Earlier this month, Alice Russell graced KEXP’s studios with her breathy, soulful style. With a rhythmic push tempered like a slow-build, her set kicked off with the song “For A While.” Donning a gold heart-shaped ring on her left hand, Russell belted her heart-felt “Ooos” and “Yeahs” that clutched at listeners’ heartstrings. The British-born Russell is known as a soul singer with roots in gospel music – she lists Jill Scott, Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder as influences. It’s hard not to hear similarities between her and local singer Allen Stone, so much so that the two seem to be musical siblings. Like Stone, Russell has more recent influences too, with backing beats reminiscent of hip hop producer Scott La Rock or even Jon Brion’s production on Fiona Apple albums. “And I – I – I could be you. And you – you – could be me!” she sings backed by ambient samples and precise drum htis. “Not too many people can sing like that at 11 in the morning,” noted KEXP’s Cheryl Waters of Russell’s performance. “Your voice is always out front and so powerful and so gorgeous.” The ability to sing songs of various styles is evident in Russell’s KEXP set, which you can witness for yourself here.
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