Alexandria- Music is my way of expressing myself

Alexandria. A simple name to say and remember. But the musician behind the name is far from simple.

Beginnings as a musician

Music at school became a great outlet for Alexandria to play. All the guitarists would bring their instruments and begin playing. “Our teacher would be sitting there talking to us and he’d look at us and just say ‘stop playing’. We would stop but ten seconds later someone would be strumming again. “

Professionally, Alexandria’s career started once she graduated from school in 2015. The first gig she ever did was at the local Narrabri movie theatre. “They have this associate group called ‘Friends of the Crossing Theatre’. It’s a miniature version of the Cannes Film Festival. I did some entertainment there with my music.”

Aside from that, Alexandria admits that she never played many gigs there, mostly because they have to know who you are. “It’s a bit more scaled down there. I went around to all the pubs but only got one gig at the Tattersalls Hotel on New Years Eve. There were 9 people throughout the course of the evening.”

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Moving to Newcastle

Alexandria made a big move to Newcastle early last year, alongside her twin sister. The music scene is much bigger in Newcastle and has allowed Alexandria to perform at different Open Mic nights such as Peppertown Jam and The Old Vic Open Mic. A lot of pubs will only go through agents, an unfortunate predicament for independent artists. But when it comes to open mic nights, Alexandria loves them because it means that she can play her own songs and get her music out there.

Of course, like many other musician’s experience, when it comes to pub gigs you are expected to sing both covers and originals. “It’s generally 2 covers to one original. But I play what I like to play and not what is necessarily popular.” When it comes to cover gigs, a majority of pubs want someone who is going to bring people in and bring the pub great profit for the evening. “I don’t think that playing songs that everyone knows makes a difference. You can play stuff that everyone knows but if you can’t play it well, then that won’t be good. But if you’re good at what you do and can keep people interested, that’s the main thing.”

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Writing Songs

Songwriting is something that Alexandria is passionate about and is very good at. When it comes to expressing emotions and feelings, she nails it. “I’ll generally write the lyrics first then put music to it,” Alexandria says. The thing with music and chords is that it has the power to change the feel and style of the song instantly. “I can write a bunch of lyrics that are really sad, but once I add the guitar in, it sounds totally different. I might add some really dark minor chords to a happy song or some happy major chords to a sad song. It’s just the way it goes with creating music.”

What Alexandria creates is a sound that is raw, honest, emotional and captivating. This is a terrific quality in songwriter because it effects the emotions of the listener, putting them into the song. “I really enjoy playing around with weird chords to create different sounds. Rarely will I use full, proper chords in my songs because a majority of my songs aren’t happy.” Alexandria has been busy this year, having written 12 new songs.

Inspiration largely stems from life experiences and emotions, which is why her songs are so relatable. For Alexandria, more often than not, her emotions write the song for her. More recently, as Alexandria has been coming to grips with anxiety, her songs have gone down a darker path. Her latest track The Darkest Valentine shows just how the mind can be sometimes when it comes to emotion. “I wrote this song at midnight when I couldn’t sleep. I was feeling alone and had these thoughts running through my mind. There’s a lot you can’t say to those close to you which is where music, and this song, come in”.

Since moving to Newcastle, Alexandria feels that she has a more mature outlook on life and has used this to her advantage. “My song writing reflects this outlook because it’s a lot more meaningful now.”

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When it comes to anxiety, quite often people can be closed minded and there’s a stigma that comes with it. For Alexandria, sometimes her anxiety can affect her as a musician. Of course there’s the positive way when it comes to songwriting but it can also mean that at times performing and socialising can be a real effort. “I’m an introvert so I can get anxious in crowds. You make yourself feel alone because you feel so far removed which is so isolating at times.”

She tries to see the positive in things and come to terms with her anxiety, but it does sometimes creep into her performances. “I’ve slowly come to terms with having the attention on me when I perform. Sometimes my hands shake and I feel uncomfortable, but I always get through it.”

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As far as influences go for Alexandria, the list couldn’t be more eclectic. “Lyrically, one of my biggest influences are Deaf Havana, a British alternative rock band. There’s an American electro pop-rock band PVRIS that have this cool fusion that I really like.” She also lists Missy Higgins, Montaigne and Mary Webb. More recently, she has also developed a love for The Beatles. “My friend plays in a tribute band and I go along to the gigs. I think their songs are great. I really love them”.

Alexandria continues to experiment with the guitar and her music style, moving from contemporary folk to alternative rock. She doesn’t use a pick because she loves to feel what her fingers are doing on the strings of the guitar, creating interesting and cool sounds along the way. Considering she is an introvert, she’s handling this music thing pretty well. “I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have music to express myself but it’s definitely an interesting career choice!”

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