Why You Should be Listening to Alexander 23
Chicago native Alexander 23 is on the cusp of becoming a star within the music industry for his minimalistic yet intricate approach to indie-pop that's giving us sad-boy realness.
From his heart, throbbing falsettos that flow within intimate guitar strings to touring the world with Alec Benjamin and Omar Apollo - Alexander 23 is now creating his own path to the ever-growing music world that's keeping us sane throughout the strange times we are witnessing.
Following on from a press conference courtesy of °1824 (Universal Music Group), Alexander delved us into the world of his journey as a musician, his musical style and everything to do with his latest EP 'Oh No, Not Again!'
Whilst he wasn't the biggest fan of playing the guitar at the age of eight, Alexander grew around writing music and became a perfectionist with the instrument. "I started playing the guitar when I was eight. I hated it, quit, then picked it up again a year later when I had a teacher who kind of got what I was trying to do. I was a bit lucky to realise early on that 'I want to be really good at guitar and shred like Eddie Van Halen’, but what I really want is to write songs. So once I realised that it was kind of like ‘game over’ and I started writing songs from twelve years old," he said.
As he continued to craft his wonder, the singer-songwriter was lucky to have supportive parents in which he added: "I was just really, lucky to have an amazing support network; my parents were super supportive of music. I would play three-hour bar gigs by myself when I was seventeen and, they would have to accompany me to them because I wasn’t twenty-one yet. They were just so supportive and never made it feel like it was impossible. I guess I just hit the ‘parent lottery’ in a sense, but at the same time, they never had to tell me to practise - I was just so obsessed with it that it was inevitable that it was going to take this shape and form in some way at some point."
Making music at a young age, Alexander took his teenage years refining his craft and saw him transition from adolescent bands to pursuing a solo career. Speaking about the transition, he said: "When I dropped out of college, I was playing in a band, and it kind, of felt like ‘college for music’. I learnt a lot about the industry and what I wanted to sound like. It was a safe space for me to find myself and my own voice, both song-writing and production-wise. I’d say the biggest difference is that when you’re a solo artist, the highs are higher and, the lows are lower. When you’re in a band, it’s a little bit more comfortable because you have that kind of diffusion of responsibility. The accomplishment of doing something yourself is just so fulfilling for me. But similarly, when things aren’t going so well, or I don’t achieve something that I was looking to achieve, there’s no one to blame; I know that it’s fully on me. It’s different; I don’t know if it’s better or worse."
With his EP 'Oh No, Not Again!' now out in which he describes as "sad but hopeful', Alexander admitted that finishing his project was much harder than expected. "To be honest with you, it was difficult to write, especially at the beginning. It's ironic because usually, I write by myself in my house. That’s how I’ve written most of my songs, but for some reason, once that was the only way I could do it, it got immensely harder. Just losing the autonomy to do it a different way just made it a lot harder," he said.
Onward with his hit singles, 'IDK You Yet' and 'Cry Over Boys', Alexander opened a door of vulnerability within the EP that created a tender soundscape throughout the production of up-tempo drumbeats and an intimate infusion of indie-pop. Speaking about the process of putting 'Oh No, Not Again!' together, he said: "For me, what was exciting about this EP was that it was almost like an accident. I didn’t set out to write an EP at the very beginning, and then it became increasingly clear over the writing process over the last year since ‘IDK You Yet’ that these songs belong together in a way."
He added: "Then it became a fun challenge of ‘how do I tie this all together?’ and communicate the theme that I’m trying to communicate. It’s called ‘Oh No, Not Again!’, and for me, it just kind of chronicles the life-span of a relationship from yearning for someone, to finding someone, to there being some turmoil, too maybe it not working out, to trying to recover, and then finally moving on. It’s a pattern that I’ve seen in my own life; getting into a cycle of having that happen over and over again and making the same mistakes and not learning from it. ‘Oh No, Not Again!’ felt like a light-hearted way of saying, ‘why the fuck am I like this?'"
Over the course of his music career, Alexander has had a series of ups but has come out on top as he continues to wow critics across the board. As he puts his feet up and turns away, he said: "As Kacey Musgraves would, 'follow your arrow'."