Promising Singer-Songwriter, ALEXX CALISE Chats About Her Song “Cry” Getting Played on Dance Moms, Her Floridian Upbringing and More!
Posted On 09 Feb 2016
Tag: Abby Lee Miller, Addition By Subtraction, Aerosmith, Alexx Calise, All Access, All Access Music Group, Anchor, Artist Interview, AWOLNATION, Beatles, Carson Daly, Cry, Dance Mom, Daniel Johns, Dave Grohl, David Gilmore, End of The World, Florida, Grimm, In Avanti, It Just Dies, James Blunt, James Bond, Jeff Lynne, John Corella, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, linda perry, Los Angeles, Maddie Ziegler, Michelle, One Tree Hill, Peter Gabriel, Rocky Raccoon, Sia, Silverchair, Sound of Cancer, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Fray, Trent Reznor, Warren Huart, Wasting Away, We Only Come Out At Night, WWE Monday Night Raw
You may have recently heard Alexx Calise’s latest single, “Cry” on an episode of Dance Moms. The video itself has over 2.8 million YouTube views, and features Maddie from Dance Moms (she’s actually gone on to do some other really big things, like dancing in all of Sia’s music videos as well).
Here is a link to “Cry”: youtube.com/watch?v=VjkG82EBFAE. It’s gone on to sell well over 50,000 downloads independently, and it even charted at #64 on the iTunes rock chart when it first appeared on the show.
Alexx has also had placements on shows like Grimm, One Tree Hill, WWE Monday Night Raw, Carson Daly and more.
More recently, she released a new album! It was produced by the Grammy-nominated Warren Huart (Aerosmith, The Fray, James Blunt, etc).
Learn more about Alexx Calise in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So, how’s 2016 been treating you so far? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for you?
Why thank you! The new year has been very positive for me so far. I’ve started running again, and plan on doing a 5K here pretty soon; I’ve been rehearsing a lot with my other band, Sound of Cancer; and I just released my new album, “Addition by Subtraction”, which I’ve been very excited about. Some highlights of 2015 would be turning 30, recording the new album, and actually letting go of some of the elements in my life that inspired the new album’s content and title!
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
First and foremost, I’ve always been a writer, but I did always have music in my blood and in my soul. I picked up guitar when I was 11 at first to bring my lyrics and melodies to life, but I ended up falling in love with my instrument in the process too. My earliest musical memory would probably be my father playing guitar for my brother and I when we were kids. He always used to play the James Bond theme or Rocky Raccoon or Michelle by the Beatles.
How do you think your upbringing in South Florida prepared you for the music life in Los Angeles?
I think South Florida was a good place to cut my teeth and hone my craft. There isn’t a whole lot to do out there, so I often holed myself up in my room for hours and just played and wrote. I wish sometimes that I still had the kind of quiet moments I had out in Florida. There’s so much stimulation out in LA, and it’s hard to focus sometimes.
While nothing can really prepare you 100 percent for a town like LA, I felt like I had a pretty decent foundation. I had a very supportive family who were cheering me on from the east coast, I had an album under my belt already, and I was bright eyed and bushy tailed, not yet jaded by LA, haha.
Can you talk about your ballad “Cry” got on an episode of Dance Moms?
“Cry” was the sole ballad on an otherwise all electronic rock record I had called “In Avanti”. I had released it in 2010, but it didn’t really get an adequate push until Abby Lee Miller and John Corella chose to use “Cry” for Dance Moms. Once “Cry” initially aired on the show, my numbers jumped through the roof, kids all over the world were covering the song or dancing to it, and people from all over the world started reaching out to me. It did so well on the show that Maddie Ziegler, who danced to it initially kept using it for multiple episodes, and her sister even did a dance to it. Then, they asked if I’d like to be featured on the Dance Moms soundtrack, which was great. After I had Maddie dance to “Cry” in the official music video for it, forget about it. The video is nearing 3 million hits now and has definitely been my most successful song to date.
What was the inspiration for “Cry”?
“Cry” was a song that was written during a very low moment. I don’t remember specifically what inspired it, but I as a tormented artist (haha), have those kinds of moments a lot. Writing music is a form of therapy for me; I’d be a very unhappy person if I didn’t have that outlet. I’m glad that a song that I actually wrote out of sadness has actually ended up bringing a lot of people joy.
Your music has been featured on plenty of TV outlets and shows. What’s that been like for you? What’s been your favorite show that you your song has gotten on? Do you still get excited when you hear your music on TV?
It’s been awesome and I never get tired of it. So far my favorite has been Dance Moms. I got into the show actually when “Cry” started airing on it, and it’s quite addictive. I always like watching Maddie dance. I may be biased, but she’s definitely one of my favorites. She’s extraordinarily talented.
It’s weird, sometimes I’ll be watching TV and I hear a familiar song, and realize it’s mine. Then I say, “oh hey! Another placement. Sweet!”
Let’s talk about your latest released album, “Addition By Subtraction”. What was the process like of putting this record out? What was it like working with the producer, Warren Huart?
It was really cool working with Warren, because he’s like a music factory. Very efficient, very skilled, and very precise. He’s fantastic with melody, and one of the best guitarists I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. We cranked the record out pretty quickly between the actual writing and recording part of it actually, but we both had a lot of commitments in between so it took a little longer than we anticipated. I definitely feel like it was worth the wait; it seems to be getting a good response so far!
What are some of your favorite songs on this record? How long were you putting it together?
Some of my favorites are “We Only Come Out at Night”, “End of the World”, “Wasting Away”, “Anchor” and “It Just Dies”. We put it together over the course of about a year, and whenever we did have the opportunity to work together, which wasn’t as frequent as we both would have liked, we were extremely efficient and got a lot of work done.
Are you constantly out playing here in LA? Where can people find you performing next?
I’ve been doing a lot more recording and writing lately than live playing, but I’ll be performing again probably next month for a CD release show.
I’ll also be playing out with my other band, Sound of Cancer over the next few months. We were on hiatus for a few years, but now we’re back full throttle, and will be releasing a covers EP shortly, followed by a tour.
Are you still pursing acting? When it comes to acting and music, what do you think is your greatest passion? Where can fans of yours find you acting?
Yes. I do it whenever possible. I’ve mostly been doing a lot of reality stuff recently.
Music is my greatest passion, whereas acting is more of a curiosity of mine, and an alternate form of creative expression.
I’ve done mostly commercials and TV specials. I’m sure you can find some juicy stuff on Youtube. My reel is also up there if you’re feeling squirrelly.
Who are your all-time favorite musicians? Living or dead, who would you love to work with?
There are so many. Jeff Lynne, David Gilmore, Peter Gabriel, Daniel Johns from silverchair, Trent Reznor, Linda Perry, Dave Grohl, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, AWOLNATION, the list just goes on and on!
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
I just hope that in some way they feel inspired, and that my songs force some kind of change. I know how much certain songs have impacted me and changed my life as a listener and a lover of music, and I really hope I can do the same with my own music.
I write from life; my own experiences. There’s so much negativity out there, and so many songs out there with throwaway lyrics and listless content; I don’t want to be a part of that. I have something to say and I feel like the people who listen to my music do too. I don’t want to feed them garbage.
I like to think I’m a pretty strong individual, so I find myself writing often about overcoming adversity, standing up for what you believe in and being a good human being.