Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Umbrella (Cover), releasing September 15, 2017
Hung Up (Single), released June 9, 2017
Influences: Banks, Selena Gomez, Sylvan Esso, Florence and The Machine, Flume, Radiohead
TrunkSpace: How would you describe your music?
alxxa: Electro-Pop with an edge.
TrunkSpace: Your new track is a cover of Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” How did you approach the song in the studio in order to bring your own alxxa spin to what is already a very well-known song?
alxxa: “Umbrella” is an all-time favorite for both me and my producer Gazzo – we really started working on it by accident. I brought him a piano-vocal I did at home and then he wanted to flip it into something totally different. It’s a strong song that can stand up to anything, but we wanted to bring out some sass and spunk to such a heartfelt track.
TrunkSpace: Are there a different set of nerves/expectations when releasing a cover of a famous song as opposed to releasing a wholly original track? What do you hope people take from your particular take?
alxxa: For sure. This is my first time releasing a cover, but I’m proud of how we were able to express the song in our own way. It’s also the 10 year anniversary of “Umbrella,” so I hope people can reminisce on a great song in a new, fun way. I think Rihanna will be happy.
TrunkSpace: Where are you most at home as an artist? Is it in the studio? On the stage? Somewhere else entirely?
alxxa: I love both equally. There is nothing more fulfilling than bringing a song to life in the studio and there is no better high than performing on stage for a dope audience!
TrunkSpace: Where did your musical journey begin? Was it always a part of who you were, even as a kid, or did creating in a musical capacity come about later in life?
alxxa: Music has always been a big part of my life. I’ve been playing piano since age five and started writing my own music at age 12. I continued to play and write music throughout high school and college before pursuing my career upon graduation.
TrunkSpace: What do you hope people take from your music? What do you want listeners to experience?
alxxa: First and foremost, I hope that listeners can relate to the story. I write based off my own experiences, so my songs hold a personal place in my heart. I think many people share my experiences, so if the music can help them move forward or reminisce or have a good cry, that’s pretty dope. But I also want to make people dance. So, a combo of that.
TrunkSpace: You seem to have a very strong sense of your own personal brand. In your opinion, how important is that side of things for a career in music these days, particularly in pop?
alxxa: Branding is huge. The market is so saturated with artists… and so many of them are talented and beautiful people. You need a good sense of who you are and what your strengths are to allow yourself to stand out. Having pink hair helps too…
TrunkSpace: Speaking of visuals… why is your Instagram page so cool!?!? Amazing use of images to create larger images within the page itself! Where did that concept originate?
alxxa: Thank you! This has been an exciting project for me. Before, social media felt more like a burden to me. I never felt creatively inspired or motivated to post pictures that didn’t align with my music or how I was feeling. I understand the importance of social media, so I knew something needed to change to give me an edge. I’ve always drawn as a hobby and the first drawing happened just as a fun promotion for my last single, “Hung Up.” After posting it, I asked my manager what we should post next, and he said, “Dude, we should post these forever.”
I really have to credit him for giving me the encouragement to stay with it. It’s become a new creative outlet for me and I’m excited to watch the visual story progress.
TrunkSpace: Did we see correctly via your Instagram that your signature pink hair recently went through a transformation? What prompted a color change?
alxxa: Pink hair is still pink as ever! Sometimes I have fun with the shades, so it may be time for my winter pink soon. (Laughter)
TrunkSpace: People are wired for growing as individuals and transforming themselves, but it seems particularly hard for musicians to do so. In a lot of ways, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t because people will say you’re staying too close to what you know or veering too far away and alienating fans. How do you navigate that need to maintain who you are as an artist (and in a lot of ways, a brand), but at the same time, change as you and your interests do?
alxxa: It’s all about consistency. I’ve been fortunate to work with so many talented writers and producers – it’s all been part of my journey. I now have a group of writers and producers that I love working with and so we’re able to make amazing art. I still have so much room to grow and my circle is constantly expanding, but keeping your homies close is important!
TrunkSpace: You’re based in Los Angeles, which is a city where it’s easy to lose focus because there’s always so much going on, especially from a social standpoint. Is it easy for you to keep your eye on the prize and focus and does having so many other creative people around you inspire you to create more than you would elsewhere?
alxxa: I actually find it easier to focus here, like you said, because of the amazing creative energy. The people I surround myself with are driven, talented, and creative individuals. Seeing people make amazing art pushes me to work my hardest.
TrunkSpace: Outside of the music and the performing, what is the best part of your job as a musician? What little details or perks put a big smile on your face?
alxxa: I love the flexibility of it. I can work anytime, anywhere, no matter what. I respect the 9-5 hustle, but I know it’s not for me. It makes me happy that a Saturday for me is no different from a Tuesday. (Laughter)
TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from alxxa for the rest of 2017 and beyond?
alxxa: We have SO many new releases coming your way, starting with “Umbrella!” Singles, EPs, collabs, seasonal… you name it. Prepare your earholes.
Check out alxxa’s Instagram art here.