How London Brought Out One Student’s Inner Rockstar
Senior Alexis Fox is an English education major who has been singing for as long as she can remember. She first picked up the guitar when she was 12 years old. Fox said, “I actually traded in my elementary school grade clarinet for it! It was a left-handed guitar, but for some reason it was strung right handed, and that kind of just stuck.” Since then, Alexis has started writing her own songs and giving live performances.
Fox wrote her first song when she was in the sixth grade after starting a band with some friends. Fox explained, “We’d write our own lyrics and come up with tunes, and then sing them along with karaoke versions of other songs. It didn’t last very long.”
When asked about what initially inspired her to begin writing her own songs, Fox stated, “I just wanted to have my own music to sing along to. I wanted to be able to create something instead of just copy what’s already been done.”
Despite writing her own music, Fox never really performed live, “I’d only really played in front of people I knew and, generally, only with covers. I’d been writing songs for quite a while, but I’d never felt confident enough in them to bring them out into the open.” But all this changed during Fox’s study abroad trip to London during her sophomore year at the University.
Fox said that the prominent music scene of the city broke her out of her shell, “The first time I performed in London, I just sang Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’ with a jazz band in a bar full of strangers. I was nervous as all hell, but it was the most liberating experience. Even though I wasn’t performing with my own song, it kind of made me realize that when you’re pouring your soul into something, you don’t really have all that much to lose.”
After her first experience performing live, Fox regularly performed every week during her four-month trip. The new confidence continued to boost and performing live became one of her passions. When asked about her favorite part of live performance, Fox emphasized the audience connection, “I love being able to see music and lyrics that I’ve tried so hard to capture whatever I’m feeling become understood by the people I play for. When people share similar experiences, knowing that for one second your story and theirs meshed is really cool to me.”
While in London, Fox met a fellow musician, Ross Collum, through open mic nights at local pubs. The two have performed and recorded some music together during their time in London. On Fox’s second trip to London a few months after her study abroad trip, they recorded a cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games.”
In regards to performing with Fox, Collum stated, “She was very professional, she had the words and arrangement down before we’d met to rehearse, but most importantly she wasn’t just going through the notes, she was giving the song the passion it needed.” He continued, “[‘Video Games’] is a very ‘provocative’ song, or it was the way she was singing it, which is exactly what it needed.”
Collum enjoyed working with Fox and hopes they can continue performing together. He said, “Great voice, great performer, [it’s a] shame she’s on the other side of the world. I’d love to work with her again.”
One of Fox’s favorite live performing experiences also occurred during her study abroad trip. “It was one of the last few weeks I had left there and I’d written a song about how head-over-heels in love with the city I am. The place was pretty packed that night, and I remember looking out into the audience to see everyone clapping to the rhythm and swaying,” she said.
She went on to say, “It was probably the most picturesque and perfect moment I could have asked for.”
Since her experience in London, Fox has continued to pursue her music passion in the form of a new acapella group on campus, The Sea Sharps. Fox and fellow senior Chelsea Barreto formed the group last year.
Barreto talked about what it was like performing with Fox: “We feed off of each other! I always like singing with Alexis because she has so much to give as a performer, especially when you’re relying on the other person to do their part.”
When asked about what it was like working with Fox in the group, Barreto stated, “It’s a lot of fun! She has a lot of great insights and she is really talented. She really has an ear for music! We sometimes get together and do covers of songs, she’s a lot of fun to sing with and it’s great singing with someone who is so talented!”
Fox said performing live is difficult lately, “Now that the school year’s back up and running, it’s been a little tougher to find that balance towards music and work, but slowly and surely I’m regaining my sea legs!”
She found an opportunity a couple weeks ago when she gave a live performance on WCMX. Fox sang two of her originals, “Stay” and “Title-less,” as well as a cover of Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us.”
Although the study abroad experience had a significant impact on Fox, she also draws inspiration from home. Fox said, “Obviously London’s impacted me pretty severely in what I do, but I’d be lying if I said Jersey didn’t have a piece of my heart, as well.”
Currently, Fox is working on an EP featuring all original music. To listen to some of her music check out AlexisFox.bandcamp.com or her Facebook page, facebook.com/AlexisFoxMusic.
PHOTO TAKEN from facebook.com/AlexisFoxMusic