You know when you come across one of those songs that makes you want to pick up a hair brush and start belting out the lyrics...all while imagining your singing on stage? Like total rock star moment?
Well that's 'Break Me' by Alexx Calise. It also reminds me of a certain somebody I may or may not have dated. But I digress.
I had a chance to hook up with Alexx in between some tour dates and we talked her about her music idols, days as an entertainment columnist and Chad Michael Murray.
You are obviously a rock chick at heart....growing up what music did you listen to (influences)?
Actually, I grew up listening to all kinds of music thanks to my mom and dad. Growing up, they'd play us a wide array of different music throughout the day on the stereo--everything from the Stones to Bela Fleck. As the years went on, I got more and more into music and took the initiative to educate myself even further about blues, jazz, rock and grunge.
As a kid, I'd say my biggest musical influences were silverchair, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Johnny Lang, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, and Marilyn Manson. I know it sounds like a weird mixture of genres, but then again, they say variety is the spice of life.
What is about writing/performing that turns you on and makes you so passionate about music?
Honestly, I don't know exactly what it is, but I definitely feel it every time I'm on stage and whenever I get into that "zone" when I'm writing a song. Those feelings are unlike anything I've ever experienced, and so incredibly special.
Music has always been a means of facilitating my writing, and I mean that in the best possible way. It gives me the chance to speak (I'm naturally very quiet and shy), because I don't always know what to say outside of a song.
You were featured in the book 'How To Succeed As A Female Guitarist' (Vivian Clement)...to the mom's out there who have daughters who have that dream of releasing their inner rock star...any words of advice for them about entering the world of music?
Firstly, I'd say that you absolutely NEED to be in it for the love of music. The way that the music world is portrayed on TV isn't at all what it's like in actuality. It's a long, hard road, the money isn't always there (just look at how much illegal downloading goes on for example--there aren't many ways of making money in music aside from that other than touring and licensing, which are equally hard to break into), and no one is going to care about your career as much as you do. It's a game of chance, so take the journey only if at the end of the day you're doing it purely for yourself.
Secondly, practice, practice, practice. If you want to have a long, sustainable career in music, you need to constantly and consistently hone your craft. You have to be ready for that call, be it an audition, or a last minute gig or appearance. Take pride in yourself and everything you do, and always be the best musician you can be.
Thirdly, develop a thick skin. This is a necessity. There is so much rejection in this business, so you need to get used to hearing "no". This is not a reflection of you as a person or you as an artist. You may just not be what someone is looking for at the time, or they may just not know what to do with you. You need to use that negativity or rejection as fuel. Write a song about it, practice extra hard, do whatever you have to do to not let it affect you or make you fall apart.
What female musicians do you look up to?
While my musician idols are primarily male, I am a big fan of Beth Hart. She's a supremely talented (though underrated) vocalist and multi-instrumentalist with an amazing, gritty voice and heart wrenching lyrics. I haven't seen anyone perform with that much passion and intensity in a very long time.
I also really love Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, and Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins.
Anyone out there you'd like to collaborate with?
I'd love to work with a pretty vast array of people. I'm a huge fan of silverchair, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Massive Attack, Chemical Brothers, Trent Reznor, Jack White, Justin Timberlake...the list is endless. There are so many talented people out there who I really admire and would be absolutely jazzed to work with for their originality, production skills, lyric writing...
Thankfully, I've had the privilege of working with 2 of my favorite musicians already, including Luigie Gonzalez and Dennis Morehouse, so I already feel pretty damn lucky.
Love the track 'Break Me'...the minute I heard it, I instantly thought of an ex-boyfriend from back in the day. What is the song about for you?
Well, you hit the nail on the head. "Break Me" is about a toxic relationship I had with someone a few years ago. However, it's a triumphant song that illustrates the importance of standing up for yourself and being a strong person in an otherwise unstable situation.
I'm not bitter though, despite what you may take away from the song. I write songs as a catharsis; I'm not harboring all kinds of bad energy toward anyone or anything. I just need to get it all down so I don't become a bitter, miserable person.
How into the social media are you in using it as a tool to promote your music (FB, Twitter, YouTube MySpace etc)?
I'm into Facebook because it's simple to use and more direct than some of the other social networking sites. I also like all the apps it has for bands, like Demand It and Reverb Nation. It helps you keep track of all your fans and shows. I'm a bit of an addict though, I'll admit. No matter how silly my posts may be, I always have to check up and see who responded to them. It's like a nervous tick.
You used to work as an entertainment columnist...and now the tables have turned and people are writing columns/blogs about you....does it still seem surreal at times that you are the subject being written about?
Yes, definitely. Alternatively, I now know how it feels to be ripped to shreds, haha! I did it to several poor artists myself when I was a columnist, so I guess you can say I got a taste of my own medicine.
For the most part though, all kidding aside, a lot of the writers who have done features on me in the past have been awesome, and have kept in touch throughout the years. I feel incredibly lucky and honored that people find me interesting enough to write about. Little do they know I'm a complete hermit and a huge dork, haha!
What's the weirdest rumour you've heard about yourself?
I wouldn't say it's weird necessarily, but everyone seems to think I was born in Florida. While I lived in Florida most of my life, I was actually born in Staten Island, NY. Just thought I'd clear that up for everybody. :)
You are ridiculously busy...the music aside you've also appeared in books, TV ads, documentaries, DVD series and your work with the charity P.A.C.E...well let's just say it leaves little time for just relaxing and doing nothing but let's say you did have a free 24 hours to yourself, what would be your ideal blissful day?
Well, I've come to realize over the years that completely relaxing is pretty much out of the question in that I'm always a ball of nerves and a complete workaholic, but ideally, sleeping in, writing some music, and catching a movie would be a pretty blissful day for me.
Your track 'Morning Pill' was featured in a One Tree Hill promo - so I have to ask would you rather...James Lafferty (Nathan Scott), Antwon Tanner (Skills), Lee Norris (Mouth McFadden) or Sophia Bush (Brooke Davis)?
Actually, none. Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) is the one that did it for me while he was on the show. Purely for superficial reasons though, haha. And yes, he is that good looking in person. I can attest to this as I jogged next to him one day at LA Fitness (he made me look like crap by the way--he ran about 5 miles more than I did without breaking a sweat). :)
Your top must have beauty products?
My MAC Studiofix Foundation, my MAC Pro Longwear lipstick in Lasting Lust, any old black eye pencil, and my Dermologica face mask. That sounds snooty, doesn't it? Haha!
When you hit the road for gigs...what three things can't you leave home without?
My computer, a good book, and my iPod. If you don't have at least one of those, then have fun counting cows and out of state license plates. :)
Favourite curse word?
Bad as it sounds (and for everyone out there, I don't condone these words), I'd have to say the "s" and "f" words because they are multifarious, and can be used as nouns, verbs or adjectives.
What's up next for you?
I'll be doing a re-release of my album, "In Avanti" (which will also include a new song and be made available at all major online retailers), I'll be doing some West Coast touring with my band, and I'll soon be attending the LA premier for the movie, "LA, I Hate You," which features my new song, "Release Me".
You can find out more about Alexx Calise by checking out her website.