Myriam Alter's studies in classical music started at age eight. After graduating high school and successfully pursuing a psychology degree from the University of Brussels, she drifted away from the regular practicing of her instrument, and instead chose to work at an advertising agency for seven years. After that, without really being aware of it, she went back to music by opening a dancing school that she managed for another seven years. This was when she really felt the need to start studying the piano again. Her innate attraction to improvised music brought her very naturally to jazz. She started to study on her own and then later with two Americans, the saxophonist John Ruocco and pianist Denis Luxion. Finally it was Dutch bass player Hein van de Geyn, who had been following her career closely, who became the producer of her first three records.
Playing mainly jazz standards, Myriam Alter first formed a quartet, then a quintet together with Belgian musicians. After working with this formation for some time, she started to write her own music. When she started to feel comfortable with her music and began to achieve recognition through it, she decided to record a first album with saxophonist Ben Sluys, trumpeter Gino Lattuca, bassist Michel Benita, and drummer Jan de Haes, while she herself played piano. This successful album was followed by another, with the same musicians except Stefan Lievestro playing bass instead of Michel Benita. This second album was also well-received, with the press especially emphasizing Myriam's gift for composition.
The idea of making an international album was established, and so Alter Ego was recorded in New York in 1997 with saxophonist and clarinetist Billy Drewes, trumpeter Ron Miles, pianist Kenny Werner, bassist Marc Johnson, and drummer Joey Baron. While Myriam left the piano seat to Kenny Werner, the quintet played exclusively Myriam Alter compositions. Then came the time to write music that would really express her background and identity. The resulting album was her Enja Records debut, If.