RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LA ARTISTS Alexia Rev & Samara Lennoxx
What made you both decide to start your music careers?
Samara: It’s honestly always been a part of the plan. It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was little. There have been many times when I tried to do other things and I would just always get pulled back to music. In 2012 my cousin passed away from lymphoma. He had always been one of my biggest inspirations, he was a piano prodigy and produced musicals in New York. When he passed it reminded me how short life is. He had always been an example of following your dreams no matter what and fighting to live an extraordinary life not just an ordinary one. I decided I didn’t want to waste anymore time doubting myself and wanted to pursue my dreams no matter what. That’s when I started taking my music career seriously.
Alexia: I always was surrounded by music growing up because I was a dancer and almost everyone in my family plays an instrument. I began songwriting as a teenager, and I remember feeling like a lightbulb had gone off. I felt so expressive, and I could not believe how I was able to let out my emotions and thoughts into song. So, throughout college, I was still writing, but it was not until the pandemic that I was able to really hone in on my craft. I began writing much more, and I decided to release my first song during the pandemic. I was also working with producers in LA and they were all telling me that I was talented and LA was the place to make it. Although, it certainly not the only place to pursue a career, looking back, the moment my music career started was the moment I took the move because that geographical change represented a shift in my mindset as well. And now, I cannot imagine doing anything else.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
Samara: My music is very based around mental health. I strongly believe we have to feel the depth of our emotions in order to process them and I try to create that with my music. Whether it’s a song about feeling freedom within your own body or healing from a trauma, I tend to go to extremes within my music in order to help me process what I’m feeling. My goal with my music is for others to feel less alone within their own experiences.
Alexia: I think my genre fluidity makes me stand out. I once got told that I sound like Billie singing a Dua Lipa song, and I thought that was funny. I like combining aspects of all different genres and creating something that is unique to my story and voice. My lyrics are very intimate in the sense that you can truly heart the chatter in my head without trying to be over complicated.
What’s your view on UK music?
Samara: Honestly, some of my favorite artists and biggest inspirations are from the UK. Jorja Smith, Daughter, Amy Winehouse, David Bowie, The Clash, Stormzy and so many more artists. They’ve all been huge inspirations for me. I grew up listening to UK music and it holds a very special place in my heart.
Alexia: I think the UK music scene is phenomenal. I kid you not, my top three favorite artists and inspirations are from the UK: Rex Orange County, Kate Bush, and the great Freddie Mercury. Now, that I am thinking, I may exclusively listen to UK artists, I forgot: David Bowie, Beatles, and of course Harry Styles. Should I move???
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
Samara: I had my first headlining show in 2020 right before Covid. It was such an incredible experience. It was almost sold out and it was the first time I played a lot of the songs from my upcoming album which releases in October. There was a moment where one of the fans jumped up on stage and gave me a hug and it was such a special moment that I’ll never forget.
Alexia: The most fun I had was definitely when I performed for Breaking Sound at this venue called: Adults Only in LA. It was my second performance in LA, and I was beginning to feel comfortable in my presence on stage. I felt free and it solidified my decision of pursuing being an artist and not just a songwriter.
What was the worst experience you’ve had on stage?
Samara: I honestly haven’t had any bad stage experiences. I will say there have been shows that were less fun than others or maybe there weren’t that many people there, but I believe everything is a learning and growth opportunity and every show has just made me stronger and given me more experience which I’m incredibly grateful for.
Alexia: My most recent performance, I was getting over a bad cold, and I kept cracking on stage. I am extremely hard on my vocals and critique every sort of pitch issues I have on stage while I am performing, and this is something that I am actively working on getting over. Once the second pitch issue happened, I got in my head, so it was hard to let go and stay present.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
Samara: My favorite song to play live is actually the outro from my upcoming album. The song is called “In the Evening” . The song reminds me of the ending scene of a movie where someone is running after the person they love trying to get to them in time to tell them they love them. Except instead of me telling someone else I love them, it’s about me realizing how much I love myself and love sitting in the quiet and stillness of my own company. The song has long held out runs and beautiful synths, when I sing it I feel transported; almost like I’m floating and for a moment it feels like I’m living within pure peace and joy.
Alexia: I love performing ‘ LA LONELY’ because it is such an intimate experience. I feel the purest as an artist when I perform this song because it is only me and guitar. I wrote this song when I first moved to LA and felt like an outsider, so being able to perform this song on stage a year later, its a “look at me now” moment.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
Samara: When people first meet me I think I give off very happy positive energy, which I love because I generally am a very positive person and that definitely is what I want to put out in the world. However, I also really struggle with depression, anxiety and OCD. I think it’s really important to talk about this and share the side of you that people may not see on the outside. Mental health has always been something that is very stigmatized and it’s only been in recent years conversations around mental health have started to become socially accepted. I’m very passionate about destigmatizing these conversations and creating safe spaces for people to share their experiences.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
Samara: The hate crimes happening against the LGBTQ+ community, the laws being put in place against us, and the commodification of pride. Saying it’s frustrating would be an understatement. It feels like a very scary time to be a queer non-binary person of color and although I am so proud of who I am and of my community, sometimes it’s hard to not feel hopeless.
If you had to describe your music to an alien how would you describe it?
Alexia: An angel meets a dancer, and they decide to throw a party. It might make you cry or make you cry and dance but it will always make you feel.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
Alexia: I am releasing an EP in December, as well as many singles prior to the release. I plan on really solidifying my visuals and I am heading to a much more intimate and raw place in my music. You will hear a new side of me as an artist that is more authentic to my voice and soul.
Hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?
Both: ‘Body’, produced by Samara Lennoxx and Jaymes Crux, written by Lennoxx and Alexia Rev; is about escaping the need for external validation and feeling a sense of freedom in choosing yourself. The song paints a picture of going out and catching a vibe with a stranger. It plays with the idea of wanting a connection only for a night, while being in a time in your life where your main focus is yourself.
What was the recording process like?
Both: Lennoxx being based in Seattle and I(Alexia Rev) being based in LA made it so we had to create the entire record over FaceTime. I (Alexia Rev) flew out to meet Lennoxx in Seattle to record the song with P.Kruise at Silk Sounds Studios. The process was super fun, and it was the first time we had met in person, so it was super special.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
Both: I think the biggest thing was we had to adjust the timeline a bit. We wrote this song very quickly, but I don’t think people realize what goes into creating a finished song. We had to make sure the mix was in the right place, we were going back and forth on what production elements we wanted to add. I(Alexia Rev) actually wanted to add all of these elements but we ended up going to the original version because it was ultimately a better sound. Since it is a co release, we also have to adjust to fit each others individual releases, so it took longer but I am sooo excited it is finally here!!!!
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Samara: In a tangible sense I do a lot of other art forms I am really excited to start sharing with the world. I’m currently in the process of starting a clothing brand with my girlfriend, I paint, do graphic design and love planning events. In a more theoretical sense, I am incredibly passionate about sharing my experiences and traumas with the world, having hard conversations with strangers about difficult topics and ideas. My hope with all of this is to make people feel less alone and more connected with one another, especially within the queer community.