THE excellent Reuben Alexander…
has been talking about his new single, Always There (with Livin Out Loud), and what sort of thing we will find from the record, In Reality (out later in the year) – he reveals which albums and artists have been important to him.
Alexander tells me whether we’ll see him in the U.K. soon; what it is like being seen as one of America’s best-kept secrets; some newer artists that are worth a look; how he spends time away from music – he provides some great advice for ambitious artists emerging.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I am Reuben Alexander. I consider myself to be an artistic entrepreneur in the new music industry model (artist, producer; entrepreneur and speaker). I use passion and a sense of humor to express who I am through life experiences. I truly believe family comes first. I originally started out as the creative producer for the group Livin Out Loud, creating and producing with my brother and sister. Now, as Reuben Alexander, I’m putting a new spin on my life - continuing to create and connect with others.
Always There is your new single. Can you reveal the story and how it came into your mind?
The lyrics "always there" is nowhere to be found in the song: it is a sentiment to the feeling tone I had in my relationship. The music represents a self-empowerment I had moving forward in life. The song is a reflection that I was always there. Also; I will continue to be always there and not lose myself.
In Reality is out later this year. What themes and stories did you collate for the record?
The themes and stories that come to mind are love, self-empowerment and being introspective. The videos that we’ve released take on an almost sequential order of different stages of love. It starts from beginning to end and back to new beginnings. The self-empowerment and introspective part is really a tone that is a constant throughout the record. You hear it right away in the lyrics for the single, Always There: “As I wake up in this reality...”. This is a way to express that life is always changing and to be present when you feel the shift in your next evolution. Hold on to who you are.
There are other artists on the album. Who can we expect to hear on the record?
It was great working with all of the talented artists that came together on this record. There is a feature with the group, Pleasure, as well as Mikki Free on the song, Gotta Give It. Thurz is doing his thing on Trouble; bringing his perspective to the story with a nice contrast. I have a duet with Jennifer Phillips on the single, Put Some Love on It. She brings her amazing vocals, passion and spirit to the record. She gets putting some love on it.
You are seen as one of American’s greatest-kept secrets. Is it flattering knowing that so many people love your music?!
It’s great being able to touch so many people’s lives just being who I am. I find satisfaction knowing people are connecting with me on that level. I’m flattered that I’m a ‘kept secret’ but I really like that the music is being heard. The fact that it’s moving people is the most exciting part of the whole thing. I definitely want to continue to connect.
Tell me about the artists that influenced you growing up. Do you take a lot from the Soul legends in terms of sound and passion?
Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Ray Charles are three of the main Soul legends I am influenced by most. I am influenced by many other artists and groups but those are the ones that change how I express music. I identify with their passion, storytelling and interpretation of life. They don’t sound the same on every song. Each song has its own life. I see myself trying to emulate those traits.
Are there going to be any tour dates coming up? Where can we see you play?
See Kin Productions.
Might we see you in the U.K. this year? Do you like the music coming out of Britain?
We’re looking to coming back to the U.K. in August. We had an exciting tour in April launching the first single, I Can’t Stop. We want to continue to keep it going.
Do you have any ambitions to fulfil before the end of the year?
I’m excited about the podcast talking about the new way of doing music in the industry; finishing up writing a book with my mom. Touring and performing will be amazing. I’ll continue to connect and create with new artists.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Driving into Arkansas at 1 A.M. on the highway with my brother hearing I Can’t Stop on the radio. We drive all over the South and that was the payoff. It sounded so different.
Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?
Marvin Gaye - I Want You
Stevie Wonder – Innervisions, Songs in the Key of Life
These albums really got me understanding the purpose of music. I listen to the stories over and over again.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Know who you are, what you want to say and how you want to be seen. The old model of being discovered and getting on the radio is not there: you are your own brand. Do things outside of music to bring in more interest. Be clear on your message beyond the songs you put out. Know your audience and connect with them; someone will relate to your story. Build your team. It will take time but it’s necessary.
IN THIS PHOTO: Elli Ingram
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I like to chill spending time with my kids (being dad). I also like being at home watching movies. Hanging with my bunny. Yes; an actual bunny. She’s my spirit animal and pet. Don’t know how that happened but it’s cool. Taking a good long walk is good, too.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
H.E.R. – Focus
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