An Interview with Multi-Talented Los Angeles Musician and Composer Andrae Alexander
Read on to learn more about Andrae Alexander, an artist with an incredible history and an unstoppable future in the music industry...
1. Your Bio says you performed for the Crown Prince of Norway. Please tell us about that experience.
I was in the Navy Band of Washington, DC and we were flown to Oslo, Norway for an event. The location for the gathering was a beautiful banquet hall with extremely high ceilings, chandeliers, an extremely attentive staff, great food, the works! When you do an event for Royalty, you have to process the attendees to their seats, from the lowest to highest ranking person present. We literally played a waltz while all of the attendees walked to seats. After they all were at their seats, they started to waltz (dance), Cinderella-style, to the music we were playing. Seeing royalty in their full regalia, in what looked like 1800s Elizabethan ball gowns, while dancing is a scene I will remember forever. After the processional, the DJ took over and the party turned all the way up. I was pleasantly surprised to see how easy the transition was from extremely formal to partying like it was 1999. The party went on well into the next morning.
2. You have been the musical director for several plays. How did you get started in this field?
Even though I did my first musical directing gig at about 19, I started being the musical director for professional musicals when I was hired as the Musical Director for Amazing Grace Conservatory, founded by Wendy Raquel Robinson and Tracy Lamar Coley. I have been with them for over 7 years working with world-class young actors like Ashton Sanders. My favorite play to date was Wicked.
3. Tell us about working with Debbie Allen.
I was able to work with her through a former teacher and mentor of mine, Mr. Terrence Lee Jones, he was her Musical Director. I got to help her with some music for a production she was working on. It really does not take much for me to be star struck, but I remember being introduced to her while working in her studio that was set up in her pool house. She walks in, Mr. Jones introduces her, she then bows almost to the floor in the most epic display of awesome and I froze there staring at her with a huge Kool-aid smile for an awkward 5-10 secs of before I was able to put my hand out to say "hi". Said that to say, she is amazing and it was great to be in her energy.
4. You have accomplished so much, what are your future goals with music?
My goals will never change, to create the best music that I can. After it's created, I want to give it the best opportunity to see the light of the world stage that I can. Major motion pictures, Major artists, Television shows, and series. The purpose for me is to spread the feeling of love and appreciation that I feel every day for being able to live my life to everyone, hoping that they can internalize that feeling and pass it on.
5. Please tell us more about the upcoming Central Jazz Festival in LA?
I perform on Sunday at 4:15 pm on the Tito Puente stage with a group of phenomenal musicians. It's my first time playing a festival as a solo artist and I am extremely excited to share what we have.
6. Your new single is so catchy and uplifting. Is there a story behind this song?
Well, the basic story is that I was called to work on a song for a film about love on an island. In order for me to write, I have to know the feeling that I want to convey, so I decided to write about the feeling you get when love is perfect. For me, that means simple and easy, like when you were in elementary school and things were innocent. Not hating, my opinion is that technology has taken the simplicity of 2 humans showing interest in each other and made it into something too complicated.
7. Who would you like to collaborate with next?
Beyonce, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Ahmad Jamal, Chris Brown, Frank Ocean, H.E.R., BJ the Chicago Kid, Daniel Ceaser, etc... This is a short list of people that I see as great at what they do and my list grows daily. One of my favorites that most people may not know is Nao, she is beast.
8. Do your students get involved with your professional music and do they seek advice from you?
My students are brilliant and are constantly seeking advice. As far as them getting involved with me professionally, only after they graduate. Once they graduate we are peers and I am glad to work with them.
9. Anything you would like to share with our readers?
Live your dreams, the only thing holding you back is you. Even the limitations that our family and friends share with us has nothing to do with us, break your mental ceiling and go higher than you ever dreamed possible.
10. Any advice for up and coming artists?
Learn everything, how to mix, how to make the music and write the songs, how to play an instrument or two, how to market and brand, how to use photoshop, how to edit video, how to use a camera to take great pictures, etc. Not being able to do all of these things keep us believing that voice in our head that says "I could make it if...". Also, invest in yourself, that is money, time, relaxation, education, happiness, whatever you need.