Welcome to Interview Spotlight! This is where I will feature interviews or discussions with various musicians and learn more about them, what they do and how music affects them.
This week, I am pleased to showcase the lovely and beautiful Alexa Borden!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you from, what do you do?
“My name is Alexa Borden and I am singer/songwriter living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.”
How are you involved in the music world? What do you do musically?
“I’m quite involved in many different areas of the industry since I’m completely independent. I’m a producer, promoter, and publisher. But above all I’m a singer and songwriter. Last September I was introduced to these two amazing musicians- Colin MacDonald, who plays bass, and Kurtis Urban on drums. They’re so incredibly intuitive when it comes to what I want. Is it wrong to tie up your band mates in your basement so they never leave?”
Are there any previous associations or bands you were involved in before?
“I’ve always done my work under my own name. There has been a rotation of band members that have come and gone through the years, but this has been my only project so far.”
How did you begin your journey into music?
“I don’t think I could ever put my finger on exactly what led me into creating music. Other than I knew I had a love for being on stage since I started dancing at 5. I always wrote poems and short stories as a kid, which eventually evolved into songs. When I was 10 years old I wanted to be an iconic pop star like Britney Spears. But when I was 14 I discovered the world of indie/alternative music and then I knew that’s the direction I needed to pursue.
How would you best describe your music?
“Imagine you’re being slowly engulfed into a black hole of corruption, drugs and danger and that’s how I would describe the music I’ve been creating lately. I have a hard time filing my music into a genre sometimes… For this record, imagine 60’s influence with a little bit of blues and a little bit of jazz.”
How has your music evolved over the years?
“I feel like it’s constantly evolving. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up but it keeps the creative process exciting. It grows with me, it’s molded by my muses, state of mind, the bands I’m listening to and all of my little phases of obsession with certain things that I go through.”
Is there any direction you’d like to explore musically that you haven’t before? If so, why is it you choose that direction?
“I’ve really been digging blues lately. Devin Townsend has a new project called “Casualties of Cool” and it’s really fucking rad ambient blues. There’s just something so raw and dirty about it that speaks to me like no other genre can right now.”
What’s your creative process like? How do you go from a blank page, to a completed track or album?
“My creative process can be a gong show or like cutting open a vein and everything just flows. I have hundreds of songs that are only half written, and most of them remain untouched. I think sometimes a part of the process is just to get words out onto paper that needs to be released from your head. I’m inspired in so many different ways, but lately something will happen to me, and I’ll write some poetry and then put it to a melody. Which is unusual for me because usually I write melodies and lyrics simultaneously. We haven’t even gotten ourselves into the studio yet, and it’s been really hard to not sit in mine and do everything myself like I did the last two albums. That’s not how I want it to be done though. I want it true and alive with real instruments. I know that Colin and Kurtis will bring so much life to the record with their creative perspective. I honestly haven’t been so excited to make an album in my life.”
Have you done any type of tours or special venues?
“Not really any spectacular venues yet. Lots of awesome bars and clubs though which has been so much fun. We’re working on booking more gigs throughout the city right now. When the album is out I want to apply for a grant to go tour around Canada or maybe take it down to LA for a bit.”
What’s your studio like (if applicable)? What type of equipment do you often find yourself using to help write and record or inspire you?
“The last 6 years I’ve used my home studio which is just Cubase, and my midi keyboard. I don’t really have anything fancy and don’t really need much to get the sound I want. Now we’re looking at recording the album live in a studio which will be inspiring. I’m looking forward to seeing what magic happens in that kind of setting.”
What song of yours are you most proud of and why?
“This record is my baby. I’m so proud to say that I have created it. But one of the songs I’m immensely proud of is called “Crazy Baby” it’s bluesy and slightly neurotic. It just sums up the album perfectly. The title lyric goes “I’m crazy baby, but I ain’t crazy for you” and it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. Everyone goes mad for this song at live shows too, which is amazing.”
What music, other than your own, have you been listening to lately? What are some of your favorite artist to listen to in your down time?
“The Velvet Underground, Eagles, Rolling Stones, The Sheepdogs, Casualties of Cool, and Alt-J have all been playing on an infinite loop. The National will always be one of my favorites though.”
If you can remember, what’s the first song you wrote? How does that compare to your current releases?
“I don’t think I can remember the first song I ever wrote…I can think far enough back to when I must have been 8 or 9 and I wrote and sang a new song for my mom for the first time titled “Snowstorm!” I still have that notebook somewhere. But I look back on my early work that I started producing on my own at 13 and it’s so bad that it’s funny. I’d like to think that I’ve made some progress since then!”
If you wasn’t doing music, what would you see yourself trying to pursue?
“I don’t ever know how to answer this question. Obviously I’ve thought about things that I would enjoy doing if I didn’t have music as a career, for example I’ve always had an interest in becoming an EMT. But I believe you were meant to do something when you were put on this earth and music will always be what I was meant to do. It’s embedded. ”
What would your advice be to someone who is trying to get into the music world? What should they look out for?
“First and foremost it’s so important to stay true to what you believe in. The second you let opinions start shaping something that’s yours, it’s over and will never be the magic that it once was. Work your ass off. When you feel like you’ve been working too hard, too long, work even harder. It pays off. Also people will tell you anything you want to hear to get something that benefits them and does nothing for you, and you have to learn how to weed those people out.”
Final question, what’s your favorite type of food?
“I have a really big thing for fish tacos right now.”
Thanks to Alexa for the great interview and giving us all a chance to see and hear about herself and how music works in her life. Make sure you guys give some support and check her out!
If you’re a musician, artist, composer, DJ or anything to do with the music work, big or small, I would love to hear from you! If you’d like to be showcased, interviewed or be involved in the blog, please contact me through my website at www.derekpalmermusic.com or connect with me on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/derekpalmermusic