Today’s Feature, June 18-19, 2007: Alexa Wilkinson

January 18, 2008 at 6:26 pm (Today's Feature)

Alexa Wilkinson has an unique appeal that often gets her labeled as
the “girl-next-door”. Rightfully so, since this 5’4″ beauty, with the
golden voice and mature style has every guy in America lining up.
However, last time I checked not many “girls-next-door” mastered
“Hotel California” on the guitar at age 11 and say their first album
ever purchased was Nirvana’s “Never Mind”. It was that maturity in
which Wilkinson adapted at an early age, that has allowed her to write
and perform all 11 songs on her debut album, “Lullaby Appetite”. In
the cut-throat business of pop music, Wilkinson has decided to go the
daring route of a “true musician” and build her reputation based off
her own original style. More proof is when acclaimed singer/songwriter
Josh Kelley asked to produce and co-write “Lullaby Appetite” (the two
were on tour together earlier this year), which is a rather hefty
endorsement. “Lullaby Appetite” has an exceptional range of songs from
the more jazz induced, “Sad Eyed Annabelle”, to more playful “Good
Fight”, to Wilkinson’s first single, “Of Graves”; which tells the sad
tale of broken hearts. Her desire to write this way is not only rare
but very well appreciated.

Wilkinson will tell you that she thinks a lot about the artist’s story
behind each song. Which, I liked hearing in particular since only real
artists possess the ability to step back and watch others work and
learn from them. Some of the “artists” (I use that term loosely)
currently on the pop charts now might want to pay close attention to
Wilkinson since 1) Alexa Wilkinson is the real deal, in every sense 2)
Young singer/songwriters with their own opinions should not only be
watched but praised and 3) They might want to familiarize themselves
with the girl that will be knocking them out of their spot, rather
shortly. Check out her XXQs to find out more.

XXQs: Alexa Wilkinson

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How and when did you first get involved in music?

Alexa Wilkinson (AW): I first got into music when I was a little kid,
around 10. In elementary school I had a little 4th grade boyfriend and
he was taking trumpet lessons, so I decided to take them as well.
After my first trumpet lesson I was pretty much hooked. I tried every
instrument from violin to tuba.

PEV: Was there a certain time or event that you realized you wanted to
make music a career?

AW: There was. I ended up singing a Celine Dion song for my 8th grade
“gradation” (which was, as my mom describes it, creepy). It was really
the first time I ever sang for a group of people and I realized the
moment I picked up the microphone that I wanted to do it the rest of
my life.

PEV: What was it like the first time you stepped into a recording studio?

AW: The first time I walked into a studio I thought “What the hell is
all of this stuff!” I was kind of dazzled. I didn’t realize how much
skill and technique went into recording. It looked like a giant puzzle
I wanted to solve.

PEV: What can people expect from your new album “Lullaby Appetite”?

AW: I think people can expect an album that has a bit of every genre,
songs with lyrical depth, and a different sound then what’s typically
“radio friendly” today. I try not to limit people’s imagination when
listening to a song, so I think people can also expect to relate to at
least one song on the album. Actually, I can guarantee it or your
money back.

PEV: On “Lullaby Appetite” you collaborated with fellow musician and
touring partner, Josh Kelley. What was it like working with him and
how did influence the album?

AW: Josh is the most magnetic person you’ll ever meet. He is an
amazing songwriter, producer and performer. I am so fortunate I got
the opportunity to work with him, he has taught me so much while
producing my album. He produced and basically made two of the most
important tracks on the album what they are (“Of Graves” and “Lullaby
Appetite”). Working with him is an experience every time. I love it.

PEV: If you could collaborate with one artist, alive or deceased, who
would it be and why?

AW: Joni Mitchell. I think she is an extraordinary songwriter and she
was so dedicated to staying true to her own style. No other artist has
ever touched me the way her songs do. I’ve been saying for the longest
time, if I could get Joni Mitchell to paint my album cover one day, I
would die happy.

PEV: You have traveled all over performing. Which city do you think
offers the best environment for music?

AW: I have yet to experience a substantial amount of touring, but if I
had to judge based off this last tour…Chicago by far. That crowd was
amazing! The people are so warm and friendly. I sold twice as many
CD’s there as I did any other city. I had one of the best nights on
tour there.

PEV: How has life on the road been for you?

AW: Amazing. I have met so many amazing people, including other
songwriters and artists. I have learned so much in a short amount of
time. I am very excited to get going on another tour.

PEV: Explain your creative process. Do you come up with a line first
or the music and then match the words? Scribble out notes all day?

AW: My creative process has seemed to condition itself to coming alive
while I’m in the car. (I actually just wrote a song about this). I
normally just start humming a melody and sing some words to it. If I
like what I said, I write it down. By the time I get home… you should
see how many pages of one-liners I have! I cipher through them and
pick a specific topic I want to write about. That’s how I’ve been
writing lately anyway.

PEV: What kind of atmosphere do you surround yourself in when you sit
down to write?

AW: Songwriting to me is a form of meditation. I like to be very alone
and in a very comfortable place. So I find myself staying up until 4am
finishing a song I started around 12am. I like to be very relaxed an
open minded, and I always shut off my cell phone. When I’m
collaborating though it’s a completely different story.

PEV: Is there one aspect or theme of your music you find yourself
constantly leaning to or tend to focus on more?

AW: I like to focus more on the lyrics of my songs rather than a
guitar part or anything else. I think songwriting is a little like
cooking because you have a certain amount of chords you can use, but
lyrically… you can be different and individual. I like to focus on
getting my message across in a better, even cleverer way than the next
song.

PEV: What was it like the first time you played live on stage?

AW: It was like jumping out of an airplane. At first, very scary, but
once I realized that I actually had to step up and do my thing, it
felt natural and I loved it. Performing love is one of the hardest
jobs I think, because its one of the only jobs where you receive
instantaneous feedback, and you always want that feedback to be good!

PEV: What do all your friends and family back home think about your success?

AW: They’re all pretty proud of me I think. Park City was and is still
a huge support system for me. That town embraced my music with open
arms, and I can’t thank everyone enough for how much love they’ve
given me over the years. I’m very excited to go back there this summer
and play live for them again.

PEV: When you are not writing, performing or traveling, what can we
find you doing?

AW: I have been really into photography lately. Almost guaranteed if
I’m not at home writing, I’ll be out hiking, taking pictures or
driving around the city looking for anything that catches my eye. I
hope success in music will also help me grow as a photographer. I like
to get outside and be active also so sometimes I take a soccer ball
down to the beach and just mess around.

PEV: If Saturday Night Live called and asked you to be their musical
guest, who be your ideal host?

AW: Haha I wouldn’t care who was the host! I would do it in a
heartbeat! However, if I had a choice? Jack Black. He’s one of the
funniest people in the world.

PEV: What is the best part about playing live?

AW: The best part about playing live is being able to share your
passion with other people. I think songwriters have the ability to say
what people could never think to, and if your live performance is even
better than a recording it makes your words that much more meaningful.
I love giving people a little bit of me with every performance.

PEV: What’s something we’d be surprised to hear about you?

AW: It may surprise you to learn that I don’t eat meat.

PEV: If I were to walk into your house right now, what would I find?

AW: You would find me sitting on my bed playing my guitar, with a
Billy The Kid poster hanging above my head. It would probably smell
like a Thanksgiving feast on account of my neighbor who cooks all
through the night. You would find a bunch of books on my shelf I
haven’t read, and old pictures from my first year at college that I
haven’t switched out for more recent ones. You’d also notice my little
home studio I have set up in the corner of my room and probably play
my djembe for a minute before looking at my enormous DVD collection…
consisting mostly of South Park and the Reno 911 series.

PEV: How does it feel to have accomplished so much at such a young?

AW: I feel like in terms of accomplishments I haven’t really done all
that much. I owe a lot to my recent success to the people around me. I
have an amazing support system behind me, and without them I don’t
know how much I would have accomplished by now. It feels really good
though to start getting recognition for something as unconventional as
singing. Because every person that takes a chance on this profession
has some doubt in the beginning, it feels good to no longer have that
doubt and to know I’m on the right path.

PEV: So, what is next for Alexa Wilkinson?

AW: What’s next is a whole lot of promotion for Lullaby Appetite,
touring and writing new songs. I’m working every day on my show and
writing, I just hope to get better and better every day.

For more information on Alexa Wilkinson, check out: http://www.AlexaWilkinson.com

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