Our next feature on the winners of the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2016 is the up and coming pop/R&B superstar, Alexis Keegan, who won the award for Best EP Female for our release Endless Road. Keegan also won the award for the second half of 2015 for Best Video (cover) for “Drunk in Love,” and was included in the list of Break Out Artists of 2014 as published on AXS.com
We had a great interview with Keegan last week, and learned a lot about her. Special thanks to Jen Lyneis of Ue3 Promotions for the nomination. Now, sit back, relax and learn things about what we consider to be one of the best rising stars in indie music.
IVB: How long have you been performing?
AK: Other than the occasional school talent show, my first public performance was at the age of 14 at an Open Mic , when I did a cover of Mary J. Blige’s song, “I’m Going Down.” This performance blossomed into school musical performances, assemblies, gospel choirs and the like before I started performing on my own. I attended LaSalle University in Philadelphia, and graduated with a degree in mass communication and marketing. I’m originally from New Jersey and was close enough to New York City to take off on Thursdays after class to go there to record and visit my family. I moved to Los Angeles about four years ago. Before I moved, I was babysitting for a family and one of their family members was a professional cellist. My college roommate moved to LA first and I came out to try to make connections during a visit. I met the cellist when I was in California, and he sent my material off to several producers he had worked with, including Andrew Williams, who ended up doing my first record and is currently working on my new one. I started recording with him about once a month and he introduced me to Jen (Lyneis), who has been wonderful in getting me sponsors and creating my brand. I am so glad to be back working with Andrew again.
IVB: Who are your influences?
AK: My childhood influences were R&B artists like Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston. I was also obsessed with Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera. I’ve always been drawn to soul/R&B music. With my new album, I’m finally returning to those roots. My favorite CD was Whitney’s greatest hits, and I played it until I wore it out. No one wanted to ride with me because it was the only CD I played in my car. My current obsession is with the music of Gavin DeGraw, especially his soulful voice, which draws me in.
IVB: What made you decide to DIY?
AK: DIY gives me a lot more control and I get to do what I want to. I’ve heard horror stories from my peers about labels compelling you to do what’s not really you. I had my own experience with a label who tried to turn me into a pop dance artist. That is just not me.
IVB: Are you seeking to be a mainstream artist?
AK: Only if the label will let me have control of my career. I’m tred of being pulled in so many directions and having people tell me what they think I should be, instead of knowing myself where I need to be. I realized that I have gotten away from my roots and now I have the chance to go back there.
IVB: What are your future plans?
AK: As I mentioned before, I’m back in the studio with Andrew working on a new EP. I’m also getting ready to release the music video for “Empty Heart” from my Endless Road EP around end of September. I’m in the process of setting up some touring, and will continue working with Ue3. I’m currently looking for both booking and tour management. My dream is to tour with Allen Stone.
My single “There will be Love” was also recently featured on the GroundSounds website. Please check it out.
IVB: Any good stories from touring/recording/performing?
AK: One of the best things about touring and travelling is being able to try new foods. I remember the different cities I’ve visited by the foods I experienced. It’s a good thing calories don’t count when you’re on tour. I especially love New Orleans. It was a good thing we had the next day after the performance off because we hit Bourbon Street really hard.
IVB: What about social media?