Alexa is a motivated and talented independent musician who appears to be in complete control of her destiny. She takes an approach to her music in a way that many aspiring musicians can learn a lot from. Not only is she very involved in the creation of her music, but her brand as well. To me, it’s like she looks at her music as a product that is for sale and she is the salesperson. It’s awesome. I find that far too many people that have a talent that they want to be paid for, tend to not take the time to learn the business side. Which in my opinion is a poor choice. Far too often you see talented people rely on others who understand the business side very well, to only be taken advantage of.
Alexa hails from Delaware, a state that is known for many things including it’s lack of sales tax. She studied physics in college and decided somewhere in the middle of her studies that she wouldn’t be happy with a life that didn’t consist of her making music. So being a woman that finishes what she has started, she graduated school and instead of following a career path in the medical field she relocated to The Music City. Nashville, Tennessee is known to some for being the center of the music industry and the home of country music. It’s where many seriousmusicians go to develop their writing ability and create some of our favorite songs. Since the 1960’s Nashville has been the 2nd largest music production center, the first being New York City. In fact the music industry is so big in Nashville that it’s economic impact on the city is roughly $6.5 Billion annually and is responsible for 19,000 jobs. So it’s safe to say that this was a good move. After about a year Alexa returned to Delaware for the holidays and decided it’d be cool to do a show while at home. The show was a tremendous success, that night every ticket was sold. Alexa is a huge proponent of, “a closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” She isn’t afraid to get out there and tell the world who she is or what she does. She isn’t afraid to tell the world her story. She attributes much of her success to making it a habit to sing for anyone, anywhere. Why? “Because you never know who you are talking to or standing next to.”
Over the summer in 2014 Alexa went to a popular crowdfunding platform called Kickstarter to raise money for a new album and a tour. She set out to raise $5,000. She successfully blew past that number and by the time the fundraiser was complete she raised nearly $9,500! That’s nearly 90% more than she asked for which says a lot about her fan base. As an independent artist Alexa knows about "bootstrapping" or funding everything on her own. We talked a lot about how much money and time goes into developing music in addition to getting it recorded. She expressed to me how important it is to be savvy with your money, but also picky with how or more importantly who you spend it with. She continued with how important it is to understand your brand as an artist, make music that correlates with that brand and only match up with producers who understand that vision. Essentially you want to make sure you get the most return on your investment by generating the greatest output. In this case, the output is in the form of beautifully constructed soundwaves. Currently Alexa is planning a European tour. As an independent artist she wears many hats. Not only does she write her music, but manages her merchandise and touring as well. This tour is not only going to gain her major exposure to gain new fans but will give her the opportunity to meet current supporters for the first time.
Alexa is a talented singer/songwriter first and businesswoman second. Though there’s no way you can tell me that those two don’t go hand in hand. Her future plans consist of staying independent and developing a fruitful career that completely supports her financially. When I listen to her music I hear Florence from Florence + The Machine, I hear Adele and I don’t doubt her future plans once. Read below to see what Alexa thinks are some best practices for aspiring musicians and songwriters.
What are your thoughts and best practices when it comes to networking? Why are these best practices important to you?
"I combine several pieces of advice and opinion when it comes to networking. Right after I moved to Nashville, I told myself I would be as open minded-and committed as possible with my plans: I wouldn't make excuses, or be flaky, or procrastinate... basically I would never say no. I wanted to make as many connections as possible in my new city and have people take me seriously for my craft. However, one of the writers I met along the way gave me some extremely good advice, which was not to mistake "going out and drinking" for networking. By no means does this mean to not be social and have a good time, but instead to be cautious about the image you are portraying and keeping yourself professional in a networking situation. Therefore, I try to take advantage of networking opportunities while also making sure to represent myself appropriately."
What steps did you take to develop your brand?
"My brand has been constantly evolving. This relates not only to the music itself, but also to the logos, my look, and even the general color scheme. The first step was making the switch from my given name, Alex Saad, to my artist name, Alexa. I wanted something shorter, sexier, and easier to pronounce properly. Musically, I have been transitioning from an acoustic to a more electronic sound, which is changing the way I write, record, and perform. When I switched my hair color to red, I realized this color could be an excellent theme in my image as well. The "Alexa" brand now represents a unique, sexy, and cool image, which is reflected audibly and visually on my websites/pages."
What is one piece of advice you'd give to any aspiring musician?
"A close friend in Nashville gave me a piece of advice recently: be 100 percent on your game and ready to sell your product at all times. Whenever you meet someone; whether it be at a gig, in a restaurant, or even at the grocery store, be prepared to show them what you do. Be confident in your talent and ready to share it. This is easier said than done, but you never know who you can meet and how they may share your story."