interview: kate alexa
First breaking into the music scene at the tender age of 16 with her single ‘Always There’ in 2004, followed by top 30 success ‘My Day Will Come’ and ARIA top 10 single, ‘All I Hear’, in 2006, it’s been a while since Kate Alexa has graced the music scene with her pop presence.
Recently announced as Martika’s support for her Australian tour, following the release of Kate Alexa’s second LP Infatuation, things are really heating up for the Melbourne singer/songwriter.
Her title track ‘Infatuation’ has peaked at #14 on the UK Dance Club Charts, while her current single ‘I’m Falling’ exhibits all the characteristics of a successful dance floor anthem.
‘[The album] is edgier pop, whereas, the old album was more bubblegum, young teen pop,’ remarks Kate Alexa, who couldn’t be happier with her sophomore album. ‘At the time of my first album (Broken & Beautiful) I loved that, and now, I love this new one.’
It’s a dour afternoon, but Alexa looks immaculately bright in her mustard yellow dress, her platinum locks piled stylishly upon her head.
‘I suppose one good [thing] though, doing all that [recording] stuff when I was young[er] is that I was going through those changes where you grow up [afterwards],’ adds Alexa. ‘So there was lots of write about.’
So much to write in fact, that many of the album’s songs are based on Alexa’s life.
Title-track ‘Infatuation’ explores the obsessiveness of being infatuated based on passing comments made by girlfriends, and her soprano voices the frustrations of being infatuated (‘why won’t you surrender baby/tell why won’t you give in’).
Fun, introspective song ‘Katie’ examines the concept of perfection and how it differs from person to person, while ‘Addict’ captures how emotionally exhausting love can be with its insatiable desires (“I met you baby now/I’m psychologically wrecked”).
In fact the trials, frustrations and victories of love are imbued throughout the album, but Kate Alexa assures Lip that was not the case. Like debut Broken & Beautiful, Alexa clarifies that Infatuation is merely a paraphrased anthology of pivotal moments of her life.
‘Basically every track is written on an experience or a certain time or moment, so it’s all pretty honest really.’
And it’s this frankness that differs Kate Alexa from the seeming artificiality of other pop musicians. Her honest lyrics are heartfelt, while songs like ‘Katie’ exhibit saccharine melodies similar to Mariah Carey. However, scratch beneath the surface, and you discover a a maturity that deals with denial, heartbreak and a plethora of other emotions with compassion.
Therefore, it was no surprise that Alexa worked with acclaimed producer Tom Nichols (Celine Dion, Kylie Minogue) to produce Infatuation; he understood her vision and he nurtured it.
‘He was the first person I worked with who got the direction I want to go in,’ enthuses Alexa. And for the singer/songwriter this was paramount. Both of Kate Alexa’s albums have seen Alexa heavily involved in the song writing process, from the lyricisms to the basic rhythm that holds the songs together.
It took the pair just under two years to create Infatuation, and for a sophomore album, it’s stronger than her debut, an irony within the music industry. Infatuation exhibits a cohesion and mature blend of pop that heralds a wider variety of musical influences, including jazz and blues.
‘He [Nicols] kept me quite involved and would show me things, even if it was something that’s probably irrelevant to what I need to know,’ explains Alexa, who is thankful for Nichols dedication, as it allowed her a deeper understanding of ‘how it [music] comes from the other side’.
But for the Melbourne singer, songwriting is not the only highlight of her career.
Kate Alexa has missed the ‘adrenaline rush’ associated with performing and it’s something she’s looking forward to. In fact, it’s one of her aspirations for the next year: ‘I want to be able to keeping writing and recording music, to be able to tour overseas [but I’m going to] focus on here for now’.
You can catch Kate Alexa supporting Matrika this September. Find all the details and ticketing information here!
By Avrille Bylok-Collard