If you’re not familiar with Alice Merton, that’s about to change.
The English-German singer-songwriter is gifted with something that’s rare in the music industry today: authenticity. Her debut album Mint, released Jan. 18 under Mom+Pop Music, is taking her on tour across Europe and the U.S., including a stop at Coachella.
Mint houses 11 tracks that exemplify that Merton has already found her voice and style, and is soon to find her place in the music scene.
Merton’s lyrics are infused with personal stories that reveal her true experiences, thoughts and emotions. This is not a masquerade. This is an artist saying hello to the world with complete vulnerability. But vulnerability does not equate to slow-rhythm ballads. Mint uses guitar and percussion to create dance-worthy instrumentals in a number of hits.
A prime example of this is “No Roots” — Merton’s 2017 single that reached #1 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart. The alternative-pop song will keep your head bopping and foot tapping, all while educating you on Merton’s transient life. Over 24 years, Merton has moved 12 times.
She’s accomplished something early in her career that most artists never achieve: she started her own record label. Paper Planes Records is German-based, but with Merton’s natural talents and co-founder Paul Grauwinkel, the label is sure to take all of its works international.
One of her songs in Mint, “2 Kids” presents the story of Merton meeting Grauwinkel, who is also her current manager, at a bus stop and the two of them visualizing their big city dreams. This song also exemplifies Merton’s commitment to staying authentic, with lyrics like, “Like brother and sister, we kept so tight/ Didn’t let the others try to change our minds/ We never let them win/ Not now, not back then.”
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Living on her own terms wasn’t always natural for Merton. In the album’s fast-paced opener, “Learn To Live,” Merton sings about breaking free of her fears and simply enjoying life and freedom.
If every song title and its respective lyrics aren’t enough to decipher the meaning of a track, Merton is there to help. Pre- and post-album release, Merton took to Instagram to explain the inspiration behind many of the songs. This further proves she has no protective walls around her and is solely concerned with taking her emotions and transforming them into a medium that the entire world can understand, and potentially, relate to.
The album has a quick tempo switch with “Honeymoon Heartbreak,” which Merton calls “the only love song you will find on MINT.” But things pick back up again immediately after when the album closes out with “Trouble In Paradise” — whose name may imply slow ballad, but is nothing of the sort — and “Why So Serious.” The latter served as the second single to Mint, released in 2018 following her debut EP No Roots.
Merton has proved that she has the potential to change the music scene because she isn’t afraid to create the music she wants to, despite criticism. The only downside to Mint is its short 38-minute runtime, but the bright side is that even after countless repeat listens, the music never seems to get old.