DRAWING from her love of Eastern and Western music…
LEXIS is someone who fuses a blend of sounds and sensations into the pot. Back to the Start is lo-fi and hushed and beckons the listener in. Lexis discusses her Persian background and the variety of music that has experience and the D.N.A. that goes into her own music. I learn more about how LEXIS almost became a doctor and decided to pursue music; how the 1970s and influential and pivotal in regards her creative drive and tastes – and the music she grew up on.
LEXIS looks ahead to new music and gigs; I ask whether mainstream music lacks real spark and imagination – she talks about albums like Rumours and how they have influenced her.
Hi, Lexis. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m good, thanks. I’ve had a great week releasing the single and I also moved out of my flat - so it’s been pretty busy.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m LEXIS. I’m a singer-songwriter from Solihull, near Birmingham.
Tell me a bit about Back to the Start. How did the single come together and what inspired it?
Back to the Start is a track I worked on with a Dutch producer called Coenraad Dingemans. It’s one of four tracks we recorded for my forthcoming E.P. The song reflects on a personal experience of a relationship growing apart - and I wanted it to deliver a message of hope that things could go back to a time when things were calmer and more straightforward.
I was lucky to work with some very talented musicians and old friends including Rikki Glover and David Klinke on Guitar; Philippe Clegg on Bass Guitar; Simeon Rodgers on Drums and Zartosht Safari playing the Persian Ney - which is a type of flute.
It was a really fun record to make...
The song has a 1970s sound and some Persian elements. Did it seem natural blending those elements into the song? What is it about the 1970s, especially, that appeals?
I think the 1970s was such an inspirational decade for modern music.
I love how sugary Pop artists shared the charts with artists like Fleetwood Mac and Bob Marley. My parents moved to the U.K. in the 1970s and I was lucky enough to listen to vinyl records they had kept hold of from that era - so it felt really natural blending the different elements into the song.
You have Persian roots and were born in Solihull in the 1980s. What was your upbringing like and what was it like growing up in the area?
I had a pretty normal upbringing. I loved my childhood and I’ve got so many great memories growing up in the area.
How much of your heritage and parents’ D.N.A. go into your music, would you say?
I feel very British and I identify a lot more with Western music than Persian music. However, the Eastern blend makes the record more true to me and distinctive.
Did you grow up in a musical household? Typically, what type of music/albums would you be listening to?
My brother and I were really musical. I played piano and guitar and he played piano and violin; so there was always music being played at home. My parents had this vinyl record player in their kitchen and a large collection of vinyl records. I remember; I would play Queen and Fleetwood Mac o-repeat when they were out.
They also had some traditional Persian music - which I remember them listening to.
Is it true you almost became a doctor? What compelled the decision to pursue music instead?!
So, I actually completed my medical training but I’ve always had a passion for music - and I couldn’t live without it! I won a songwriting competition whilst doing my medical degree in Birmingham - which led to me to move to London to study music and songwriting.
You studied at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in London. How important was your time there and what did it feel like being surrounded by so many like-minded artists?
It was a hugely influential and poignant time for me.
I made friends for life and met so many talented musicians; some of whom have helped me put together my forthcoming E.P. I don’t think I would be where I am now if it wasn’t for that experience and meeting so many talented and inspiring people.
Can we expect an E.P. very soon? Can you reveal anything about the titles and stories on the E.P.?
My E.P. is ready to go so keep your ears and eyes peeled. The stories reflect on personal experiences and my roots - and you’ll hear Persian and string instruments.
I can’t wait for people to hear it.
Your music has a unique edge and is a lot more ambitious than what is out there. Do you think the mainstream lacks real character – or are you a fan of the artists playing at the moment?
Thank you. I think there are a lot of talented artists in the mainstream who are also great musicians and songwriters. There will always be trends in music but it’s really challenging for independent artists to compete with the mainstream acts who are backed by big record labels.
Having said that, I believe there’s always space for something new and different to come along!
What tour dates do you have coming up? Where can we all catch you play?
I hope to arrange some dates in the run-up to the E.P. launch - so watch this space.
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Fleetwood Mac’s – Rumours is a timeless masterpiece and reminds me of my childhood
I feel that Oasis’ Definitely Maybe defined the Britpop era and growing up in the 1990s
Laura Marling’s Alas, I Cannot Swim is a beautiful acoustic Folk album which really inspired me to get into songwriting
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Be yourself, have fun. Never give up and support fellow artists.
Christmas is approaching. Do you all have plans already or will you be busy working?
I’ve not made any plans yet but I’d like to focus on more songwriting over the winter months (and releasing my E.P.).
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Saharan King is a cool record from an unsigned Birmingham band called Lycio