NEW YORK CITY – Like a fair number of other students, Alicia Lemke started her college career moving in one direction, then ended up on an entirely different path midway through.
“I got a degree in something very different, but I figured out at the end of my college career what I wanted to do,” the Wisconsin native said. Her original ambition was to get a degree in biology.
“I was really interested in biological conservation,” she said – at first. But she was also taking theater courses, and performing before an audience started to change Lemke’s outlook.
“What took priority over everything was when I went to rehearsal,” she said. “While I was still an undergrad, I auditioned at the Berkeley College of Music and got in on a scholarship.”
What had really changed for her, Lemke said, was the discovery that she loved writing and performing songs – and had a talent for it. Since then, she’s been building up a reputation before audiences in her new home in New York City, and on Aug. 14, she released her new single, “Higher.”
“It’s going really well,” she said, in an interview with Freeline Media. “I’m getting a really positive response to it. It’s fresh and really intimate at the same time.”
That could be why, Lemke said, she’s been able to connect with audiences in the Big Apple.
“I would say that number one, first and foremost, I believe in the words I’m singing, so there’s a level of raw honesty in my music,” Lemke said. “That as a baseline connects with people. I’m also the last person in the world to have stage fright. I’m so at ease on stage. I’m existing in the moment.”
As Lemke continues to promote both her singles and her stage shows, she hopes to eventually put together a band and tour across the nation – including here in Central Florida.
“I performed in the Miami Music Festival last year, which was great,” she said. “I did a solo acoustic show there. My music now requires a band because it is thick and dense. I’d love to tour in Florida with a live band.”
Lemke was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. The city is well known for its colleges, including being home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Edgewood College, Madison Area Technical College, and Madison Media Institute. The city’s post-secondary student population is 50,000.
“There’s always things going on there,” Lemke said. “It’s a beautiful place to grow up.”
In this strong cultural environment, she developed an interest in music at an early age.
“I played saxophone for years, and I was always interested in Jazz music and Big Band music,” Lemke said. “But I didn’t start to get into music until college.”
What really changed her attitude was a Dave Matthews concert she went to, where Lemke said she first experienced how powerfully an artist could reach an audience.
“It was amazing,” she said. “He has this ability to absolutely connect with an audience. This is the power that music can yield to unite. People were just united in front of the stage, and that was what really influenced me.”
Since starting her career as a live performer and recording artist, Lemke said she’s discovered two perfect ways to find her audience. One is through the Internet.
“In terms of being an artist, presenting yourself to an audience on a broad base, the Internet is incredibly powerful,” she said. “I use Facebook to advertise my shows and my singles like ‘Higher.’ You need to have the kind of online presence that is strong and clear. People have a short attention span. But you have no idea how many people from all around the world contact me every day – ‘Thank you for your songs and your voice.’ I’ve decided to release my music single by single, so each song is an individual entity.‘’
She also happily lives in one of the world’s great cities for performers.
“I live in New York City now, so I am mainly playing out of New York,” she said. “You have to consider the type of music you play, and you have to go after what your demographic is. You just have to be really tenacious.”
To learn more, log on to http://www.facebook.com/alicialemkemusic.
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