Sometimes you run across a singer/songwriter who has such a strong connection with their fan base, it is almost otherworldly. Alexandra Kay is such an artist.
Alexandra Kay hails from the small town of Waterloo, Illinois right outside of St. Louis. Like most people I’ve interviewed, Kay grew up singing in church. At a young age, she discovered she had a gift for creative writing/poetry. Her work was entered into contests for young writers. She got some national recognition from her short stories, and her parents were like, “Okay, She ‘s a pretty creative kid.”
Like many her age, Kay was greatly influenced by Taylor Swift. She wrote down her feelings in a journal and many of these poems eventually turned into songs.
She reflected, “I don't know if I'd necessarily call myself good back then, but I was definitely doing it a whole lot back then and still right from the heart today.”
In her free time, she would go to the movies, listen to music, and drive the backroads.
“It was a slow and safe kind of life to grow up in,” she advised.
By age 15, she had an agent and did voice-overs and commercial work.
Because of her proximity to St. Louis, Kay’s first foray into music as a professional was via R&B/Hip-Hop. There wasn’t much room for country music there. Singer Nelly had created a platform for independent Hip-Hop artists, and she jumped onto that bandwagon. In 2013, Kay got a record deal as an R&B artist, but she soon realized that she was writing country music that was just being produced as R&B/Hip-Hop. Her first single, “No More” is proof of her pop leanings.
She advised, “I was very inexperienced as an artist and as a singer in general. Sometimes I listen back to those recordings and I'm like, ‘Oh, my God, it doesn't even sound like the same person.’"
She confirmed that it was God’s plan that she leave the label and by 2015 she was on her own again. Before the influence of TikTok and Instagram reels, she started creating cover videos of 90s country music on her parents’ staircase and posted them on Facebook. When her cover of “Jolene” went viral, she knew she had found her home in country music.
As an independent artist, Kay has experienced unparalleled success with singles such as “Backroad Therapy” (which she performed at her Opry debut) and “How Do We Go.” As they playfully get back at their former beaus, Kay teamed up with Spotlight artist, Julia Cole, to bring us “Best Worst Ex,” a song to which many can relate as evidenced by its millions of streams.
In 2021, Kay married her longtime boyfriend and was featured in People Magazine. That spurred the self-penned wedding song, “That’s What Love Is” which debuted at #1 on the iTunes country chart and #3 on the all-genre chart.
Unfortunately, a few months in, Kay realized that her marriage wasn’t all that it was supposed to be. She had had a difficult time navigating her new reality, but as we all know, breakups are often the catalyst for the best songs in the world.
As she has released segments of the songs from her debut album, All I’ve Ever Known, (out 10/26/2023) the response to the clips she has shared has been overwhelming. If the lyrics to the song “Everleave” are any indication, the album is a masterpiece. With words like If you were here, I wouldn’t be/ It took losing you to find me/ Cause all I’ve ever known is fit the mold, play the role/ Be a good wife, wash your clothes/ Turn this house into a home/ All I’ve ever know is put your needs before my own her honesty is somewhat painful to listen to, but also reassuring if you going through the same thing.
The song, “She Stayed” is a tribute to her best friend, Lindsey Ledbetter. You will be a mess once you hear it. If you have a best friend like that, you are blessed indeed.
Kay informed, “In this album, I do get personal into my own life. And I'm going to be honest, I was very, very terrified because of how personal this record is to me. I was like, ‘Is it too specific? Is it not going to relate to anyone else because it's too specific to things that happened in my life?’”
But since she has been teasing her new music on social media, people have told her, “It’s like you took this straight from my life.” In one recent clip from TikTok that has had more than 4 million views, the comments alone prove how many people find Kay’s lyrics relatable.
She told me, “I wanted to be a songwriter and do for others what Taylor Swift did for me.” Her songs do that and more.
In her press release she stated, “All I’ve Ever Known is honesty. It’s a peek behind the curtain to an old kitchen window in a town of 4,000 people where I lived the past 10 years of my life. It is who I was, who I’ve become, and everything in between. This album is the most raw, vulnerable, and wide-open I have ever been when creating music, which can be terrifying and healing at the same time. I am so excited to connect with so many beautiful humans and watch the healing power of music as we tour this album in the fall.”
I wanted to know if she still sang her wedding song at her concerts. And though she no longer watches the video she advised, “I really disassociated a bit from ‘That’s What Love Is.’ I just look at it now as a song that I wrote for [my fans]. I try to find the beauty in everything. Now I look at it as not a song about my wedding, but a song that thousands of people have walked down the aisle to or used as their first dance as a couple. So, it's just as joyous as when I put it out, and I still love performing it regardless.”
Alexandra’s debut album includes tracks produced by Andrew Capra, Andrew Baylis, and Jason Massey. The Netflix alum wrote on all 11 of the deeply personal tracks. The All I’ve Ever Known Tourwill feature Spotlight artist Jordana Bryant and Haley Mae Campbell, in more than 30 stops across the U.S.
In conclusion, she confirmed, “You know it’s all in God's plan. And we're not supposed to understand it at times. I'm just putting my faith first. And that's what I'm clinging to in these moments. My tour starts in eight days, and I feel like I'm going to come out on the other side, feeling like I'm living my purpose, feeling like I'm more healed after singing these words every night.”
If you are ready for some meaningful country music, All I’ve Ever Known is a record you can’t miss. If you are struggling with a failed relationship, the album might be the life raft that you didn’t know you needed.
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1. Painted Him Perfect
3. More Than You
5. I Hate Airplanes
6. Happy Once
7. How Do We Go
8. Kiss Me Goodnight
9. All I've Ever Known
10. She Stayed
11. I Can Do Anything