What is that sound, you ask? Why, it is just the increasingly audible buzz surrounding singer Alekxandr.
The rising music star is armed not only with a spell check-defying name, but also a knack for coming up with wriggly earworm tunes.
In a catch-up with Attitude, Alekxandr, 28, opened up about his sexual awakening, writing about his ex (and their current partner!) and his latest ditty ‘Disney Love.’
Surprisingly, the London-based artist has never crushed on a Disney prince – not even Eric from A Little Mermaid – but he doesn’t mind putting his own slutty spin on Snow White.
We’re here for it.
Images: Jordan Eisbjerg/@jordaneisbjerg/Hair: Luke Castello @lukeccastillo
How would you describe your sound?
Blue, grey and pink. Or if I had to be a little less abstract, I might say it’s emotionally raw, luscious, art pop.
Can you remember when you first discovered music?
It was probably Madonna. When I was really young, I would help my mum do the housework on a Sunday whilst playing her best cassette, ‘The Immaculate Collection’. ‘Borderline’ was my favorite.
Which artist had the most impact on you growing up and why?
Björk. My mum had this lovely boyfriend for a few years who was so good with me. He introduced me to the Dungeons and Dragons video game and Björk when I was about eight. I had a massive poster of her on my bedroom wall. She set my imagination alight and her songs had the most incredible sounds I had ever heard. She has been an artistic inspiration to me ever since.
Which three songs would appear on the soundtrack to your life?
‘Hyperballad’ by Björk
It’s all about the personal rituals you need to do in order to be present with someone else. As an only child I’m used to spending lot of time alone, so I relate to the need for these private moments. The meaning I take from the song is that you have to look after your relationship with yourself so you can have a good relationship with someone else.
‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ by The Flamingos
When I first heard this on the radio it was as though time stood still. I ran upstairs to stream it again and dance with my boyfriend. I love the song's woozy, hallucinogenic haze that feels just like being intoxicated by someone. It's romanic and dreamy, my favourite things.
‘Substitute for Love’ by Madonna
I heard this at such a formative and exciting time in my life. I had fallen in love for the first time and we were at a post-rave chill out and this song was in the mix. I hadn't listened to Madonna in years and I had no idea it was her. I was becoming aware that there may be a choice between real love in relationships and the substitute for love in an audience’s applause.
Which song really spoke to you during your sexual awakening?
My sexual awakening was all about getting sweaty, grinding with boys on the dance floors of Cardiff gay bars, so ‘Rude Boy’ by Rihanna feels pretty accurate.
What was your coming out experience like? How did your friends and family react?
I was comparatively lucky, although I think the reason I truanted for the last three years of high school and therefore missed out on a chunk of formal education was due to fear of being found out and bullied. It was only once high school had officially ended that I felt free.
I was 14 when I came out to my mum. She was totally cool with it, however she had been a professional dancer through the 80s and had lost a lot of gay friends to AIDS so her concern was that I was safe.
I came out because I had such a crush on a boy in sixth form and just needed to talk about it. I told my best friend, certain that he was also gay and thinking that he would come out too. But he didn't. That happened years later...
Has your sexuality ever been a hurdle whilst trying to carve out a career in the music industry?
Not that I’m aware of. I’m at the beginning of putting my work out independently so I haven't had much to do with the industry. It’s the kind of thing that’s hard to know since people’s prejudices are often unspoken. I guess what is more revealing is to look at the decisions people in power make.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?
“Build a good name and your name will be its own currency” - Patti Smith
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STILL out now - Link in bio 💧💧💧💧💧💧💧💧💧 Things have been so murky Since the sea overcame the city Learning how to breathe hasn’t been easy Apparently it was a pipe from 1923 💧 Flung asunder fathomless depths A lucky swell throws us together And everything is alright Exhausted with relief I wake up 💧 STILL As you run into newness STILL As the forest you planted inside me grows STILL As my years advance me STILL And probably always 💧 Still wake up with you wherever I go Still wonder what would little king do Still waiting for your message on my telephone Hey, that show looks so cool, shall we go? Oh 💧 STILL As you run into newness STILL As the forest you planted inside me grows STILL As my years advance me STILL And probably always 💧 For me it you That’s what’s true For me it’s you There’s no decision where there’s no choice 💧 I’m still standing STILL As you run into newness STILL As the forest you planted inside me grows STILL As my years advance me STILL As the world gets covered in water STILL STILL And probably alwa a a a a a a a a ays 💧 #still #littleking #alekxandr #newness #streaming #now #independent #artist #deepsea #ink #words #lyrics #song #darkblue #barbican #rain #drowned #city #london #1923 #visions #visuals #dreams #nighmare #wakingdream #overwhelm #undersheets #always #tears #transformation
Your EP ‘Little King’ features the standout song, ‘Tell Jackson,’ tenderly addressing a former love who has moved on. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the track?
I had seen through the joys of social media that my ex was dating someone new called Jackson, which I thought was the most annoyingly brilliant name.
Back home in Cardiff I was spending some time with my first-ever boyfriend and now very good friend, Joe, and I asked him, “How am I supposed to get over this?” and he said, “You have to eventually find a way to be happy for them”. I knew he was right but wasn't sure how I was going to get there.
In time I started to get the strangest feelings of kinship and, bizarrely, love for this boy I had never met but felt energetically connected to by the man that we had both loved. On the train back to London the chorus came into my mind and I fleshed out the song over the next couple of months. It felt dangerous to make. Like playing with explosives, as though this boy’s name shouldn't be on my tongue. It was also scary to have to admit how much I still cared.
Has your ex heard the song and reached out to you about it?
I reached out to him once it was complete as I knew mutual friends would hear it and I wanted to let him know from me. Plus, a lot of time had passed and we had spoken a little. I went round to his house, we talked about our lives, about solving the puzzle of being happy, about the things we had learnt and I played him the song, which felt surreal for both of us but he was very supportive. I think his surprise came from the fact that he had never heard me sing. It used to be something I did secretly. The long process of making that song was healing.
Illustration: Mark Glasgow/@markglasgowillustration
What sparked the idea for your latest tune, ‘Disney Love’?
In the aftermath of what I thought was a gorgeous relationship I realised that the foundations of communication and mutual understanding weren't so strong. This put me in mind of classic Disney love, where the lovers are so high dancing through an enchanted forest but there’s not much talking or getting to know each other. In the song I’m tearing down Disney love whilst confessing that I want it. Making the song felt like a dark joke.
Who is your favorite Disney prince and why?
I don't actually know much about Disney and I certainly don't fancy any of the cartoon men! As a kid I loved Sleeping Beauty but that was just because of Maleficent.
Had any fairytale romances lately? Give us a happy ending.
I can’t, sorry. I can only offer ambivalent endings. I was having a pause on romance before lockdown as I had a few tricky life things going down but I am defiantly looking forward to making out with boys. Ultimately, I’m looking for the anti-fairytale. I want deep love that’s real and honest. No illusions.
I have a new single coming on 29 July. It’s called ‘Fireflies in Brooklyn’ and it’s about a chance encounter with a boy in New York laced with magic.