Photo by Tammie Valer
Nashville singer-songwriter Alicia Blue has released her new EP Inner Child Work – Part 1 – an ode to healing and growth as she uses music to work through overdue emotional reckonings. Without external tools like a therapist to help make sense of her emotions, Blue turned to writing as a way to organize the internal chaos she was experiencing throughout her childhood. Inner Child Work – Part 1 stays true to its name, and explores what growing up in the suburbs of L.A. was like for Blue, where she often felt stuck and limited by the judgements of those around her.
The 5-track EP tackles anxiety, depression, and questions about existence through some of the hardest times of Blue’s life. The track’s single, “Saline Waters,” was written following the sudden, consecutive losses of three people close to Blue – her grandmother, uncle, and best friend within one year. Propelled into the “deepest inquiry of our human existence,” she turned to “Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell to help ground her. The song is a story of how humans are cyclical, and Blue listened to it on repeat for a year as she grappled with questions about life and death. “I was just utterly obsessed with it. It made me feel better every day to hear that,” said Blue.
Channeling this inspiration into her own music, Blue wrote “Saline Waters” following a trip to the Salton Sea, a Dead Sea out in the California desert, where she finally found a sense of solace after a tumultuous year. Writing the song helped Blue begin to process the grief she’d experienced. “Writing a song about what is, you know, seemingly unfathomable, like dying, nobody knows what that’s like, right? No one can come back and tell us what it felt like. It’s the ultimate change,” Blue said. “And so for me, at least, if I can write about it, it’s almost like a friend is in the room. Now the song is here. And then that can be a friend if someone else wants to pick it up. And that is the point of it all for me.”
“Listening to “Circle Game” for a year
The friendliest version of bad news you’ll hear
Bringing the lie into the light that says we’ll never die
Grateful is a feeling I never thought I would find”
Growing up, Blue felt outcasted for her creativity and misunderstood by those around her. Eventually, she had a realization that “being highly sensitive and emotional” was what was going to someday “take care” of her. By her teenage years, she knew that being an artist was how she was going to allow her creativity to flourish. At first, she turned to poetry, and had aspirations of being an English teacher or a famous poet, but her late mentor, soul singer Malcolm Clark Hayes, Jr, fostered her musical talents, and is the reason she ended up turning to music.
Blue attributes her songwriting success on this EP to her journey with starting therapy and “hitting the jackpot” with finding the perfect therapist for her needs. Therapy provided a safe space for Blue to lean on as she unpacked her childhood and worked through built-up, unresolved emotions. “I wouldn’t have this EP if I didn’t start doing this work,” Blue said.
Listen to Alicia Blue’s EP Inner Child Work – Part 1:
Listen to the full interview on Flashlight Podcast: