CAMD Student Spotlight: Alice Clair
Year: 3rd year
Major: Music & Biology
Hometown: Nelson County, VA
For Alice, life is music. Alice is a Miller Arts Scholar at UVA and values music as a way of connecting people to their community. “I don’t know how else to feel” she says, “I only know that music is all I want to do.”
How did you get started with art?
“I began as a poet when I was very young. When I was 9, I began taking guitar lessons with a good friend. After overcoming the fear of my voice and the difficulties of learning an instrument, the combination of music and poetry opened a new door in my life. I was performing as a singer-songwriter by the age of 14, and began reaching into Charlottesville as an artist when I was 16. I worked at Blue Star Music in Lovingston from 8th to 12th grade, and I joined The BLNDRS when I was 17.”
“Since then, I have continued both projects. I began volunteering as a sound engineer at WTJU the summer of 2016. I declared my major in music the day before I turned 19 and joined WXTJ as a DJ the very next semester.”
Current involvement in the Arts:
“I am currently the general body director for WXTJ and in the final throes of organizing the second annual Femme Funk, a female musician showcase for UVA and Charlottesville. I am finishing my first full length album, and continue to gig in four different regards.”
“Between radio, gigging, organizing, and promoting, I stay involved and stay busy. I am drawn to all these things because connecting people with their community is terribly important to me, and music is the most effective avenue for me.”
Who inspires you?
“I am often and randomly inspired, but several people and places remain constant. For one, Devon Sproule inspires me. As a poet, she blows me away. As a musician, she blows me away. As a person, she is truly inspiring. She is a teacher, a mother, an international artist, and a hustler.”
Are there certain themes in your art or statements you're trying to make?
“I am trying to stop the pipelines… I was blessed to grow up in Nelson County, surrounded by the most beautiful land in the world. Many people would destroy it without a second thought…Terrifying, if you have the heart to look the situation in the eye.”
“My art comes naturally to express myself, and this is what I have to say. Fight for this earth because, in the end, money will not sustain us.”
How do you balance school and art?
“Barely. I suppose I have reached a point where the line between school and my art becomes blurry. I have tried to integrate the important parts of my life together and, as a Miller Arts Scholar and music major, I have mostly succeeded.”
“Even my biological research has to do with songbirds. I strategically don’t have late classes on Thursday or Friday so that I can have band practices and be at gigs on time. In the end, school is supplemental. My music life is real.”
What else are you involved in at UVA?
WXTJ & WTJU
Phi Sigma Pi
UVA Bluegrass Band
- The Declaration
Advice to other aspiring artists:
“If you have anything in common with me when it comes to history, wants, and goals, it will take years. It will still take me years. Do what you need to do in the meantime to keep yourself on track. Pick up the guitar at the end of the day. Reach out to your community. Go to other peoples’ shows.”
“The most important thing to remember is that you will never be what you want to be if you do not help yourself – oftentimes this means asking others for help. I would be nothing without the people who support me.”
Plans for the future:
“I would like to eventually own my own company that helps promote artists by managing their media, booking shows, and undertaking general promotion”
“Whatever I’m doing, I hope I am both playing and supporting local music.”
“Should I just say that my middle name is Arizona?”
Interested in Alice’s story? Check out her work: