Skip main navigation

The Alchemy of Sound and Voice

What is Alchemy?
Man in a demin outfit, swaying a microphone

What is Alchemy?

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the noun “ALCHEMY” as: “a form of speculative thought that, among other aims, tried to transform base metals such as lead or copper into silver or gold and to discover a way of extending life.”

Here is the Art Comes First interpretation:

Moving the whole “speculative thought” judgment aside, we see alchemy as a metaphor for cooperation between and among different people through design, photography, performance, any form of self-expression concerned with transforming the base routine of living into the more sublime experience of Life. The Art Comes First ethos proposes that this blend of ingredients can become the center of a meta-art form to provide protection, nurture, and galvanization for each participant’s potential. The famous Brazilian writer-artist-musician Paulo Coelho fictionalized this principle in his publishing sensation The Alchemist: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” The universe is us.

What elements, practices, ideas, and/or people make the ingredients for your alchemic potion?

Why Sound Matters? One of the most “alchemic” contemporary creative practices is music. The UK National Health Organization estimates that a fetus begins to hear sounds fifteen weeks into a pregnancy. It is one of the earliest senses that humans develop. We can tell a lot about another person and their state of mind by the sound of their voice. Music stays with us for years creating a soundtrack to our life that we replay in our heads in good times and bad times. Check out the BBC study on why music evokes memories below. What song or sound would remind others of you and your brand?

Art Comes First has prioritized collaborations with musicians as well as music events as part of the effort to create a soundscape affiliated with the brand in the ears, memories, and hearts of our clients and followers. Here is a shortlist of people we have styled and/or worked on sound with:

Ask them to pick up to 10 and ideally provide some images…

  • Wu-Tang Clan

  • Raphaël Saadiq

  • Mos Def

  • Andersson Paak

  • Andre 3000

  • TY


-Miles Kane

-G eazy






-Walshy Fire

-Dead Prez

-Pauline Black

-Big Youth

-Yaard Core

-BJ Chicago Kid


If you were to collaborate with a music artist on the development and/or promotion of your product and service who would it be and why? Have you already asked them?!

The following videos bring you on a journey of alchemy with ACF, through the lenses of the “Electric Church” and “El Charro Negro” collections.

READ: “Powerful Life Lessons from the Alchemist” Paulo Coelho Blog. December 15, 2015 “Why does music evoke memories?” Tiffany Jenkins. BBC. October 21, 2014


This article is from the free online

Art Comes First: Exploring the Intersection of Style and Identity

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education