We had the good fortune of connecting with Alex Elisabeth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alex, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Honestly, I couldn’t see myself pursuing anything else. Growing up, I was always either in singing lessons, church choir, school choirs, or in musicals. I was constantly surrounded by music, my mom always had music playing around the house and in the car. Music is my passion in life, and I love singing and performing for people. I also love writing music, as well as collaborating with other people to make music. Performing and writing music gives me an outlet to express myself in a way that I couldn’t with a non-artistic career. I’m grateful that I get to say that I love my job and that I’m passionate about the work I do. My parents really supported me in my love for performing, and having that strong foundation, I felt unstoppable. I never questioned if I was going to “make it” or “get by,” because I felt safe knowing that not only am I proud of the performer I am, but I know that I have my family who will always be there to ground me, support me, and help however they can.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a musician that entertains audiences throughout Southern California. I play many genres, from pop, R&B/soul, classical, to country and rock. I am also versed in old Italian and Spanish Bel Canto. Venues I perform at include restaurants, bars, weddings, fundraisers, and private events. I am most proud of pursuing a job that I am passionate about. I love singing and performing for others to make them feel something. I went to a private college in San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University, to study music and was thankful to be awarded a vocal scholarship. I wanted to continue my vocal education classically trained in opera to make sure I was singing with good technique and I wouldn’t damage my vocal cords. Most people thought I would pursue opera as a career because I took my training seriously and I became quite proficient, but my passion was really to sing the music I really enjoyed, which was pop, R&B, and soul. I was just too afraid of myself, and too afraid of people judging me for my dreams. I studied opera to sing well. I also hid behind my own truth of wanting to sing other genres. My high school voice coach/mentor, Daniel Hendrick, continued to inspire me and taught me how to embrace who I am both as a musician and a human being. After graduating college, I started going to open mics and playing at some friend’s gigs. Eventually, I bought my own equipment and started playing at local restaurants and bars from Carlsbad, to Encinitas, to Rancho Santa Fe, all the way down to San Diego. In February of 2019, I had one gig. In March 2019, I had two gigs. In April, I had seven gigs, which led me to make the decision to quit my job as an event planner to pursue music full time. By March 2020 (before the coronavirus came through), I had 18 gigs scheduled for the month. I was playing 4-5 times a week. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I lost all of my gig work due to stay at home orders. I struggled both financially, and emotionally. I missed performing live for people. My parents suggested I could live-stream to bring joy to all my family in lockdown across the US and Italy. Live-streaming became an amazing way to gain new followers and grow my fan base. I could connect with not just my family, but others all over the world who were locked down in search of a distraction or a small joyous escape from the reality of the pandemic. People from different countries that I’d never met would join the live-stream, and then would watch it over again. I ended up gaining fans from England, Scotland, Italy, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Uganda, Australia, New Zealand, and many more. Today, I still try to live stream at least once a week at a gig to connect to my followers internationally. Gigging full time has allowed me to grow as an artist. I’ve learned a lot from performing live, one of the main approaches being that it’s not just about great technique, its about feeling and putting your whole heart and soul into each song to connect with your audience. My live shows are very organic. I start with a playlist. However, I tailor my shows as I feel the vibe of who is in the room. I feel the crowd’s energy. I want to connect to my audience on a musical level. I especially love playing for kids, or as I like to call them, “the littles.” They come up and stare at me, dance, and even put in their own requests. The littles are always mesmerized by the music. They are so adorable. I am currently a full-time musician, playing at restaurants, bars, hotels, weddings, private parties, and any other events where there is live music. I’m so grateful that I can pursue a career that I love with the support of my family. Being a live performer as a woman can be a challenge. The circuit is very male-dominated. In my experience, most venues have told me they don’t believe that women have the stamina, or repertoire to keep an audience engaged for 3 hours. I have had to send multiple emails, leave multiple voicemails and send many text messages, only to be rejected before they have even heard me sing if they even respond at all. However, once I do have the opportunity to audition and perform, I have always been invited back, and at times have been the only female performer in a monthly line up. My advice for young women is to go to other musician’s live shows and seek their mentorship. When I first started, I went to see other musicians and would ask them how they got to where they are today and for their advice. As my mentors did for me, I invite other musicians to come share the stage with me at my own gigs, as well as introduce them to whoever is in charge of booking at that particular venue. Always be prepared to audition at any time. You never know when you’ll be put in a position where you’ll be asked to perform, and that will be your audition. Oh, and always have extra of EVERYTHING (such as chords, batteries, strings, etc.) because, based on experience, I’ve learned you just never know what can happen during a live show. Things can always go wrong, and you always want to be prepared. Lastly, learn to be consistent, persistent, and resilient. With consistency, you should continuously practice your craft and get better at it, as well as be open-minded to constructive criticism. This will come with going to open mics. When I first started gigging, I made a conscious effort to go to as many open mics as I could to network and meet people in the music community that could help me find work. I tried to attend an open mic on the days I wasn’t booked. With persistency, continue to reach out to everyone you network with to build your relationships. With resiliency, be okay with rejection, for it does not define who you are as a musician or a person. Continue to persevere by moving forward and regularly honing your craft. Along with gigging and teaching music lessons, I’m currently working in the studio on my original music with my awesome producer and songwriting parter, Luke Petrucci. I am so excited to be coming out with my own music so I can continue to tell my story. Make sure you follow all of my social media to see whats in store for 2021.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love the downtown Encinitas area, there are so many shops you can walk into and explore. One of my favorite restaurants is The Roxy Encinitas, not only do they have great food, they have live music, and I love going to listen to other musicians when I’m not performing. Another place where theres a lot to explore is downtown Carlsbad. One of my favorite choices to hangout there is Park 101, because of the rooftop. You can hangout, get some really great BBQ, and have drinks with friends. It’s a really cool vibe. I love walking along the beach from Carlsbad into Leucadia, which is such a quirky but fun area. Downtown Oceanside is another spot where you will find a lot of live music, like Pacific Coast Spirits, Orfila Vineyards Tasting Room and Kitchen, Coomber Craft Wines Tasting Room, which are all places where I am lucky enough to perform.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate this shoutout to my parents who believed in me the most, even when I didn’t believe in myself.