Indie-alternative singer-songwriter LEXX is coming out of the gate hot with her first ever single “Runway.” I got the chance to talk with her about whether LEXX is actually her real name, what pushed her to pursue music professionally, how many times she changed the lyrics and melodies to her single and so much more! Keep reading to see what she had to say.
First off, is LEXX a stage name or your real name?
That’s my stage name. My real name is Alexis, but I’ve always been called Lexi. I was originally Lex Cox and I really liked it and it kept some of the integrity of my name and I didn’t want to do something super crazy and out there. But, when I signed with Kore PR, they were like, “That’s too much of a tongue twister. Let’s just make it LEXX.”
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
I first started singing and writing music when I was 16, just out of nowhere. I got into musical theatre and choir at my school. And then in college, I was undecided and didn’t know what to do, but I kept writing all of these songs. Every week, I would have a new song that I had written. And I was like, “You know what? I think I’m going to audition for the songwriting program and try to do that because that’s all I really want to do and it comes to me pretty naturally.” So I did and I don’t know, the rest is history, I guess. I got my degree in music and then moved to Nashville.
Was there a specific moment or person who made you realize music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
I don’t think so. I can’t think of a specific person or moment. The Nashville thing kind of happened because I got really lucky and did my internship at Nashville Crosspoint Church because Liberty makes you do your internship at a church. At first, I was like “This isn’t going to be a good fit for me. I want to be in the music industry.” And it ended up being a really great experience. I loved my internship and I think that’s what got me going in that direction. Otherwise, I don’t know if I would have gone into the music industry if I hadn’t done my internship in Nashville.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music. So how would you describe your sound without using genre names? What kind of music do you produce?[laughs] Hm. I would say it’s indie-alternative, but that’s definitely a genre name. I say the word ethereal a lot. I want it to have an ethereal, dream-like vibe. My biggest inspiration as an artist is Lana Del Ray and so I kind of go for that sound a lot. Just very ethereal and not really part of this world, something that takes you to out of this world.
Going off of that, you mentioned Lana Del Ray inspiring your music. Who are some of your other musical influences?
I love Amy Winehouse. I love a lot of 90s alternative grunge music and Led Zeppelin, The Beatles. Eddie Vedder is someone I really admire. I really admire people with really good artistry. They don’t just write amazing songs, they have all three: they’re amazing vocalists, amazing songwriting, and their stage presence is crazy. And all of those people [have it]. Well, Lana’s stage presence isn’t that great, but we can forgive her for that because she’s so great at everything else [laughs].
Let’s talk about your first single, “Runaway”. What’s the story behind the song?
I wrote that at a time when I was very miserable and stressed out and wanted to escape my life for a bit. I couldn’t handle the stresses and anxieties I had. So I literally left and ran away to a different town for a while and didn’t really tell people where I was going. I was just like, “I’m going to take this little trip just because I need to do it for my mental health.” It was a really, really amazing trip and I just felt so much freedom and liberation in doing that. I just remember being really, really happy at that time and being like, “I never want to forget this feeling. I never want to forget this moment. I’m going to write a song about it someday.” I didn’t write a song about it then on that trip, but I remember taking a mental note of that moment and being like “I’m going to come back to this.” And that’s kind of where the song “Runaway” came from.
Was this trip during college or before?
This trip was after college.
I always love hearing about the songwriting process so I was wondering if you could give me a glimpse into that for you. Are you someone who always has to write by yourself or do you like collaborating with others? And specifically for “Runaway,” how did that work for you?
I wrote that completely by myself and that’s how I write most of my music. I’m horrible at co-writes. I feel like I can’t get into the right mental state if someone else is there sitting next to me. It’s really difficult for me to be as creative as I would be by myself. So “Runaway,” I wrote by myself and it just kind of depends. People are always like, “Do you write lyrics first? Do you write chords first?” And it’s always just like a mixture of lyrics, melody, chords. I try to write them off each other. I like the lyrics, the melodies or the chords to inspire the lyrics, so I try to write it all together at one time.
Did this song flow out pretty naturally or did it take you a couple of days or even a couple of weeks to write?
It took me a couple of days. And then I’m someone who cannot leave a song alone so I’ll go back and tweak and re-write all the time. Literally, in the studio, as we’re recording, I’m like, “I’m going to change the lyrics again. I’m going to change this part.” And people are telling me, “Stop changing the lyrics. Stop changing the melodies. You just need to leave it alone.” I normally will have the bones of it written pretty quickly, but I just can’t stop changing it until it’s recorded and then I have to.
I was going to ask if there were any major changes made to the song once you got into the recording studio, whether it be the lyrics or something sonically? Or was it just little minor things because you’re a perfectionist and you want it to be the best that it can?
No, I kept changing everything [laughs]. It was so bad. I changed the lyrics. I would keep coming up with new melodies and be like, “I think this melody is better here. I think I’m going to change the chords here.” And my producer was like, “No. Just stick with the original.” I started questioning everything I had once I knew it was going to be permanent. So yeah, I did change quite a bit of it once I got into the studio.
So what was the recording process like for this song then? Did it take a while or–
Yeah. It took months, way longer than I thought. It wasn’t really the recording — that you can knock out pretty quickly. It was mostly the production because this was my first song that I’ve ever released. I kept going back and being like, “I don’t like it. We need to change this and this.” I don’t know. It was a way longer process than I anticipated.
Was that your first time in a studio ever or did you have some experience with that in college?
I had that experience in college. There were classes we took where we would be in studios. And I had friends in college who would record stuff sometimes, but that was at a lot lower level. Working with these producers is definitely a lot higher quality than what I had done in the past.
What’s the response been like so far?
It’s been really good. It’s been a lot better than I thought. I honestly was like “This is such a weird, different song and I don’t know how people are going to respond.” I know a lot of people’s musical tastes are different than mine, so I wasn’t really expecting it, especially from an older crowd. But I’ve been really blown away and happy with all of the positivity I’ve gotten back from it.
Is this just the first in a set of singles to come? Or are you working on an EP or LP? What’s next in terms of what you want to release?
I think it’s going to depend on timing, if I’m able to get things out in a reasonable time frame. But I’d like to just continue to release singles and then have an EP or a full-length album. I have 10 songs that I really want to get recorded and be on an album together because I feel like they go well together. But with how long everything is taking, I don’t know if that’s going to happen.
I know you’re still relatively new to the music game. What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks you aim to reach in the next couple of years?
One is definitely… I’ve always wanted to go on tour. So I’m hoping at some point to travel the country and sing for people. And then, I don’t know. To get paid to song write in some capacity would be amazing. [laughs] I know everyone in Nashville is like, “I want to get a publishing deal,” but it’s just so competitive. But I would like to get enough recognition that that is a real possibility. To get a publishing deal and get paid to write songs all day, that would be the dream.
Are you more into the idea of being a songwriter or a performer? Perhaps both?
I want to do both right now. I do really love performing and the artist side of it. But I think my passion is more with songwriting. I think my personality is more of a songwriter’s personality as opposed to an artist’s, just because I’m not super outgoing, and I’m a really bad actress, and I feel like sometimes artists have to act a lot.
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner-nerd. What is something you nerd out about?
Oh man. I don’t know. I would say music mostly. There’s definitely TV shows that I’ll get obsessed with and watch over and over. Like The Office is one. And I’m really weird about board games. That’s pretty nerdy.
What’s your favorite board game?[laughs] I really like this game called Munchkin, which is really fun. And I just started playing this game called One Night. They’re not really board games, but card games.