She has a natural talent for winning, whether it’s on Canadian TV or in the centre of the circle in La Voix (the Québec franchise of The Voice TV singing competition). It’s as if doors open themselves before her like dominoes. Talented and ambitious, the singer-songwriter knows how to get the most out of the web to achieve her full potential. She shines like it’s always been her destiny to do so.
Alicia Moffet is one in a million, the authentic face of her generation. Except that, contrary to Britney Spears, or even Gabrielle Destroismaisons, the 21-year-old musician was picked and made a star by her peers. Numbers don’t lie: 390,000 followers on Instagram, 217,000 on her YouTube channel, and 5,500 tickets sold for her virtual record launch, at the peak of the current pandemic. There are very few Québécois vocalists who can boast such numbers online without any help from industry bigwigs.
Despite being courted by almost every record label, she decided to fly solo, and free of any producer. Today, she owes nothing to anyone. She, to quote Céline Dion, is the boss. She couldn’t be happier about that decision, especially now, at a time where there’s a wave of accusations of sexual abuse and harassment shaking up the Québec music scene. Such necessary denunciations tarnish the image of some music companies to their very core, and Moffet is glad she didn’t sign anything with anyone.
“I look at what’s going on and I’m even happier that I’m on my own with my small team,” she says. “It would be a nightmare for me to depend on someone who’s taking advantage of me. I have no idea how I would manage, to be honest.
“There’s no shortage of offers [from record labels], but I’m just not interested right now, because I’m waiting for one that’s in synch with my goals… It also affords me full creative freedom. I’ve done contests and all that, and my image was controlled, and I hated that. It’s partly for that reason that I chose to remain independent.”
And beyond her gumption remains a fundamental truth: Alicia Moffet knows how to sing, so much so that it feels like a truism to write it. Apparently unaware of who he was dealing with, despite her having won The Next Star two years before in Toronto, Pierre Lapointe said he was frankly impressed by her blind audition for La Voix in 2015. Back then, while she was still in her teens, Alicia had made Etta James’s “At Last “her own. That song is a hard one to sing for any singer.
“If you’re like that at 16 and you go through an experience such as La Voix, established singers are going to have serious competition in a few years,” Pierre Lapointe told her. You might as well say that Le Monarque des Indes coach on the TV competition, and creator of Deux par deux rassemblés, had used a crystal ball. Five years later, his opinion has been proven right.
“I was anxious to show people what I was working on, to show them that I work incredibly hard and that I can give them quality,” says Moffet. “I wanted people to remember that I’m a singer, first. Sure, I’m on social media, and I’m a mom, but I was anxious for people to remember me as more than a YouTuber.”
And one thing that people always notice about her – and comment on, with strings of pretty emojis – is the difference between her speaking voice and her singing voice. There’s also a whole universe of difference between Alicia’s vlogs or interviews, where she comes across as very self-confident but never arrogant, and the vulnerability she displays when singing her own lyrics. Her songs about failed romances seem light years away from the pictures and messages she posts on her Instagram account, mostly of the seemingly perfect family of herself, her partner (and biggest fan) Alex Mentink, and their baby girl. As so many of her peers, the singer-songwriter believes that the most beautiful songs are born in sadness.
“Honestly, you can’t believe everything you see on social media,” says Moffet. “I still have struggles, even though I’m aware my followers see and think everything is fine. I do believe that you can’t enjoy your happiness without a little pain. Life is full of ups and downs. I have sad moments every week, I’m often disappointed, and that’s fine, because I find inspiration in that. I have problems and concerns like everyone.”
With the help of co-writers from all walks of life – from Jonathan Roy to Camille and Laurence of Milk & Bone – the globally aspiring musician created her first album, Billie Ave, dedicated to her daughter. Bynon, aka Richard Beynon, penned the arrangements and instrumentation with her. “I must call him twice a day just to tell him how I love him and how amazingly well we work together!” says Moffet. “Olivier Primeau introduced us at a time where I was all about the Beach Club, in 2018,” she remembers, laughing. “He’s good friends with Sean Paul and he became my music dad.”
With R&B accents, so rare in La Belle Province since the heyday of Corneille, Moffet’s songs don’t necessarily fit with the local radio formats. “I’m always thrilled to hear my song “On Your Mind” on [Montréal radio station] CKOI, it’s like a dream come true,” she says. “That said, I’ll never write a song just so it can play on the radio, or become a hit. It comes from the heart, and I’m not very business-minded… I don’t have a Québécois sound, and I get that a lot. I don’t think it’s a good or a bad thing. My influences are all from Anglo pop. I love Christina Aguilera, for example. It’s not even by choice, it’s just what I like and listen to. So when I started creating music, I was influenced by that.”
Although she has a full plate with her new role as a mom, and renovations to her home this summer, Moffet hopes to come out of self-isolation with a new EP of original material. That way, she can go back onstage with a bigger repertoire of songs. “I’d love to open for an international artist on tour,” she says. “I don’t know who or when, but that’s the plan.”
As the saying goes, dreams don’t work unless you do. Evidently, that won’t be a problem for Alicia Moffet.