Alicia Blue began her creative pursuits with a deep emersion into poetry that spanned her earliest years and filled her days with words, art and stories. While in college at Cal State Northridge her life in music began when she collided with a wheelchair-bound, aging soul singer named Malcolm Clark Hayes, Jr. forty years her senior. A former Liberty Records artist, Malcolm had toured with Little Richard and an early Jimi Hendrix as part of Richard’s band. Initially, Alicia had come to care for him to earn extra money, but ended up sleeping on his floor several days a week for two years just to gather musical knowledge from him; or as she puts it, “to learn everything Malcolm knew.”
During this time, Alicia began her first foray into setting her poems to song, while she could barely yet even play an instrument. After hearing her sing for the very first time, Malcolm asked, “What makes you so sad?” a question that both set her name and style, and soon Alicia became Alicia Blue.
The first order of business was learning the basics of music and Malcolm convinced Alicia to take at least one music class. But showing up to class took a backseat after a chance meeting at a restaurant in Thai Town just below the East Hollywood apartment. During their dinner, Alicia was struck by a Thai woman finger-picking an acoustic guitar, blowing through songs the likes of James Taylor, Carole King and Joni Mitchell. Malcolm insisted that Alicia speak with her after her set, and to her surprise, the woman hardly spoke English, despite singing those songs in near perfect English…but the musical connection was made. Nong and Alicia spent every weekend together for the next year playing music, finding Alicia the perfect guitar, and teaching her everything she knew about playing the instrument. Between Nong’s guitar and Malcolm’s vocal instructions, Alicia’s style began to take form. Malcolm introduced her to soul music, but it wasn’t until Alicia discovered “Blue” by Joni Mitchell that the heart of her artistry began to emerge. Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Neil Young would prove to be just as important and influential as her songwriting style began to coalesce into something more singular.
Following Alicia’s first open mic as a newfound musician and performer, Malcolm’s health began to deteriorate quickly, as though he’d remained healthy just long enough to see her begin to take flight on this next phase of her life. One of his last wishes had been to see Alicia pursue her dreams as a singer-songwriter and it seems he felt he’d succeeded. Malcolm died in August 2015, leaving Alicia with a book full of life’s poetry and a burning desire to reach people with her music.
In 2019 Alicia Blue independently released her first EP, which included her earliest songs, and was near-immediately contacted by Starbucks to have her song “Magma” featured in stores worldwide via their Starbucks Acoustic playlist on Spotify. Garnering immediate attention as a songwriter and singer, Alicia quickly became a pivotal figure on the LA songwriting circuit and drew attention from various labels, managers and media outlets. She’s been featured in publications like Billboard and Atwood Magazine, as well as LA’s legendary KCRW. She’s opened for artists like BØRNS and sang alongside Bill Withers at a tribute to the legend.
Alicia Blue’s first full-length album, Bravebird, was released April 2020 (yes, in the middle of a global pandemic), securing spots on Spotify’s influential Fresh Finds Pop and Fresh Finds Rock playlists and garnering a whole new round of buzz and attention. In January 2021, she was listed at the top of Atwood Magazine’s “2021 Artists to Watch.”
Armed now with new management, a band of top players, an extended support team, plans to tour in 2021 (as the world opens again), and two new singles and videos ready for release, Alicia Blue is headed back to the studio with a slew of new songs and eyes wide open looking toward the next chapter.