Alexis Jordan has enjoyed a pretty spectacular 12 months. Armed with a top notch label and production house, a Deadmau5 sample and a killer set of pipes, the US singer has ridden an almost vertical trajectory to the upper echelons of pop charts the world over with her debut single ‘Happiness’.
Alexis arrived in Australia last week ready to seduce us all with her hit-in-waiting second single ‘Good Girl’, so we popped ourselves in the good chair for a natter and discovered that she was thrilled to be enjoying her first visit down under.
“I’m so happy to be here, you don’t understand,” she gushes. “I was in rainy London. I love London, but wow, I was sick of the rain. This is like a big dream of mine. I never knew that my career was going to take me this far and I’m so happy.”
Alexis’s singing career began at an early age, with almost daily performances in the shower that divided opinions within her family.
“I was always annoying my brothers and sisters,” she says. “But when you’re younger, you have to practice as much as you can. I wouldn’t say that I got this voice overnight. Practice makes perfect.”
Armed with those increasingly powerful vocals, Alexis says that her first gig proper came when she was barely out of kindergarten.
“My first big performance was when I was five for a Martin Luther King Jr. tribute,” she says. “I was very quiet about it during school and class but when the time was right, I just opened my mouth and wanted to sing.”
And sing she did – for the United States Air Force Academy, for basketball games and at the age of just 12, for Smokey Robinson at a Stevie Wonder tribute. But it was two years later when she appeared on the TV competition ‘America’s Got Talent’ that the Alexis Jordan ball really started to roll.
“It was so cool being on the show,” Alexis admits. “But you live and you learn and that’s what I did and I took those experiences with me.”
Alexis was eliminated from the competition after her performance on the Wild Card show, but undeterred (and from a little prompting from her mum) she took to the net in an attempt to capitalise on the fanbase she’d built through the show. To her astonishment, people started watching. First by the hundreds, then the thousands and soon the hundreds of thousands.
“Of course the show got my face out there, but the Youtube videos showed me as an artist and allowed my fans to get to know me more throughout the years. I feel like the internet gives you a lot of time to help you grow as an artist, but it can make or break you.
“I had a fan base and I let it grow – it’s just amazing to have a record label to back me up with it now.”
It was the Youtube postings that got her noticed and she was soon signed to Jay-Z and Stargate’s record label Star Roc. But Alexis tells us that it wasn’t Jay-Z himself who was the biggest fan in his household.
“I think his wife was more of a fan than he was,” she giggles. “She was saying to him how much she liked the version of ‘Halo’ I performed on Youtube. It was so amazing to me that Beyonce was able to see it. That was so cool.
“I met with Jay-Z and had a conversation. It was very easy and nothing was fake. He saw my drive and my passion and that’s all he really needed,” she says.
From there it was onto her debut single ‘Happiness’. Armed with that now famous sample of Deadmau5’s ‘Brazil (2nd Edit)’, the track began to blow up all around the world, firstly peaking at No.3 on the British charts before weaving similar magic on audiences down under.
“It was Stargate who decided that they’d love to use the sample and they co-produced it together. It was just amazing and I can’t believe that I’m the first artist they let take on the song and let it go places.
“It’s just a good feeling song. Anyone can listen to it. All ages, all different kinds of people and it just brings people together and that’s what music is supposed to do,” she enthuses.
‘Happiness’ was co-written by New York singer Autumn Rowe, who’s also penned Alexis’s second single ‘Good Girl’. Again produced by the Stargate team, the single follows the same dance/pop formula as its predecessor and is now at Australian radio hoping to emulate the success of ‘Happiness’.
“It’s got a lot of attitude and spice in it and I wanted that,” Alexis says of the new track. “There’s the ‘G’ rated side of me, and you know now I’m a bit PG13, so it’s cool. ‘Good Girl’ is starting to hit in the US as well. They’re starting to get really hectic about it at the moment at home. I love that my music is wanted.”
Which brings us to Alexis’s eponymous debut album.
“It’s a pretty universal album because there aren’t just one or two different types of music on there,” Alexis says, giving us the sell. “There’s pop, there’s dance, there are attitude songs with a little urban vibe, there are the love songs, there are ballads, country and rock and roll, so I’m very very pleased.
“I’m so happy with my album. I could play it all the way through and not have anything to worry or be unhappy about. I want to do everything. I don’t want to stay in a box.”
Chatting with Alexis, you get the feeling that she’s incredibly humbled by the success she’s already achieved, but she never takes anything for granted, admitting she even has the back-up plan ready to roll just in case.
“I never assumed it was going to happen for me – I always had a back-up plan. I always wanted to go to college – I still do – but you know I’m travelling the world so I don’t have enough time right now.
We ask perhaps whether her fall back position was to become a doctor or an astronaut. She laughs.
“It wasn’t a doctor, no. It was more about majoring in marketing and doing something with the record company because I love to be involved in music.
“But this is just my dream and I can’t believe that it’s happening!”
Given her down to earth attitude, exotic good looks, great songs and those powerhouse vocals, we suspect that the Alexis Jordan dream may well continue for a long time to come.
Alexis’s singles ‘Happiness’ and ‘Good Girl’ are available digitally.
The album ‘Alexis Jordan’ is available instores and online.