Alice Temple started out in the New Romantic pop movement
Long before the world was introduced to Boy George and his gender-bending persona in Culture Club, he could be found in Covent Garden, London at the Blitz club during the late 1970s. The young people who frequented the Blitz club became known as the Blitz Kids. They were the start of the New Romantic pop movement, known for their avant-garde androgynous clothing.
Besides Boy George, the Blitz club was frequented by Marilyn, Princess Julia, and Alice Temple. When Boy George released his single “A Boy Called Alice” in 1988, it was Temple’s voice on the song declaring, ”My name’s Alice, and I am not a boy.”
Growing up in London, Temple started a music career at twenty with London’s Eg White, founded by Francis Anthony “Eg” White. Under the name “Eg & Alice” they recorded the critically acclaimed “24 Years of Hunger” in 1991. Temple continued to write and record music.
Now back in the U.S. some 30 years later, Temple is releasing a new album and talking about her life and a return to music. She grew up just off Portobello Road in London. “At age six my oldest sister and I lived in Southern Spain on the coast, with my grandmother for a year, which was amazing. Then back to London. By then, my parents had moved to Holland Park, just the other side of Ladbroke Grove. It was a great place to be then. Mum had a restaurant opposite Rough Trade record store where I used to hang around thinking I was really cool. Even though I was just a little kid. I wanted to be a punk. I loved the music.
Then the family moved to Paris when I was 10. If you put a pin in the very center, that’s where we lived. It was a great place to grow up back then. In 1980, the family moved back to Holland Park, but I wanted to go back to Spain and be with my grandma, so I did for another year.”
Alice Temple was first female champion in the UK and European in BMX competitions
Besides her musical inclination, Temple became involved in BMX biking, an off-road sport using specialized bicycles for racing and stunts. She went on to become the first female champion in the UK and European in BMX competitions.
Temple said “When I went back to the UK — I got a BMX bike. I had previously been into skateboarding and then roller skating, so BMX was a natural progression for me. At first I was just riding around streets and parks with my mates doing tricks. Then one day we all decided to enter a local race. I won, and that was the start of me competing.”
Temple went from BMX riding to the world of high fashion. There, she became a super model in the 1980s, appearing on the cover of i-D magazine and photographed by the likes of Mario Testino, Nick Knight and Bruce Weber.
“I never wanted to be a model,” she said. “I moved to New York in 1985. At that time, stylist Joe McKenna was a great friend, and he ordered me to go into Click Models while I was there.”
Temple always loved music and writing music. ” Writing music was never a choice. I knew from day one that’s what I was solely interested in doing,” said Temple. “I found my parents record collection early on. It was eclectic, but very good. I was grateful to add artists like Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, Elton John, James Taylor, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Eric Sate to my collection. All I had was my Jungle Book album. Top of the Pops and radio DJ John Peel helped me discover the rest.”
Remembering Boy George and his influence on her, Temple said, ”George was a huge influence on my life, but not necessarily on my music. There’s no doubt that we both loved the same artists and were both heavily into dance music, but during the time that I was close with him I was still modeling and hadn’t yet settled down anywhere long enough to get my shit together. That came a bit later.”
She doesn’t think of her return to music as a comeback. ” I don’t really think of it as a comeback, as I was always busy working on something with other bands,” Temple said. “…or stuff that I never released. I had a few distractions along the way, but that’s all they were.”
Her brand new album is called The End. It signifies a new beginning. She said she named the album after her favorite song on the album.
“The End” is my favorite, but it also marks the end of a period of my life that I was eager to shut the door on. So yeah, I guess it also refers to a new beginning.”
Her connection to the audience comes from writing “from an honest personal perspective and I’m willing to expose my vulnerable side, there is an immediate connection on some level. I’m not bullshitting the audience, and feel it.”
She said she’s not sure what’s next for her. “Sometimes I think I’m going to make an instrumental ambient house record. Other times I dream about making a Cajun folk record. Then I think ‘No, Alice — stick to what you do best!’ I love all genres of music, so anything is possible. I really thank mix engineer and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Salem for helping me get this album across the finishing line — and sounding so good.”
Temple talked about her own #MeToo experience
“Personally I don’t get why it needs to be put into categories or separate industries. It’s an issue that is universal, and it’s been going on since man existed. There are fundamental differences between men and women that exist. Power is a big one.
Having had my own personal #MeToo experience and the consequences that come with it, it’s something I have thought about a lot. It is a fact that the strong prey on the weak. It’s a human thing, and I accept that. However, the damage that is then caused can be so devastating, and literally ruin entire lives. This I struggle to accept, and I am 100% behind the movement.”
Talking about LGBT youth growing up today, Temple said “it’s definitely not harder”, than when she was growing up.” Ultimately I think it depends on the individual. Some people are stronger than others. Some are more sensitive than others. Regardless of change there will always be people who fear what they don’t understand and therefore judge. There will always be homophobia, which in turn will always make it hard for some people to come out. I think visibility is so important. It can make all the difference between isolation and feeling safe.”
Her best advice for aspiring musicians is, “If they are anything like me they won’t listen to advice, lol. Just go with your gut. If you’re as obsessed with music as I am, very little should stop you from fulfilling your dreams and goals.”
A long way from the girl in Covent Gardens, Alice Temple has taken her dreams with her, and never has let go. Her new album The End is truly just the beginning!
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