With the release of her first two singles “Touch” and “Almost Here,” which both amassed over 900,000 streams on Spotify, the Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Annika Schmarsel, quickly exploded into the national scene with her solo recording project Alice Ivy. Adding to a growing profile, Schmarsel played Australia’s festival circuit, including sets at Strawberry Fields, Paradise, Queenscliff, Listen Out and NYE on The Hill, BIGSOUND and went on two national, headlining tours before a series of dates in Singapore and the States.
Slated for a February 9, 2018 release through Last Gang Records, Schmarsel’s forthcoming, full-length debut I’m Dreaming was written, recorded and self-produced in her home studio and features the up-and-coming Australian producer and pop artist collaborating with the likes of Georgia Van Etten, Cazeaux O.S.L.O. and Tim De Cotta, RaRa, E˄ST and Charlie Threads and ARIA Award-winning singer/songwriter Bertie Blackman, among others. Interestingly, I’m Dreaming‘s latest single “Chasing Stars,” a collaboration featuring Bertie Blackman can trace its origins to when Schmarsel met Blackman while they were both opening for Urthboy, and they quickly bonded over a mutual appreciation of each other’s work. As the story goes, Schmarsel reached out to Blackman with a slickly produced instrumental track that featured shimmering and soaring synths, trippy blasts of horns and thumping beats that that reminded (and gave) Blackman the sensation of flying. And although Schmarsel typically takes the reins of the entire creative process, she let her collaborator take the lead lyrically; in fact, Blackman’s tender and aching vocals add a yearning quality to the endeavor, with the ARIA Award-winning artist’s lyrics reaching for something that’s just beyond her grasp.
“’Chasing Stars’ is one of my favorite moments on the album,” Schmarsel explains in press notes. “Being given the opportunity to work with Bertie was a dream come true for me. The dynamics of the instrumentation are the perfect fit to the strong and sometimes fragile moments of Bertie’s vocals on the song, which are so rich with emotion and meaning. Bertie and I started writing it over email, however the finished song came together in a couple of hours in the Joyride’s studio above a pub in suburban Sydney. The vocal tracking only took three hours; however, the instrumentation is what took the longest. I’ve hung onto this song in demo form for about a year and a half now. Lyrically, ‘Chasing Stars’ is about Lincoln Beachey, the first man to do a loop to loop in an airplane. The music has many layers which depict the endless landscape of the sky.”