An Interview With The Belgian Pop Artist, DANA REXX, On Her Newest Music, Favorite Artists And More!
Posted On 14 Mar 2018
Meet Dana Rexx! She is a Belgian Pop artist. She recorded material in New York City with Grammy-award winning producer Scott Jacoby (Coldplay, Vanessa Hudgens, Rachel Platten) and Grammy- nominated producer Jimmy Greco (Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez, Paramore). Rexx has been making a name for herself through her positive message while gathering a set of fans across the globe. With an ‘80s vibe and an EDM flair, Dana Rexx brings an edginess to the table with her music.
Connect With Dana Rexx Here:
Learn more about Dana Rexx in the following All Access interview with her:
Thanks for your time. We know musicians are busy people so we appreciate you taking the time to answer a few questions about yourself! So where does this interview find you today? Has it been a good day?
Yes, today has been excellent. I announced I’ll be doing a live Q&A on Facebook the day after the release of my new single ‘Last Man Standing’. It will be out on March 2nd. I’m so excited for my fans to hear this new chapter in my music.
Overall, how do you think 2017 was for you and your career? What are you most excited about for this year? What is one big goal you have for 2018?
For a few years now I’ve been learning a lot about writing songs. I’ve always been a singer but the art of songwriting is something else entirely. Also in 2017 I was able to connect with some great people in the industry, who are backing me and teaching me more about how things work. My goal for 2018 is to reach new fans and do more live shows.
Growing up, did you ever think that this would be the kind of life that you would have? Has music always been a big part of your life? Can you recall your first-ever musical experience?
I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. When I was little I would insist on singing something at every get-together with friends or family and I’d make my cousins join in as background singers. When I was 9, I joined a “Young Artists” school that provided me the opportunity to perform on Belgian national television, including our version of Top of the Pops. Then at 16 I started DJ’ing, a hobby that quickly turned professional when I landed a resident contract in a well-known club in Antwerp. A few years ago I decided to concentrate on my first love (singing) and to totally go for it. I love singing with every fibre of my being and couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.
So I absolutely love your purple hair! How did you first decide to dye it that color? How do you think it goes with who you are a musician?
Thanks! I’ve always been on stage, so I have a thing for the theatrical I guess. In my teens I started bleaching my hair at home with oxygenated water (it was the 90’s, don’t judge) and at 18, a few months before graduating high school, I got purple highlights. I went to college with flaming red and bronze locks and since then I’ve explored every color of the rainbow. I also do my own nailart, which I started at about 13 years of age, and this was back when no one had heard of nail art yet. I just like to be different and my hair and nails are a way for me to exteriorize my colorful personality.
I’d love to know what it was like recording music in New York with the Grammy-award winning producers Scott Jacoby and Jimmy Greco? How did this all happen for you?
Going to New York to record my first EP was a blast! I met Jimmy and Scott through a mutual contact and after we had worked through one song together, I decided to work with them on the other productions of the EP as well.
Let’s talk about your newest single “Last Man Standing.” What was the inspiration for it?
I wrote ‘Last Man Standing’ as an empowering anthem, especially for women. Women are still faced with glass ceilings and “a man’s world”-culture every day and to make it we have to stick together and lift each other up. The expression: “you’re a woman, be a man”, is a reminder that we can handle anything that is thrown at us. That’s what fueled ‘Last Man Standing’ for me.
How do you think it compares to any other music that you have released in the past?
My goal to empower people with my music hasn’t changed. The songs ‘Phoenix’, ‘Right Here Right Now’, ‘Live Like We’re Dying’ and even the power ballad ‘Fire Breathing Dragon’ from my previous EP are all confidence boosters in their own way. No matter how trapped or down you feel, there is always a way to break free of your chains and start living!
‘Last Man Standing’ is an evolution for me – as every new song should be. The production has more grit than my previous songs and I like that it has a feeling of no inhibition to it… “Let’s go all the way” right?
I just watched your video for “Fire Breathing Dragon.” How creatively involved were you with the making of it? What was it like working with those horses?
I wanted to use big open spaces and the horse as a powerful imagery for the freedom of heart that the song is about. The sun through the trees and the light at the end of the tunnel sort of thing. It was my very first video shoot and to be honest I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve been riding horses since I was 10 so it was a way for me to translate something I was familiar with into this new thing called acting. We did 2 days with the horse in Belgium, and 2 days in Fort Totten NY for the dungeon and escape scenes. The horse, Kilate, owned by a friend of mine, was an absolute joy to work with. I had never reared before so I started training with him 2 months before the shoot, but it was still scary on the day!
What was it like making your “Phoenix” EP? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
I had produced and released songs before as a DJ, but it totally different than writing a pop song and the production that goes into that. We worked with actual musicians coming in and recording drum and cello parts (Dave Eggar who also plays with Coldplay did the cello in Fire Breathing Dragon) and of course there’s the lead vocal and all the harmonies and adlibs to record. I found out that I’m really good at doing the harmony parts.
I am curious to know more about your work with the students at AP Hogeschool Antwerp. Why is this something that you’ve chosen to do?
It’s a great way to reach out to my main demographic and sit down with them to find out what they’re into. The fact that they get the opportunity to work on something that the world might see, instead of only the teacher who’s grading them, really makes them come out of their shell and go for it, and when they graduate they can put that in their CV as well. I’m an Alumni from AP Hogeschool myself.
How have your recent shows been going lately? Where can fans see you perform next? What do you think makes for an ideal concert for you?
I’ve started working with a guitarist to do acoustic versions of my songs. I enjoy singing ‘unplugged’ because you can really get into the feeling of the song and make your performance different every time depending on your audience. I have a few gigs lined up in Belgium in March and April. I always post on my socials where the next gig will be, so my fans can follow me there to stay informed.
Where do you find that you sing the most- in the car, in the shower or elsewhere?
I’m in my car a lot so I probably sing there most. I do my warm ups there, I test new songs or learn songs by heart. But it’s in the shower that I get the most inspiration. Maybe that’s because I’m not thinking of anything else and then I come up with almost a complete song, but it’s really not the best place because I can’t record in the moment and if I don’t repeat the song until I’m out of the shower I’ve forgotten how it goes once I can get to my phone.
Where do you find that you have the most fun- on stage performing, making music videos or recording in the studio?
On stage, definitely! I love performing live! There’s a connection with the audience that makes each gig special. Whether it’s at a festival where you can run around or in a cosy bar on a chair, every location has its unique reverb for the voice to carry on and it makes every song different than the last time you sang it.
How active on are you on all of your social media platforms? How important do you think it has been to your career so far? Do you find that it’s hard to update all of them all of the time?
I try to stay very active and I always answer my fans on whichever platform, be it a comment on YouTube or a tweet, it’s important for me to read what they have to say. Fanmail used to be very one-sided, but I really like the way you can communicate in near-realtime with your idols nowadays.. and vice versa, with your fans. Some days it does get hard because I have so much scheduled, but then whenever I have a little time in between, I go live on Instagram or Twitter to show some behind the scenes stuff. I’m on the ‘Big 3’ (IG, FB, TW) and on some other apps on the side and I keep everything up to date along with my website and my Spotify playlist.
We are living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that music is going to reflect these challenging times?
I’m not made for politics nor for sitting in an office all day, believe me, I’ve tried. For me, music is the most important thing because not only can you express yourself through it, you can send a message and also generate emotions through melody and lyrics. Everyone in the world has a favorite track and has memories that are triggered by songs. Music is a universal language that supersedes skin color or nationality or gender. It’s what keeps us together, helps us through puberty, gets us over a break-up.. and that’s exactly what I try to achieve with my songs. If I can make just one person believe in themself more, or give them the courage to fight a bad situation, then my job is done.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Music was always playing at home and growing up I was surrounded by powerful women like Madonna, Annie Lennox (Eurythmics), Cher, Tina Turner.. they inspired me to be strong, sexy, elegant and extravagant! They basically taught me how to sing, just by me imitating every note and breath they ever recorded. Current inspirations are Katy Perry and Lady Gaga for example. I’d love to work with all of the above, but especially Cher. It would be a dream to do a duet with her!
Apart from the women, the first pop songs I remember singing were from Michael Jackson’s Thriller album and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours with some Queen and David Bowie thrown in the mix. The way they put productions together is very specific and music studio’s would not be what they are today without these artists.
What do you hope your fans take away from your music?
So many people are stuck in their lives, dreaming of other things. We create the reality that we live in and human beings get into the habit of denying themselves what they truly want or deserve. I want to show people that they have the strength to overcome anything they choose to. My fans are called ‘Warriors’ for a reason and they can achieve anything they set their minds to.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about yourself or your music?
I have so much more music in store for everyone. I can’t wait to show it to you all. Last Man Standing is an exciting new era for me. While I’m navigating my way through life, I’m constantly learning more about myself in the process and one thing is certain – I will not stop until I have achieved my dream of being a full-time artist and bringing joy to the world with my music and beyond.