If you don’t know who Alexa Lash is, then you must “like” her on Instagram and follow her immediately. She has her very own “Sound check song” in which she’ll include a stranger or a friend in the lyrics and makes up an interesting story to begin her set. I find myself singing it sometimes so it’s catchy. Alexa has a powerful voice to match her lyrics. She began playing locally with a ukulele, then during quarantine picked up an acoustic guitar and learned to play on her own. Now, she feels more empowered than ever and her craft has taken a fiercer shape, just like the tattooed phoenix on her back. My personal favorite is “Every Little Thing I Do”, where she pleads for her lover to say those magic words, we girls desperately want to hear and then strums along to a frustrated rap because the lover isn’t responding. Although most of the songs Alexa sings are originals and her new EP is due out shortly, she covers anything from “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse, “Zombie” by The Cranberries to the local’s favorite, “Jolene” by Dolly Parton. Alexa has diamond eyes and a beautiful smile with a quick wit that will have you singing along with the crowd to “MIA” and cheering during breaks as she sips on her old fashion.
QRO: It’s difficult for me to pinpoint your style of music, how would you describe it?
AL: It’s funny, I always have trouble answering this question because I feel like I sound a little different with the band and as like when I was with November May I felt that I sounded like you know, more like alternative, soulful, a little funky. Now what I’ve been doing is singer-songwriter stuff; I guess my style is storyteller with soul. A little folksy but not. I don’t know, my inspirations are drawn from various places, including like ‘80s music and Hebrew songs from JCC, Jewish camp.
QRO: What inspires you to write?
AL: Well, what inspires me to write now and what has been I mean are mostly just experiences either that I have been through or that people I know have been through, like I’ve actually written songs for other people who are about other people’s life you know, telling a story, like if it’s my story that’s great, if it’s another person’s story that’s great or made up stories like I just imagined something happening or how I would react or a collection of things that have happened over the course of whatever amount of time.
I like telling stories about real life or fictional life, a lot of it was about relationships but now it’s kind of transitioned. It went from just you know a lot of oh, heart break and you know, I’m suffering to now it’s emotions that I’m experiencing in quarantine and those trigger song ideas. I wrote about anxiety during quarantine, that was one of my first songs that got a lot of connectivity and traction during quarantine, people were like, “Alexa, I really like your song, I connect with it,” and people would start telling me that, since that song. Then I wrote some songs about thinking about death, about loneliness, about stress and just like all those feelings combined and then just kept writing. I wrote more and more and more. I just finished a song the other day about thinking about my future because music has become a priority.
I don’t know, my inspirations are drawn from various places, including like ‘80s music and Hebrew songs from JCC, Jewish camp.
QRO: When you sing, “She’s Gonna Be Fine” I feel the hurt from your gut, it’s a beautifully painful song, do you harvest the emotions of when you wrote that song right before you sing it?
AL: Yeah; “She’s Gonna Be Fine “is such a special song to me. I actually recorded it recently so it’s going to be on my EP that I release, out of the four songs and trying to replicate how I sing it in person is not easy when you’re in a room by yourself, and I’ve noticed that I sing that song very differently depending on the audience and when the audience is engaged in my story telling like I can feel it throughout the night, I tend to sing it with more backing so when I start to sing that song, I don’t know if I’m conjuring up emotions but that song makes me sing emotionally because I know the words, they’re very measured and that song is based on a true story so it’s very easy for me to fall into it.
I recorded it originally and then showed it to someone and they were like, “Alexa the pacing is kind of fast, can you redo it?” and I was like, ‘Shoot,’ you know, I really like the way that this sounds, I did some cool stuff with my voice but she was right. I didn’t draw the same emotional pull that I do when I’m in person and I don’t know why, I think I was just too excited to record it so last night, I re-recorded it and you can hear me like almost crying in it. Yeah, that song always makes me want to cry when I sing it. It takes a lot of out of me. When I’m done singing it, I feel like I can take a nap or go crawl in a corner and just keep crying or something.
QRO: What is your favorite song to perform and why?
AL: There’s a mix. “She’s Gonna Be Fine” is one of my favorites to perform now, just because it tends to silence a room and there’s something special to be said about that for me because I’ve never been able to command a space as much as that song’s given me the power to do so.
Beyond that song, I really like singing “Sunrise”, it’s also new, it’s one of the new ones because when I sing that, there’s a part that’s like with you, with you, with you, like I yell it and now everyone yells it with me, but my favorite that’s kind of always been my favorite to sing with everybody has probably been “MIA”. I wrote that on the ukulele, and everybody’s just has always been really down to sing along and I love when the audience comes into the picture and sings it with me. There’s something special about even strangers who don’t know the song start to sing it, it just is a nice community exercise.
QRO: You play the ukulele and more recently learned to play guitar; are there any more instruments you have thought about playing in the future? (In my view, a keyboard is set up next to her)
AL: I was telling somebody the story on a podcast that I did recently about my dad supporting my music. There’s more backstory to that but basically lately, my family, my friends have kind of all been into this dream of mine and I was thinking about getting a keyboard for a while. When quarantine started, I just, I wanted to learn everything and then I saw a friend of mine play the keyboard and I was like, oh my god I want one so badly and I was like, oh well you know if I have a keyboard and the band wants to come over then my keyboardist doesn’t have to drag his, then I’ll have it so I just have all these random instruments that everybody can, so now I’ve got to get drums or something.
Quarantine stopped from a lot of things being delivered and I ordered this keyboard about three months ago. My dad got it for me as like a, I want to support your dream kind of gift and I was like, are you sure? Like, I was going to get it anyway but like, are you sure? I was going to go broke dad. And I fell in love with this one and I ordered it and I was like, this thing is never coming in, ever. On that podcast I just did, I mentioned the keyboard and like two days later, after that podcast aired, I get the call from Sweetwater that it was in and it was being shipped. It got here on Halloween, but I couldn’t open the box yet and on November 1st I opened it for the first time, and I haven’t moved from this spot.
When I’m done singing it, I feel like I can take a nap or go crawl in a corner and just keep crying or something.
QRO: During quarantine, you have made new musician friends and have brought them to share your stage; how does it feel to be a talent scout of sorts and do you think it is something you would like to continue to do?
AL: I’ve been very lucky and it’s funny because your question lead into my day. Tonight, is my ‘90s night, which is why I’m rocking the Jurassic Park shirt (I love it) for my zoom open mic that I’ve been doing since April. I’ve done a lot of stuff during quarantine, I did a song writer exchange, I did an Instagram takeover for Make Music Miami, I did some weird Jewish events, I got called the funky Zionista and I was like a little bit like, alright, chill that’s a little too much for me. Any chance I got to make music, I tried to do during quarantine; I dressed as Elsa for god’s sakes.
All of these things that I did then lead to people coming to my open mic night from all of these different resources so during the song exchange, that person, her name is Rew, came on to my open mic like I went on to hers and she came to mine and then she brought her friends who are now are regulars of my night. Rock-n-Roll Johnny always likes to be called out but all these people you know, come on and they were supporting me while I was trying to do my song writing lessons like trying to teach people how to write lyrics and to write music or to write songs.
I tried different stuff and these people supported me and when I got a chance to go on a stage I could have played by myself for three hours but I was like, you know why not share the love with some of the people who have made quarantine more manageable so people like Clover, April I already knew before quarantine who just went on stage with me, my friend Cynthia same thing before quarantine, Luis was a friend of mine and then he brought the flute player in. This whole network of people that have just been supporting each other during quarantine are the ones I put up on stage, like you didn’t have to show up to my open mic night, it was helpful if I didn’t know you already or wasn’t too familiar with your music because Bar Nancy is a scared place for me like, I worked there pre-quarantine that’s my family, that’s my home, so who I bring into it is important to me like if you’re a jerk or an asshole, I’m not going to put you on stage with me and everybody’s attitude changes from day to day so you could have been nice prior to quarantine and then become not the nicest person.
I’ve just gotten lucky, I’ve met all these talented people and I’ve gotten a chance to put them on a stage and I’ve tried to get them paid as much as I can, it’s not easy but I’m trying to create the opportunity for them. Honestly, it gets exhausting so as much as I want to say I’m going to keep scouting talent, I just keep hoping that I get lucky that people show up either to the open mic that I’ve never met before that live in Miami or that somebody introduces me to someone just because of the networking opportunities here because talent can be easy to find in Miami but talent with a heart and a solid, kind personality that’s not the easiest to find like people who aren’t out just for themselves I guess is what I’m saying. I feel very lucky for the people I’ve met Honestly, if Johnny didn’t live in New York, I’d put him on a stage in a heartbeat, if Rew didn’t live in New York, same thing. If my new California friends didn’t live in Cali – stage. I wish I could put more people on the stage that I’ve gotten to meet through quarantine.
I’ve just gotten lucky, I’ve met all these talented people and I’ve gotten a chance to put them on a stage and I’ve tried to get them paid as much as I can.
QRO: If you had your choice of an artist to collaborate with, who would it be?
AL: Like Famous? Are we talking dead or alive? For a living artist, the first person who came to mind is Lady Gaga. I don’t know why that was the first name that came to my head, but I think it’s just because I admire her musical style like a lot. The way she sings, that would be amazing. I want to see how she writes. So probably her, I can’t even like think of anyone right now if you’d had asked me a while ago, I would have been like Meatloaf or Queen. Apparently, Lady Gaga because that’s where my mind just went.
Alex is finalizing her four song EP and her release party is scheduled on January 1st at none other than Bar Nancy.
The four songs are “Sunrise”, “She’s Gonna Be Fine”, “Sage & Wine” and “Who Knows Me”. I was trying to tell a story and it was written in the same time period so I guess the idea is that the person you’re enjoying the time with somebody, know that they’re going to leave, they leave, she’s going to be fine, she cleanses her space and then she’s like, who even knows me anyway so it’s like the story.
Please come out to support Alexa and other talented local artists Friday nights at Bar Nancy on Calle Ocho. Bar Nancy is a great spot for drinks, food and live music. If you are hungry, The Cheese Stands Alone serves amazing grilled cheese sandwiches and if you’re vegan, don’t worry, Amanda has you covered.