Thursday, July 14th, 2022
Premiere: Alicia Blue Shares New Track “DTMTS (Don’t Tell Me To Smile)”
New EP, Inner Child Work Due Out July 15 via Magnetic Moon
Jul 14, 2022
By Caleb Campbell
Photography by Tammie Valer
This week, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Alicia Blue is set to return with her new EP, Inner Child Work. Arriving two years after her 2020 debut album, Bravebird, the record sees Blue exploring inward and examining her own path through grief and healing after she moved to Nashville from her native city of Los Angeles. Ahead of the EP’s full release, Blue has shared one last taste of the record with her new track, “DTMS (Don’t Tell Me To Smile),” premiering with Under the Radar.
With “DTMTS” Blue diverts from her folk roots, instead crafting her take on shimmering indie rock. Blue’s layered vocal harmonies and plaintive melodies steadily build into an emotive ballad, bolstered by iridescent guitar textures and cathartic lyrical confessions. Meanwhile, the track’s lyrics explore the frustration of being told to smile by a loved one and the invalidation that comes with constantly having to present a pleasant facade一“So don’t tell me to smile / I’m not your puppet hanging on your silly string / I’m a real thing, if you want to be with me / Know that sometimes the sun isn’t going to shine”
Blue says of the track, “‘DTMTS (Don’t Tell Me To Smile)’ was written in about 30 minutes with Bre Kennedy. I don’t think I’ve ever had a song reveal itself so quickly. I needed the lyrics to mirror both the outside and inside worlds of my experience. I found a pattern in both. For one, I’d been hearing ‘You should smile more’ from men in public for years. And, of course, every woman hates that, knows that, and lives that. But, when it’s in your own home, when your lover or parent or anyone that’s your #1 is saying it, it’s brutal.
It’s never said directly, but it’s implied. How do we handle this? How do we create awareness around this? Especially when the world is afraid to sit with something imperfect, less than happy, and then label it negative. I think I was just trying to create space around being an honest human, so that one day my kids can live in a world that doesn’t gaslight us for being fully alive. And no, I don’t have kids, so it could be anyone’s kids I’m speaking for.”
Check out the song below. Inner Child Work is due out July 15th via Magnetic Moon.