Throughout the last fifteen years, the signature voice of Beth Hirsch has both inspired and graced many music landscapes. Beginning with her appearance on Air’s 1998 ‘Moon Safari’ album, the American singer-songwriter has since collaborated with some of music’s finest beats and grooves merchants including D*Note, Custom Blue, Jakatta, and most one of the best electronic acts emerging from Ireland, Solar Bears. She also forms half of the electronic trip hop duo, AlfaBeth, alongside with composer/producer and dj Mr. Alfa.
TTN: Hello Beth, tell us about your newest release, “AlfaBeth: Let Him Go & Go To God.”
BETH: Basically, it is about letting people off the hook to be for us what “we need them to be” and satisfy our deeper needs/yearnings through a great source or power. For me, that is God or The Universe, but it doesn’t have to be – the song isn’t preaching. This was a realization that pulled me through a very hard time and helped me see relationships more clearly and what makes them healthy and thriving.
Listen to and purchase Beth’s “Let Him Go and Go To God“
TTN: Can you give us some background on how you and Mr. Alfa started working together?
BETH: The romantic version is we met in a cafe in Paris one spring day – this is our press story But he actually contacted me on FB and sent me a track and we have slowly built a working partnership and friendship.
TTN: What have you and Mr. Alfa taught each other through your working relationship?
BETH: What a great question! Alfa has taught me the value of staying relaxed throughout the process of making a song, playing live, and not taking things too seriously. The importance of having FUN and enjoying the moment as an artist and a person.
I asked him this question and here is his response:
“I learned from (Beth) to take care of every tiny element of a whole track especially in its relationship to the vocal line. The vocals are always the boss.”
TTN: Can you tell us a bit about your musical background?
BETH: My background was in theatre and I graduated from Boston University with a BFA in acting. It wasn’t until I moved to Paris in the early 90′s as an au pair that I eventually made the transition into music. It happened one night singing with a couple of friends to a Chris Isaak songbook. They asked me if I was a singer (which I wasn’t and had had no prior training).Each time we got together at parties, I would sing. Then my friend Scott started announcing me as “La Chanteuse”(The Singer) and I started meeting all sorts of people which eventually led to new offers and opportunities as a singer.
TTN: When did you know that you wanted to pursue music as a career?
BETH: As I started to get offered projects, I realized that I could potentially turn music into a career. My direction was based upon music and artists that inspired me and who I loved listening to. I felt very free and like anything was possible. I also saw that as an Anglophone (English-speaking) singer in Paris (we were very few at the time), there was definitely a place for me in that niche.
TTN: What are your favorite songs you’ve recorded, and why?
BETH: My favorite recording experience was for my first solo record, “Early Days.” I was thrilled with the collection of songs, their variety, the stories behind them and the team I was working with: Paul Simm, Phil Hudson, and former manager, Francois Millet. I was living in the UK at the time and it was a great experience, artistically and interpersonally. I have also just recorded some new tracks with the California band Karmacoda and I am super proud of the work we have done. They are amazing!
TTN: Where did you get the inspiration for some of the songs you’ve written?
BETH: In the beginning, it was definitely my childhood. Music was like a therapeutic process, and the communication of my stories, my hopes, my pains, my loves, wonderful times, and victorious moments were the catalyst of almost everything I wrote; sometimes I was inspired by sheer observations or invented stories. Later, I realized that music is to share, to give; I kept in mind more of what I thought would be most beneficial to the public, and also what could be considered more commercial. These days, I let the influences pull and speak to me as they do. I don’t assess the value; I just try to make the song sound as good as possible to my ears. I know it is coming from a greater source than me and the result is not for me to judge but simply to do my best and let it go. With that said, I do like to focus on love, empowerment, tenderness, beauty – the things I like to experience the most and the things I think the world could use more of…
TTN: What do you think makes your songs different from the many singers and songwriters out there?
BETH: It is simply because we are all different and everyone’s voice is different and valid. I would characterize my songs as having a lot of warmth, hope, quiet strength, and tenderness in them with also a more “greater picture” kind of feel. Since beauty is so important to me in general, I would dare to say that the songs I have worked on with various artists/producers/teams have their own unique beauty and signature.
TTN: Where do you hope to go in terms of the next steps in your music career?
BETH: I hope to continue to make songs that touch people for the better, whether it be my own songs or in collaboration, adding beauty and artistic value to the world, and to release my next solo album in 2014.
TTN: What advice do you have for other aspiring young artists?
BETH: To not take the business personally and to not let what anyone else says or does get in the way of your dream and want you want to express to the world. Also, to build a strong and direct relationship with your fans through social media and playing live. What matters most is the connection between the artist and the fans. The rest is secondary…
Interview by Caroline Meisner for The Talent Notes