If you didn’t know the name before this article, you know it now. Alexandra May is South Africa’s very own Taylor Swift. She has talent and matching stellar personality. Here’s more on her new EP, One:
- Rachelle Crous is a brilliant publicist. How did you get involved with her?
It’s because of David Gresham Records. It’s sort of all in house which is really nice because the team just takes care of everything. When you have a team around you that just supports and loves you and who is willing to work with you, it takes music making to another level.
- How is it like working for a label such as David Gresham Records?
Of course I am. It’s the honest truth, I love being with them. There was a year and a half before we released our first single ‘Amazing’ where we just spent time working on music and making sure I was happy with the song. They were fantastic. They took the time and let me enjoy studio time. During that time, it was quite fun, they let me perform with Connell Cruise on his ‘Into the Wild’ tour and so I went with him and toured with him for three different shows for three different venues AND I sang a duet with him. So that was nice to be able to start the journey there.
- So is that the moment you realised that all my dreams are coming true?
I don’t know when the exact moment was, to be honest because I spent my entire life working for a goal. I started singing when I was a kid, did competitions and when I was fifteen I was like okay cool, music is my thing but what do you then do in music? I was like okay I’ve got my music but what do I do next? Do I go the independent route or do you do the record label? My goal was always to be signed by a record label. But to have it happen is really weird.
- Do you feel like you are lucky to get this position?
I’ve worked my entire life to do exactly this and I’m eternally grateful for the love and support from my entire team.
- I know that you started off by doing theater. Would you ever go back?
Yes, I think I would. I mean I loved it, I love being the princess. It was lots of fun. When I was fifteen I got my first leading role, I was Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Fifteen years old and they’re taking a chance on this kid. I got to wear these beautiful gowns. We didn’t have the Disney rights yet so we had to use songs from other movies so I was asked to sing the ‘Reflection’ song from Mulan. So I was just talking about my journey and I remember I had this huge suitcase and I sat down on stage. I’m singing to the kids and the kids just walk on stage and sat around me on my dress. I sang the entire song to those kids. To have the kids relate to you that they want to be with you, I’ve never in my life.
- You always say that your music aims to inspire. Does it almost scare you to know that your music has so much power?
I’ wary of the power, if you want to call it that. I don’t want to abuse anything and I don’t want to force anybody into a corner. I love the fact that music is so powerful. The other day we found this comment on my Facebook and the girl said that my song ‘Amazing’ had encouraged her and changed her life. And I thought wow, my music did that. My entire life I have sung covers and now to have your own song inspire somebody, I love that. That’s why I do this. The very first lesson I ever learnt was from my drama teacher. She said that you are not a good performer until you make your audience feel something. And I live by that motto.
- How was it like working with Ziggy Adolf?
I love Ziggy. He is the only producer I have worked with when it comes to David Gresham Records. He knows my soul. He knows me inside and out. I can get into studio and he’ll know it’s a bad day or he’ll know it’s a good day. He knows if I’m feeling the vibe, three takes and out. He’s wonderful to work with, he has a great ear. I love harmonies. My sister and I always sang duets, Isabella Jane and I. I love those notes and he’s also got that passion. It’s this synergy that makes it incredible to work with him. We feed off of one another but we also try and better one another.
- You described that the EP, One, very much embodies who you are. Is it difficult being so vulnerable or so candid about your life?
I’ve always wanted to be completely honest about who I am and what my music is and what it represents to me. So to have a song like ‘Breath’ out there and I say it openly that it’s about love, about a break-up. I want people to know that! I want people to be able to listen to the song and get through those moments. That’s why I sing and that’s why I create that music. As long as there are mini-Allys (I call my songs mini-Allys) out there then I’m happy with that. I have to be true to myself and I think that’s also part of my message. So, be who you are because your story is good enough.
- I’ve read that you are inspired by people like Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and Celine Dion. Are they still inspiration to you? Do you feel as if your muses have changed?
I grew up with Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez. I love their music. They inspire my music but they also encourage me to put my own flair on it, make sure it’s me. Celine Dion has inspired me since I was a baby, since I was a child. Recently with the iPhone with Apple connect, I live off my phone. I’ve discovered a whole lot of fantastic new artists. I’ve discovered The Foxes and The 1975s. They make the ultimate summer track.
- One, as the name. How did you stumble across that one?
When my record label said we’re doing this. We’ve got the songs and we’re releasing the EP, choose a name. My Mom and I got thinking and I was like, you know what. It’s my very first one. I’m never going to have another one. It’s a big moment for me so I decided to call it One. On top of that, all the songs on the EP have just one name. It goes deeper than that. I am a solo artist. There’s only one of me. I’m individual and unique. I have one fantastic team that works with me and I have one goal. So it has many meanings so it just made sense.
By: Kriszti Bottyan