Twenty-year-old South London newcomer Arlissa has secured a place on the BBC’s prestigious Sound of 2013 longlist – also featuring the likes of Haim, AlunaGeorge, Laura Mvula and Palma Violets. Commenting on Arlissa’s selection, the BBC writes: “she’s already piqued attentions with a great collaboration, but it’s what Arlissa does next that’ll really resonate.” Arlissa’s debut single – ‘Sticks & Stones’ – is expected for release early next year, whilst her one-off collaboration with Nas – ‘Hard To Love Somebody’ – is out now.
Arlissa is half American, half German, but was raised largely in Crystal Palace. A year ago she’d moved out of the family home and watched her friends go off to university, whilst she stayed put; working in a shop to fund studio time, intent on making music her life. Her gamble paid off the moment Nas rang. Nas was such a fan of the ‘Hard To Love Somebody’ demo – which he was passed via a publisher - that he asked to record an alternate rap version of it, and flew Arlissa out to L.A, wishing to do so in person. This was Nas’ second ever collaboration with a UK artist (the first being Amy Winehouse), and transformed Arlissa’s fortunes virtually overnight. Having worked on it for two years, Arlissa’s solo material is stronger still, drawing unusual inspiration from the likes of Peter Gabriel, Crystal Fighters (with whom she’s recording for their album) and Regina Spektor.