Alexx Calise – Driven By Life [Contrast Control Exclusive]
Florida born Alexx Calise has been a writer since a young age and has contributed to that skill set through a newspaper. Eventually this lead to her love of music and using that skill to perfect her sound and bring powerful songs to the world.
Gaining the most attention from “Cry”, a song written on a bad day in her life has been covered by people all over YouTube and has been featured on Lifetime’s hit show “Dance Moms”. This song launched Alexx into the spotlight and has helped boost her career as an artist. It has also opened the door for her to become an actress. So far she has credit in Guitar Center commercials and VH1.
As the future gets brighter and brighter for Alexx Calise in acting, she is still 100 percent dedicated to her music. Alexx recently took time out of her recording schedule to speak with me about her start as a musician and where she plans to be in the near future. Below is a transcript of our discussion together.
James West: How does the music/acting career of Alexx Calise begin?
Alexx Calise: Well, first and foremost I’ve always been a writer. That’s always been my passion and greatest strength. I just didn’t realize I’d end up a songwriter specifically. I thought I’d maybe become a journalist, and I even worked for many years as an entertainment columnist for a major Tribune newspaper.
My love for writing though eventually fused with my love for music (I was raised in a very musical household), and the rest is history. I started writing songs when I was about 13 or 14, and I just played anywhere I could from then on. I was glued to my guitar and would play for hours and hours in my room.
Acting, on the other hand is a fairly new endeavor for me, and I’ve only been doing it for the past few years or so. I’m just having fun with it. I think because I go in with that attitude when I audition, I end up booking some pretty cool stuff, like commercials for Guitar Center, Nissan, VH1, Disney. I don’t feel pressure; I just go in there expecting nothing aside from auditioning experience, and every now and then I’m pleasantly surprised.
James: What was the first song you wrote?
Alexx: I think the first complete song I wrote was one called “Love/Hate”. It was more than likely about a bad relationship I was in at the time. I always seemed to find my way into those; it was a gift! Haha!
[From obvious curiosity I had to ask about the song that launched her career. Thankfully she is such a fun person she gave me and ultimately you, the reader, insight as well into this blockbuster heartfelt ballad.]
James: Can you tell me more about your song “Cry”?
Alexx: “Cry” was a song I wrote in about 30 minutes or so at my old apartment. I was just in a funk that day for whatever reason, and the song kind of wrote itself. I never expected “Cry” to be the song that would launch my career. It was the sole ballad on an otherwise entirely electronic rock record, so I was quite surprised to say the least when it hit.
When the song first debuted in 2011 on Lifetime’s “Dance Moms”, that was it. It really started to grow legs and even ended up charting on the iTunes rock chart. Kids started making cover and tribute videos on Youtube, my download sales jumped way up, and people were writing to me every day saying how much the song inspired them. I realized then that I needed to make a music video to accompany the song, and I wanted Maddie, the little girl who danced to “Cry” on the show to dance to it in the video. I cold called the dance teacher on the show, and the next thing I knew, I was flying Maddie and her choreographer out to LA to film it. Since then, the video now has well over 1.6 million views.
I feel pretty lucky and grateful, and am so honored that all of these people enjoy it and relate so much to it.
[For your listening pleasure here is the video to her hit song “Cry”]
James: What are some current projects you’re working on?
Alexx: Right now, I’m working on 3 sets of music with 3 different producers: Warren Huart (The Fray, Aerosmith, James Blunt), Luigie Gonzalez (Madonna, Shakira, The Killers), and Wes Michener (Stone Temple Pilots, Marilyn Manson, Motorhead). I’m not sure the order in which I’ll be releasing all of the material just yet, but one thing is for sure; I’ll be debuting a ton of material in 2015! I’ve been writing and recording for nearly 2 years straight and have a huge catalog of songs in the vault. The Warren and Wes stuff is more of the alt rock variety, and the stuff with Luigie is more of the rock/EDM variety.
James: If you had a message with your music what would it be?
Alexx: My music and lyrics are dictated by my life experience. If people can take those experiences and relate to them, and maybe take something positive from them, then I think I’ve done my job as an artist. While I don’t always write with a certain message in mind (I tend to write more about the self), I’d say that most all of my songs do encourage the listener to look more inward, accept responsibility for their actions, and be a stronger person.
James: Do you plan to tour in support of your music, if so where can we find you on the road?
Alexx: Yes, I plan to travel all over the map when I finish my record(s). Tour stops are still being determined at this time, but I do know I’ll be doing more touring than I ever have before, which excites me. I’m a bit of a gypsy and love being out on the road.
James: Thanks for talking with me Alexx, do you have anything you want to add. Shout-outs? Message to fans?
Alexx: Yes! Love all you guys, and I can’t wait to show you my new material! Please keep up with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and my official website, alexxcalise.net for all the latest. Rock on!
This is the first of many amazing interviews done officially for Contrast Control! I would like to thank Alexx Calise for breaking the ice on this website and giving all her fans a great message and in the future, more amazing music to stomp our feet to!
For more on Alexx Calise please visit: http://www.alexxcalise.net/
Written and Conducted by James West 12-23-2014