On Mint, global citizen Alice Merton unpacks her nomadic lifestyle | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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On Mint, global citizen Alice Merton unpacks her nomadic lifestyle


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Europe was way ahead of the United States with Alice Merton: Her 2016 single “No Roots” made it to number two on the German charts in 2017 and charted all over the continent—including in France, Italy, Belgium, and Poland—before finally hitting the American market hard last year. If you’ve heard the song’s opening riff and percussive chorus, you know why the Germans call it an Ohrwurm: “I’ve got no roots / But my home was never on the ground.” Merton says she wrote “No Roots” while visiting her parents in England and realizing she didn’t feel at home anywhere. Born in Germany, Merton moved with her family a dozen times while growing up—including to the U.S., Canada, and England—thanks to her Irish-born father’s occupation (and her parents’ wanderlust). Along the way she began playing piano and guitar, took singing lessons, and learned songwriting, earning a degree from the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg, a German public music conservatory. Though Merton’s guitar-driven (and often autobiographical) songs and soaring vocals have garnered her comparisons to artists such as Florence & the Machine, record labels didn’t seem to know how to peg her music—so Merton and her manager founded their own outfit, Paper Plane, and issued “No Roots” as a single. She included the song on a five-track EP in 2017 (after signing with Mom + Pop Music) as well as on her first full-length album, Mint, which came out in January 2019. This year Merton, who’s still just 25, has watched her songs climb the Billboard charts while she’s toured Europe and the U.S., including a recent stop at Coachella. Living out of suitcases comes naturally to a woman who now splits her time between Germany and England—a good thing for her, because it looks like she’s got a lot of road left.   v

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