Alice Ivy proves that people shouldn’t sleep on her anymore
Even in 2020, women producers still constantly have to “prove” themselves. Even if they do 100 percent of their production, there’s still some uncertainty. For Annika Schmarsel, better known by her stage name, Alice Ivy, all egos have to be left at the door. The Melbourne producer released her debut album, I’m Dreaming, on February 9, 2018. The album brought together electronic, hip hop, funk, soul, jazz and more to create an upbeat, collaborative environment. Two years later, Schmarsel gives people, Don’t Sleep, with a continued focus on collaboration as well as a feel of happiness, sadness and summertime nostalgia.
Don’t Sleep comes in at 13 tracks with 12 of them having one or more collaborators. What makes them so important is that they are primarily female, non-binary, First Nations and a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Having this diversity and range of artists elevates the album into deeper emotions and truths. When speaking on what collaborations mean to her, Schmarsel told Magnetic Magazine, “But no matter how different your backgrounds may be or what genre or tradition you come from, when it clicks and you find that mysterious common ground with another artist you can create something that’s bigger than the sum or the parts.” Featured artists include the likes of: Imbi, BOI, Bertie Blackman, Cadence Weapon, Thelma Plum, Odette, Teef, TESSA, Benjamin Joseph, Montaigne, Swsh, Ngaiire, Dijah SB and Ecca Vandal. With some of them being Australian artists, and Schmarsel being a fan of them, it helps further push the Australian music scene into mainstream attention.
The opening track, “Champagne Late Nights,” is the only song without a feature. The song was made by accident according to Schmarsel but the solid, almost lofi trap beat feels perfect against the smooth main vocals and pitch-shifted chorus. It feels like the start to a summer car ride. This energy continues with the title track that features Imbi and BOI. When asked about the inspiration, Schmarsel describes it as an attempt at Major Lazer meets Santigold. The blend of Imbi and BOI’s vocals bring a fresh and hyped-up feel to the electronic hip-hop infused track. The final track, “Gold” featuring Bertie Blackman, brings it all together; it’s the end of this car ride and one is about to arrive in under five minutes. Blackman’s warm vocals melt into the soft, upbeat production.
While a good portion of the LP has an electronic pop and funk feel, tracks like “Ticket To Heaven” featuring Thelma Plum and “I’ll Find It” featuring Odette boast powerful vocals with a more soulful pop vibe. The range of sounds heard throughout the album adds to the fun of it. It’s like people are listening to the ups and downs of life in the summertime.
Don’t Sleep gives listeners a glimpse into Schmarsel’s musical influences and how skillful she is as a producer. Not only is it giving her a step towards more mainstream attention but also her collaborators and any women who are interested in the production side of the industry as well.