Alexis Foxe is a musical provocateur. Every song on “To Have and Want More” has a flavor all it’s own. From the 1940’s Big Band feel of the title track to the futurist pop synth style of “Revel Without a Cause,” Foxe shows her unique capacity to blend a wide variety of sounds.
Alexis was destined to be influenced by cultures from all over the world. She was born to a Cuban mom and a Colombian dad. As a child, she lived in Buenos Aires and Madrid and Spanish was her first language. She started playing piano at an early age and says, “I grew up dancing ballet and flamenco, writing and making films. My parents really encouraged my individuality and creativity. But I didn’t sing a note until I was 20 years old. Can you imagine? Not a peep until I was 20.”
The family moved to New York when Alexis was 11. Her mother worked in the music industry, so she spent her adolescent years doing what a lot of teens would dream of; listening to music demos and going to concerts. Alexis soon fell in love with US Cinema. She says, “I learned to speak English by watching films. I became fascinated by how language was manipulated and began to notice how exquisitely music could be used to enhance the story. I started to think of music as the second language of the film. I knew from an early age that I wanted to do something with music and film.”
At the age of 18, Alexis packed her bags for Poughkeepsie, New York. She enjoyed her year at Vassar College, but Spain was calling to her. In Spain, she managed the rock band Pop Sonic, and learned how difficult it can be to make your mark in music. She was torn by the desire to become a musician herself and the knowledge of what a difficult road it can be. Unsure of what to do next, Alexis took a temporary job at the Rock in Rio festival in Brazil. The musicians she met inspired her so much that she decided music was what she wanted to do with her life. She knew it was important to have a college degree too, so she enrolled at the prestigious London School of Economics--Mick Jagger’s alma mater--and emerged three years later with a degree in philosophy. During her stay in London, Alexis realized she was spending more time hitting the clubs, than hitting the books. Music was becoming more of a necessity in her life. She jumped at the chance to work with legendary producer Richard Nile, who has worked with Paul McCartney, Tina Turner and Ray Charles, among others. Nile was impressed with Foxe’s lyrics. Together, they produced the album eponoymouseponymous.
After five years in London, it was time for Alexis to go to New York. Her bass player, Mike Visceglia, introduced her to producer/arranger Gary Schreiner. The two hit it off and decided to work together. They formed a band and started playing the downtown clubs. As luckfate would have it, Russ Titelman, (producer for Eric Clapton, Cyndi Lauper, George Harrison, etc.) showed up for their second gig. Titelman liked what he saw on stage and signed Foxe to a production deal. With the help of top notch musicians like the Pizzarelli Trio, the album, “To Have and Want More” was born. “To Have and Want More” is a collection of stories from an international girl trying to find her way in the world. “Down the Drain” will appeal to generation of people who are used to living on credit cards. This is a brassy, energetic tune that has the feel of a 1940’s big band. The lyrics are sassy and insightful, “My mother tells me that my spending habits, are as wild as copulating rabbits.”
She continues with, “Budgeting is such a bore, I may have it all, but I want more.” Foxe was heavily influenced by musicals written by George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Cole Porter. “I love listening to these composers because their style of writing is highly crafted and deliberate. Their songs are thematically very compact and not a word is wasted. I write songs that have some of these same qualities and give them a modern feel.
I like to write about subjects that everyone understands; things like love, loss, money, fun and identity.” “Revel Without a Cause” is an instantly memorable pop fairytale. You can imagine it being played in a club in New York right alongside Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again” and Blondie’s “Dreaming.” The rich piano and orchestra sounds provide a grand backdrop to Foxe’s lush vocals. “Cynic” is the story of a woman who disdains love until she truly falls for someone in spite of her attitude. Like her other songs, the lyrics tell the whole story in a few short lines, The day we met rearranged men You said my name and you changed me Now I’m a believer A lover and a dreamer.
With the music video for “Cynic,” Foxe was able to make her childhood Cinematic Pop dreams a reality. The video has a vintage Film Noir look at it’s got a storyline with a wicked twist at the end. “I was finally able to bring the music and visuals together in a way that told the entire story,” she says. “When I was in Colombia, I met Daniela Riascos, the younger sister of a dear friend of mine. She was going to Tisch School of the Arts, and the music video for Cynic became her senior thesis. She goes on to say, “I want to create music that people can instantly relate to on one level and at the same time transports them to a completely new reality. I want them to hear my songs and maybe just think about one tiny piece of their day in a completely new way.”
“’To Have and Want More’” is an exploration of some of the universal themes that people deal with in every country around the globe. It is also my journey of finding myself as a musician and as a woman of the world” Foxe says with a knowing smile.
How do you describe your music to people, Alexis?
I call it cinematic pop.
Tell me more about how you originally got into your craft.
I've always been a writer. I've always loved language. I've also always loved film and photography. Music is a language to me that comes alive when I can see it as a film or as an image in my mind, heart and soul. Writing lyrics and melodies and making music was the natural combination of all my loves. However, I didn't start singing til I was 20. I didn't know I could. One night I was at a studio working on a song with some producers and there was no one else to sing the song but me. So I got up on the mic and the rest is history.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
The lack of funds, and sometimes time.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I've always said I was going to be an artist. Even before I knew what it meant. My grandmother remembers me being very young and always telling people I was going to be 'una artista.'
In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
It informs what my daily experience is, which is what I write about. I'm a part of many different communities. I'm multi-cultural, having grown up in Spain, Argentina, New York and London. That diversity is instantly identifiable in the content of the songs, both lyrically and musically. The one unifying string throughout my songs and throughout my participation in my different communities is my point of view.
What other artists out there do you love?
The Black Keys, Gorrillaz, Florence and The Machine, Diplo, Kelis, Sleigh Bells, Lady Gaga, Rusko, MIA, Lykke Li, Mark Ronson, Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, The White Stripes, Adele, Julian Casablancas
What does your future hold?
The freedom to create timeless work on a massive, global scale until the day I...