Meet Alexx Calise! She’s the oober talented musician whose songs you may have heard on shows like One Tree Hill & Dance Moms! I sat down with her to talk about being a young talented artist and what it takes to make it in an extremely competitive field.
What did you go to school for? What did you study?
For middle school and high school, I went to a broadcasting and communications magnet program where I studied TV production, video editing, photography, and journalism (this has actually proven to be extremely beneficial for my music career–I’ve edited/produced some of my own digital content). Then, I continued on the same path for college with multimedia journalism. During high school and college, I also wrote for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, where I had my own entertainment column. I left college my 4th year to move to Los Angeles and pursue my career in music.
Did you always want to be a musician?
I actually thought I’d end up a writer. I suppose I have for all intents and purposes, except now I’m mostly a songwriter. At first, I picked up the guitar merely to facilitate my writings and bring them to life, but then I really fell in love with my instrument and got to know it intimately. The rest is history. Music awoke something in my soul that journalism and article writing simply never could. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed doing all of that, but in my heart of hearts, music is really the only thing that can ever make me truly happy.
Who are some musicians or people who inspire you?
My father is truly my greatest inspiration. I picked up the guitar because my dad played, and I wanted to be just like him when I was growing up. I know this sounds sappy, but my dad is one of the most caring, giving, motivated, and talented people I’ve ever met, and the greatest man I’ve ever known.
As far as musicians go, I love so many artists: Silverchair, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Foo Fighters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang, Pink Floyd, ELO. The list goes on and on.
How were you able to get your songs featured on shows like Dance Moms and One Tree Hill?
I belong with several different licensing agencies that help to place indie artists’ music in film and TV. Usually they don’t tell you whenever a song is placed, so I’ll end up either hearing my songs randomly while watching TV, or friends and/or fans will tell me they’ve heard it somewhere. That’s how I found out about the One Tree Hill and Dance Moms placements.
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you during a performance?
I’ve had a bunch of crazy stuff happen during live shows, but one of the funnier things was throwing my super long hair back while I was singing, and getting it stuck in my other guitar player’s tuning keys. It completely detuned his guitar and made the rest of the song sound horrible. Being the consummate professionals that we are, we continued playing through the song as if nothing happened, but it sounded like a complete and utter aural abomination.
Where would you like your career to be in 5 years?
Ideally, I’d love to be touring the world, and I’d love for my music to be recognized on a much grander scale. I see myself continuing to write for myself and others, maybe starting my own label/licensing agency, and franchising my kids party company.
What advice would you give to a young woman who really wants to tackle the music industry?
You really have to be in this for the love and nothing else. Choose another career if you’re in it for the money or security. There is very little of that in this industry.
You also have to be extremely motivated and driven. These days, in addition to being awesome at what you do, you also have to be your own PR person, booking agent, manager, accountant, creative director and label, so be prepared to do a lot of hard work and wear a ton of hats.
Most importantly, though, practice! You need to be ready for that call, so get your material down pat, and be able to play it backward and forward. Most everything in this business is last minute, so don’t think for a second that you’ll probably have some time to prepare if you score some awesome opportunity.