Just been taking a look at an interview we did with Alexx Calise a while back, if you haven’t discovered this awesome musician/ singer yet, you need to catch up!
I’ve just been looking at your website and reading about all the stuff you do besides your music career – appearing in TV adverts, Discovery Channel documentaries, books and much more – and wow you do lots of stuff, how do you find time, besides careful time management, for all that as well as playing gigs, recording albums and the such like?
Well, I definitely don’t do much sleeping, that’s for sure! A lot of it is careful time management, like you said, and prioritization. There are many luxuries that I’m not exactly indulging in right now—like a social life for example, haha! Sometimes I wish I had more free time, but if I were actually given that time, I really wouldn’t know what to do with it. I’d probably just end up scheduling a performance or a radio interview or something to that effect. I actually just did both of those things on my “vacation” to Florida recently, haha.
You began your strive for a music career in 1999 and released your first album ‘Morning Pill’ in 2007. Were there any points between those times when you thought about giving up or was there a major driving force pushing you along the way to a ‘critically-acclaimed debut album’?
The major driving force has always been my unrelenting (to the point of insanity) desire to succeed, so therefore, there’s never really been a time when I’ve seriously contemplated giving up. Sure, there have been lulls in my career, and I’ve been down about this or that, but I find that negativity takes up too much of my time and energy. For every moment I’m depressed, it’s another moment I could have spent furthering my career. Why would I want to get in the way of that?
You were nominated for three Effigy Awards – Best Overall Artist, Best Solo Artist and Best Song Writing. Your work had not only been received well by the press but by people in the music industry, which for any artist is a big thing. How does this make you feel?
To be recognized by people of the press or fellow music industry professionals is truly an amazing feeling. They’re essentially the decision makers and gatekeepers, so if you’re in their good graces, it certainly can’t hurt you.
Do you think your uses of music as an outlet is part of what makes your music so listenable – that it’s more than just words mashed together with some fancy guitar playing?
I’d like to think so. Music is the essence of my being—especially my own. I think you can feel that when you listen to my material…especially when you see me perform it live. While you may not be a fan of the genre of music I do, I think you can still appreciate the passion I have for what I do, and, moreover, what I have to say. I always write from the heart. I never write for the sake of writing.
“I entered every talent competition I could find, and hopped up on every stage I could” is a quotation from an interview with Music’s Rising Stars Magazine. Performing, well, singing has always been a part of your life and is becoming increasingly important as your life progresses. What do you think you would do if you’d never been to your family church and had the experience of choral singing?
I think I would have figured out that music was my calling one way or another. While singing in church was a great release, it wasn’t what inspired me to be a musician per se. It’s always just burned inside me since I can remember.
I really can’t picture myself doing anything else. I don’t think I’d be nearly as happy. However, because I’m the person I am, I do believe that I would be successful in anything I chose to do. I have an entrepreneurial spirit, and more motivation than most people I’ve ever met who are my age.
Did you find it an easy transition going from choral singing to rock / pop? What were the main steps of the transition?
Well, rock music was always my first love. My mom and dad would always blast The Stones and The Beatles when I was growing up, and I really just latched on to it.
Choral music really just helped with my harmonization skills, and it gave me a chance to sing, which is what I always loved to do. I also happen to think that choral music is some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard in my life.
You spent a lot of time refining your skills which is something that has worked out really well for you. What was the most important thing you learnt in that time?
I’d like to think that I’ve learned patience (or how to be more patient, that is). For so long, I was fixated on “making it” and I absolutely had to “make it now”, but it doesn’t always work out that way for everyone.
It’s taken me years and years to get where I am. I’m actually quite glad it turned out that way because I’ve grown exponentially as an artist and a person. Had I reached the level of success I hoped to reach at a younger age, I don’t think I would have appreciated it nearly as much, or known what to do with it. All the years I spent practicing, honing my skills, and pounding the pavement were definitely not in vain. I was just priming myself for “battle,” so to speak.
Do you find it strange that whilst you may be a well known artist in one country you may be relatively unheard of in another?
While it is strange, it’s not uncommon. There are many hugely successful artists in other countries (or even regions within your own country) you may never have heard of. I suppose certain areas of the world have greater appreciations for certain styles of music, and/or there’s just more of a demand for it.
Either way, it’s a cool feeling knowing that people are enjoying your music in general. I’d say just play up whichever market seems to enjoy your material most, and then you’ve got your work cut out for you.
You say that you ‘never feel entirely satisfied’. Do you think that’s a good thing and contributes to the success of your music – that you’re always wanting more and striving for the best?
I think that for the most part, it’s a good thing. If I were completely and utterly happy, then I wouldn’t be nearly as motivated to better myself as a human being or as a performer. On the other hand, I don’t know when to quit. Because I always have my career in mind, I don’t know how to relax or stop and smell the roses sometimes.
I’m constantly pushing myself because I know that I’m capable of great things. There’s only so much time I have on this Earth to achieve everything I hope to achieve, so the last thing on my mind is settling down or allowing myself to become complacent.
What are your future plans and projects?
I’ll be releasing my second album in the next 2 or 3 weeks, and then I plan to do some touring. I’m also hard at work with my other music project, Sound of Cancer (with my songwriting partner, Dennis Morehouse). We’ll be releasing our debut album in the upcoming months.
As far as the future is concerned, I see nothing but blue skies. I have a feeling that this year is going to be my year, so let’s all cross our fingers!