In The Spotlight: Alexis Hightower

Another spotlight for y'all! As always, if you are or know of an upcoming musical artist, designer, producer, etc., that should be featured on the blog, please email me at BrittanyShawnte@ gmail.com (allow time for response).

I want you all to check out singer Alexis Hightower! Combining classic jazz, soul, and a tiny bit of hip hop, this unique, talented singer is definitely one to look out for!

Born in Nashville but raised in Oakland, CA and then L.A., Alexis’ parents got her started in music. Though they weren’t musicians themselves, they constantly listened and played music, which Alexis loved. “My parents loved to entertain, and music was always a big part of that,” she said. “I felt very early on, probably from the time I was four or five, that music would be an important part of my life.”

While her parents were huge fan of classic soul artists like Marvin Gaye, Roberta Flack, James Brown and more, Alexis’ cousins and sister introduced her to other artists as well like Led Zeppelin, Sinead O’Connor, and N.W.A. Growing up around these eclectic sounds inspired Alexis’ own music and creativity. “I think you can hear the laid back, layered California thing in there,” Alexis said of her own sound. “I like for my music to be tight and focused, but I also need a sense of space in my music, and that's definitely the Cali in me.”

Alexis’ upcoming album, Girl Next Door, is set for release on November 25 (I plan to have a review up for you all on Friday!), and will be sure to reflect a diverse amount of sounds! “One day I realized that I had this collection of songs and that they were kind of a complete thought, or more like a journey,” she said of the album. “I finally felt like I had ten songs that were good enough to see the light of day. Also, they had a shape when you put them together in a certain order.” Working with artists like trumpet player Duane Eubanks and Gerry Leonard, Alexis wrote most of the songs herself, as well as arranged parts and played on them as well. Her hope for listeners with this album? “I guess what I really want is for the listener to be able to press play and leave the album going until it's over. Otherwise, why make an album?”

Currently, the singer is working on some remixes from the album, and collaborating with some producers to create new material. She is also working on a film project that should be released in spring 2015!

As far as what separates her from other artists, Alexis feels that it’s her unique way of telling a story that makes her stand out.” I really love great lyrics and putting feeling into every word. I think autotune is fine, but sometimes I wish I could understand the lyrics more,” she said. “Also, I am very hands-on. I have no idea what it's like for other artists, but I like knowing my way around a mixing board, a drum kit, a keyboard, whatever it takes. That's fun for me.” Alexis joked that “world domination” is her goal for the future but really just wants to be able to grow her audience, and travel the world creating and playing music. “Making music, making money, being with people you love, and having a good time-that's pretty much my definition of a sweet life,” she said. Sounds good to me!

You can hear more from Alexis on her official website and SoundCloud, as well as connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

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