Alex Winston is exactly the sort of performer us Brits embrace. While she could be ready to wrestle Lykke Li, Feist, Ellie Goulding or Laura Marling for the ‘quirky pop songstress’ crown, this Detroit girl is a pin-up star for the ‘Pitchfork’ crowd.
We’ve no qualms about calling the songs off her new mini-album Sister Wife ‘catchy’, but that doesn’t mean they’re sickly sweet.
They’re tunes that you will find yourself humming every time you get up to put the kettle on, but they have an incredible depth to each of them.
The namesake track reminds us of conversations with girlfriends over lovers we should just stop seeing: “Hey there sister wife / get the hell out it’s my night / you don’t know the way to his heart like I do.”
[ohdearism] Who are you sister wives?
[Alex Winston] Sara, Jaki and Janet. Three of the greatest birds on earth.
[OD] Who influences you?
[AW] Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Arcade Fire, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Feist, Betty Davis, The Stones, Iggy Pop, Motown as a whole, the circus…. I could go on.
[OD] Where do you buy your clothes? Who are your style icons?
[AW] I only shop when I’m back in Detroit and its usually at the Salvation Army store. I hate spending money on clothes. In terms of style icons, I like Bianca Jagger’s style.
[OD] We Brits adopt lots of US stars as our own. But is being big in your home country important to you?
[AW] As much as I’d be honoured to be one of the UK’s ugly stepchildren, it is important to me to at least be available in the US, however I don’t mind planting the seed here to start.
[OD] You’ve said you write late into the night. How do you spend your days/days off?
[AW] I watch Louis Theroux and eating Thai food.
[OD] You opened for Chuck Berry in St Louis. That’s incredible, was that a pinnacle moment for you?
[AW] Absolutely. He is one of my idols, so opening for him was a huge deal. It was the only time in my life that I was ever star-struck. I think he is such an an amazing performer. He was 82 at the time! A real inspiration.
[OD] What’s the worse question you’ve ever been asked in an interview?
[AW] Do you have a boyfriend?
[OD] Why did you choose the covers for your last EP?
[AW] Honestly, I’d be working on my own music and I’d hit a note, or play a chord progression that reminded me of The [Rolling] Stones or Mumford [And Sons] and I’d completely scrap what I was doing and start working on my own version of their songs. I guess I’m a bit…ADHD or something! It was just fun for me.
[OD] What else do you have lined up this year?
[AW] I’m working on completing my record which is due out in September. Other than that, lots of shows and travelling!
[OD] You’re from Detroit. Do you have a Detroit Rock City story? (Have you ever gone to great lengths to see/meet your idol?)
[Laughs] Yeah, Chuck Berry! It took months and months of begging and 10 hours of driving, but it was well worth it!
[OD] What does Motown (Detroit is the home of Motown) mean to you?
[AW] It means some of the best music ever written and a calibre of talent and musicianship that I feel has yet to be matched.
[OD] And finally, you were number 853 on the New band of the day list by The Guardian. The week before were The Midnight Beasts, who’ve just made a song for Marie Stopes about safe sex, with the line “up the bum won’t make you a mum”. (We just thought you might like to know!)
The Sister Wife EP is available to download now, with a physical release on 4 March. The Sister Wife single can be downloaded for free here.