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Alice Merton reflects on “No Roots”: “That came from a really dark place”

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Ever since releasing her debut breakout single “No Roots,” Alice Merton has written a lot of very sad lyrics accompanied by very happy-sounding music. Even still, the true nature of “No Roots” continues to elude listeners over five years since it first dropped.

“Everyone’s always like, ‘Ah, it’s so much fun! This is a great, like, upbeat [song]!'” Merton tells ABC Audio of “No Roots.” “I was, like, ‘That came from a really dark place.’ I felt like I had no home, I couldn’t really figure out where I belonged in the world.”

Giving “No Roots” that bright sonic flavor was Merton’s way of putting a “fun twist” on some difficult emotions.

“As soon as you add this fun bassline…it just becomes fun, you know?” she says. “Instead of dwelling on these sad things, I just wanted to give it a fun spin.”

Merton originally wrote “No Roots” about having to constantly move homes throughout her life. Given the travel restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, one might assume that Merton took the opportunity to stay put for a bit. That, of course, is why you should never assume.

“To be honest, as soon as the pandemic got a little bit easier and there was a gap in between…that’s when I decided to move again,” Merton laughs.

Merton moved to London to be closer to her parents in the U.K., and while she doesn’t feel any more “rooted,” she has a new outlook on the idea.

“I also realized my home is not in certain places,” she says. “It’s everywhere.”

You can hear more of Merton’s sad-happy songs when she opens for Bastille‘s U.S. tour kicking off this Saturday, and on her upcoming sophomore album, S.I.D.E.S., due out June 17.

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