Hey, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
My name is alxxa, aka Alex Saad to my friends and family and such. I grew up in Wilmington Delaware, went to college in Baltimore at Loyola University Maryland, started my music career in Nashville for a couple years, and moved to Los Angeles in spring 2016. My music has evolved a lot: I started off making more acoustic style music in Nashville, and as I grew and matured as a writer/producer I naturally gravitated towards the more Pop/Electronic scene. I have been widely influenced by a lot of artists, genres, and experiences over the years, which is really reflective in the versatility of music I have coming out for 2018. I’m stoked to finally release all of it 🙂
I understand there was a slightly different path laid out for you in college, right?
I studied Physics at Loyola, which I planned to facilitate a career in medicine, following in my dad’s footsteps I guess (he’s a nephrologist). About halfway through I realized I actually wanted to pursue music. The Physics department was really cool about it and helped me develop a specific personalized major allowing me to concentrate in music instead of the normal routes like analytical, applied science, etc. I got to study the physics of music more in depth and take recording classes, which started my foundation in music production, which is pretty dope. Shoutout to the Loyola Maryland Physics Department, hopefully one day I can donate a new garden or something shiny.
How did you end up getting into music?
I have been taking piano lessons since I was 5 and singing for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first song when I was 12, it was called “Bad Day”. It was a rough day. I started performing locally around Wilmington at 16, and recorded my first EP as a high school graduation present from my parents. I really learned the ropes of writing during my time in Nashville and gained a lot of performance experience through my shows there and touring.
What influenced your sound in those early stages?
I used to struggle a lot more with balancing my influences, to my writing style, to what I truly “wanted” to sound like. I wanted to have music that my friends and family could connect to, but I was a bit all over the place with my soundscape and writing style, and didn’t have confidence with my production and ears. I trusted that other producers knew best and I should just let them do their thing. Because of that, I think I really struggled with my early music to find it a lane that made sense. More than ever I now have been trusting my own intuition and am very particular with how I want the final product to sound.
How did the new single come about?
I wrote and produced the “Body” demo on my own in my home studio. Though I LOVE and value cowriting and do it all the time, I still have a special place in my heart for writing alone. This one was a fun, simple, honest, sexy concept that wrote itself very quickly. As a single woman in LA, I get a lot of first hand experience/research in the modern day dating scene (hey we have to get our material from somewhere, right?). This song was emBODYing (punz) the idea of wanting someone to cut the bullshit, get down to the nitty gritty, put your damn hands on my body.
Did it evolve much in the studio from the original demo?
I have been collecting a lot of new samples and plugins from my producer friends, and I really went in on this demo in particular trying out new sounds and effects. I have found more than ever that the closer the demo can be to what you want the final product to sound like truly makes everyone’s job easier, and will more likely leave you satisfied at the end. I am even gravitating towards trying to cut the final vocals the day you write the song if you have the resources to do so. My main producer Gazzo in particular is so supportive of my production and opinion and teaches me a lot. This demo I believe was one of the first ones where Gazzo kept a lot of my original sounds of my demo “skeleton”, and then added all the meat to give it the BODY it has now (the puns just keep on coming).
Do you tend towards production or songwriting when fleshing out a tune?
It really depends, and I love both sides. I was invited to a writer’s retreat recently where for the first time I functioned more as a producer than a songwriter. It was both exciting and flattering, and gave me some validation for my production ear. There is a definite shortage of female producers in this industry, and I like to think that I can help fill that void. That being said, sometimes I love to just focus on the songwriting portion and let a song be stripped down. A great song ideally should be able to exist on any medium, and shouldn’t need massive production to carry it through. So, to answer your question more clearly, “yes”.
Is Body part of a bigger project, an EP or album?
“Body” is the lead single off an EP dropping late March, which also includes my first single this year “Icy Love”. It features production from Gabe Sackier and Mike Gazzo, and was all written/cowritten by yours truly. The EP focuses on moving on from a breakup and embracing the sexy side of myself. We took a lot of risks with production and style which I am really excited to share.
What do alxxa fans have to look forward to in the next few months?
There’re truly something for everyone in my upcoming releases. We have the sexy vibes coming out right now, more pop oriented singles for the spring, and some really raw personal songs dropping in the summer. Story wise, I’ll be taking my listeners back in time a bit throughout the year, eventually getting to some very real emotional content that I dealt with in the last year and am finally getting to a place where I feel good about sharing it. Needless to say, prepare your earholes