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Little girl with a huge voice
by Asa Butcher
2006-11-23 11:52:09
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Alexandra Alexis has just turned 21 and she is a welcome blast of sunshine on this wintry Helsinki day. Her personality bubbles like a Jacuzzi on max and she is bursting with a confidence that you would not believe possible of her diminutive physique - she even has a secret weapon: a voice so powerful that it gives her self-belief a foundation constructed from Finnish granite.

"My voice is surprisingly soulful and deep for my age. Many times singers get a certain sound with age and it changes into a warmer sound, but many younger singers don't have that. My voice is surprisingly deep and developed," smiles Alexandra Alexis, "I can hit the low notes and I can hit the high notes!" It seems as though she has it all; what could she possible want for Christmas, "A record contract!" she immediately replies.

She has been an American girl in Finland for the past five years and can lay claim to three nationalities, thanks to a French father, Finnish mother and a birthplace in the USA. Her move from New York to Helsinki gave her the opportunity to pursue her dream, plus, she believes, "In a small country doors open quicker than they would, say in New York. It has made me just go for it. I've been singing and performing over the past four or five years. The second I got gigs and was noticed, I thought, 'This it!'"

"I'm a go-getter!" she laughs, but that almost felt like an injustice to her drive and passion, "In this business there is so much competition, so you must be ready to put in the time and the commitment. There are people like Kelly Osborne, who release an album but after that nothing. If it's not really in your heart and you're not really, really passionate and do gigs whether or not you'll get paid, then you're not in it for the right reasons. There have been plenty of gigs I have done for free because I wanted the exposure, and I am happy that I did."

"When I was 15, I started going out, going to the right parties, meeting the right people, immediately marketing myself and talking about doing projects. I got my first gig at a club called Fever and someone saw me there and invited me to Helsinki Club, and then someone saw me there and it kind of took off," Alexandra recollects fondly, "People started asking me to do more gigs because I was doing something different. I was singing cover songs of R&B artists, like Beyoncé, but I had dancers, a choreographed show with songs, live singing and performing. Nobody was doing that."

Today, she is writing and performing her own material, plus oversees the studio work, "I have producers who do all the background instruments and compose the song, but I am involved in that process too. I like to be there all the time, so you can see how the project grows because it gives you more perspective of what you are doing." She playfully describes Finland as 'a bump in the road' because it is not her main objective, "I would love to hit Asia, I would love to hit Europe and, of course, the States - that's something to think about in ten years. Right now, Europe and Asia are very do-able and I have had a very good response from both of them."

"You can only get so far in Finland and you can only hit that many people, but if you do the same amount of work in Asia, selling a few records there is like a few thousand versus here, which is a couple of hundred, so the immediate success you can have there fascinates me," explains Alexandra enthusiastically. "Also, there are no cultural boundaries, even though I am so different, they embrace that instead of here, where it can affect the way a career goes or what jobs you get or how they typecast you. In Asia, they are so open that you never hit a wall with, 'I don't speak Thai' or 'I don't speak Chinese' - there, it is just like: bring it on!"

"I have seen some of the local artists here in Finland and they can't get the energy vibe going with the audience; there is something like a block. Recently at Studio 51, I also noticed that when you speak English to the audience it's almost as though now you are credible," observes Alexandra. "There was Roni, who was in Finnish Idols. He is half Asian-half Finnish and he sings in English, but he is Finnish and has lived here his whole life, but when he asked the crowd in Finnish, 'How are you guys doing?' it was like dead silent. He then said the same thing in English and the crowd erupted. I was like, 'What is that?' It's as though they don't see him as Finnish or he's not sincere if he is singing in English and speaks Finnish. English just works, I don't know why."

Alexandra hasn't only been performing in nightclubs during her time in Finland. She took part in American Idols and starred in the musical Hairspray at the Finnish National Theatre in Helsinki, "I did that for a year. We had rehearsals for half a year and then the show for a year and that was unbelievable. I learnt a lot, like having to look slightly up or the people in the balcony will think you are staring at your feet," she laughs.

Her enthusiasm and passion are infectious, but my pessimistic nature has to ask about a Plan B, "I don't have a Plan B!" she exclaims. "I don't have anything else and some people think are you crazy, but the minute I have to go out and get a second job and get extra money to pay my bills, for me, it is like a weakness. Okay, now I am giving in and it's taking time away from making phone calls or practising; something that I could be doing something to get me to my goal. I think that is what will get you to your goal."

Fate and destiny are two of Alexandra's beliefs and I was wondering whether she had a hand in changing these by deciding to choose a stage name, "This is my real name! Alexandra Alexis! Can you believe it!" she says laughing, "It's something I hated when I was a kid, 'Oh I'm such a loser, no-one has a name like me, it sucks and everyone is going to make fun of me.' It was just a weird sounding name, but now it is interesting. That's the other advantage of having a different name: people meet you once and will remember you forever."

Alexandra Alexis performs tonight (Friday November 10th) at Club Fennia, Espoo, Finland:
Visit the site for more details here: Club Fennia

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Click here to listen to the Ovi Bad Boys radio interview with Alexandra Alexis


Alexandra's MySpace Page

Here are some mp3 clips of her latest music:

This Feelin
(X-tended Music S.Vepsäläinen,Y.Lossini,Lyrics A.Alexis)

This Love
(Production: A.Honkanen Lyrics:A.Alexis)

Lose Control
(X-tended Music S.Vepsäläinen,Y.Lossini,Lyrics A.Alexis)

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Get it off your chest
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Ergotelina2006-11-12 02:01:41
The new finnish Diva..
I love it..
What a noble name...

What about a cooperation with Lordi?...


Asa2006-11-12 10:35:01
According to her MySpace page, she has worked with Lordi, but I didn't pursue that in the interview. Maybe she can answer for herself in the comments.

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