BELOW THE CONCRETE: COMING SOON
What lurks below the concrete? In a literal sense, there are basements, subway trains, bugs, animals, and decaying matter of all varieties. In a figurative sense, down below the surface are our private feelings.
When singer-songwriter Alex English went on a powerful journey down in her basement writing and recording daily from 6:00 PM to 3:00 AM, she emerged with the aptly titled raw and acoustic album, Below The Concrete, for which she self-produced, performed all the instruments, and wrote all the songs.
"That do-it-yourself spirit is really important to me because it allows you to be your own person," says the New Jersey-based artist. "When you rely only on yourself, you can push past boundaries and rise to be everything you are capable of."
Just in her early 20s, Alex is a sagely insightful writer who crafts adult contemporary pop with sprinklings of country and soul. Her latest album, her third overall, is a milestone release. It is the culmination of a decade-long apprenticeship with well-respected music industry vets. Alex has worked with Bart Schoudel, who was Grammy nominated twice for album of the year. One for Justin Bieber's album, Purpose and one for Beyonce's album, Beyonce; Ron Haney, a producer and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with Jennifer Lopez and Alicia Keys; and Chris Pelcer, best known for his work with Kesha and Peter Cetera. She has been mentored by music biz executive Joey Arbagey, currently EVP of A&R at Epic Records, and venerated music industry attorney Barry Jay Reiss.
Alex has established an impressive artist profile through earning awards, accolades, and gigging tirelessly throughout tristate area, playing shows, fundraisers, private events, and festivals. She's charted in the New Music Weekly Hot 100, AC/Hot AC Chart, Top 40 Chart, & FMQB AC Top 200 Chart, and was recently awarded "Runner Up" for a global Song of the Year Contest for "Coffee Shop," from Below The Concrete. In addition, Alex has earned two publishing deals with the firms Syncstories and Fresh-Sync.
When The Voice came calling to have her on the show (twice, no less), Alex politely declined as she preferred to focus on her original music and college. She is currently a highly-achieving honor student majoring in Arts & Entertainment Management at Pace University's Lubin School of Business. "The drive I have for school is the same as the drive I have for music. It's two paths toward one goal," Alex says. "I've been singing over 10 years, and, what I learn in school, matches up with the experiences I've had in the industry. The lessons from school are very empowering and validating for me as an artist."
Below The Concrete came together in a slow and organic way. You could say it was lurking below in Alex's subconscious. "After one late night writing in my basement, I woke up in the middle of the night with the title 'Below The Concrete' in my head. At that moment, I decided no matter how long it takes, I'm going to make an album and share my vision," Alex recalls.
Alex's decision to opt for a stripped-down approach to production was a way to let the songs shine through in their purest sense. Two standouts on the album are "Coffee Shop" and "Songbird." On "Coffee Shop," Alex's down-to-the-bone production lets her emotionally dynamic vocals and her propulsive folk guitar accompaniment sink their teeth into your soul, relaying a story of private pain in a public forum. "Coffee shops are places where a lot of people meet and also breakup, and, when a breakup happens there, you don't know whether to laugh or cry. You feel like you're twisted inside, and you don't want to cry in front of people," Alex shares.
The sweetly melancholy "Songbird" is a thoughtful rumination on the plight of the singer-songwriter in the midst of barring their heart and soul in what can often be a thankless career pursuit. Here, in this context of thoughtful and emotive folk-pop, the expanse of Alex's dynamic vocals shines through as she effortlessly shifts from tender low tones skyward to soaring tones fitted with sumptuous vocal vibrato.
Up next, Alex will share Below The Concrete in performance with dates in the tristate area. Reflecting on the album's impact on her development, Alex says: "This album taught me to believe in myself, and believe in what we can strive for and achieve with art if we challenge ourselves. It's about working hard and pushing beyond barriers. No one is going to do it for you, so you have to do it for yourself."
Follow Alex on: