and psychological mire threatened to overcome her, the tragic passing of two close friends in a short time shocked her into realising that life is too short and resolving to mentally let go of those earthly frustrations. Flushed with the creative freedom borne of a glimpse into the abyss, the title track is the axis around which the whole LP spins.
Building so perfectly from “To Dust” on the album that it would have been a crime to split them up, the tear-jerking “I Loved You” boasts one of Russell’s most moving vocal performances to date; a clear, raw and beautiful vision of heartbreak, with gospel harmonies and a pulsating, primal drumbeat adding yet more potency to emotions so real you could reach out and touch them.
The first remix here is from Sam Sparro, who met Alice while gigging in her hometown of Brighton and declared a long-held ambition to work together, resulting in this first of many planned collaborations for the mutual admirers. Best known for his UK No. 2 soul hit “Black And Gold”, here the Grammy-nominated Australian pitches what will strike many as a curveball, turning the lead track into a splintered, glimmering slice of rave-y house.
Anushka, signed to Gilles Peterson's Brownswood label, have grown from the same Brighton scene as Russell; after supporting her at her sold-out London Scala show earlier this year, they keep it in the family with a remix of “I Loved You”. The loping, shifting construction of their “Wild Hearts Edit” shows the deep leftfield sound that has gained them recognition including The Guardian's New Music Blog. Completing the trio of remixes, multi-talented deep house visionary Giom – who, as well as consistently topping house music charts for his productions, is also the drummer in Alice Russell’s live band – transforms “To Dust” into a euphoric dancefloor banger.
With its fresh yet timeless sound, developed with long-term co-writer/producer TM Juke, ‘To Dust’ has heralded a worldwide surge in attention for Alice Russell, with accolades including ‘BBC 6Music Album of the Day’; features in Noisey, USA Today, DJ Mag and beyond; and radio sessions including Jamie Cullum (BBC Radio 2) and 6Music Live At Maida Vale. In addition to her US Network TV debut in Spring, another highlight was Russell’s triumphant Friday evening set on Glastonbury’s West Holts Stage, recorded by the BBC for high billing online, on TV and on 6Music.