Alice Matthew (aka Alice Phoebe Lou) is a South African singer/songwriter with a distinctive voice and a style that combines ethereal bedroom pop with elements of folk, synth pop, jazz, and blues. Emerging in 2014, Lou has issued a handful of EPs and four full-length efforts (Orbit (2016), Paper Castles (2019), Glow (2021), and Child’s Play (2021). “She,” a track she contributed to the 2017 documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, was included on the Oscars’ shortlist for Best Original Song.
The daughter of a pair of documentary filmmakers, Lou was born and raised in the small Cape Peninsula town of Kommetjie. A multi-instrumentalist by the age of fourteen, she spent her formative years as a street musician in Europe, honing her skills for passerby in Berlin, where she would eventually move. Lou self-released her debut EP, Momentum, independently in 2014. Two years later, she issued her first long-player, Orbit, which earned accolades in the German press and elicited praise back home in South Africa. The following year saw the release of the EP Sola, as well as the appearance of the one-off single “She,” which was used in the acclaimed documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story. Paper Castles arrived in 2019 and yielded the sumptuous hit single “Something Holy,” followed by an extensive bout of international touring. Like most musicians at the time, Lou spent 2020 in occupational stasis due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but her creative spark never dimmed, due in large part to having fallen in love and subsequently having her heart broken. She chronicled those tumultuous times on 2021′s aptly named and transcendent Glow and its surprise late-year follow-up Child’s Play. ~ James Christopher Monger