Aug 30, 2020
LEXXE is kicking up the adrenaline this weekend with her new release, Joyride.
The former classically trained ballerina in LEXXE decided to trade in her pirouettes for something a bit more sinister. Alexis Lucena, a.k.a LEXXE, is a multidisciplinary artist from Long Island, New York. Starting with dance, she trained at the esteemed Seiskaya Ballet Academy in Stony Brook, leading her to receive a BFA in Dance Performance from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. Deciding to stand out instead of being confined by the soles of her pointe shoes, the dancer turned to a life of music. Being apart of Company XIV allowed her to have the best of both worlds.
Being apart of the company allowed her to use and express both of her artistic abilities. As LEXXE states “The fourth show with them was our version of Alice In Wonderland called “Queen Of Hearts,” where I actually played Alice [and] I sang original music and danced-“.
Outside of the company however, LEXXE is a budding dark-pop singer/songwriter breaking the stereotypical “pop-star” mold. Her new song Joyride simmers in with a low and distorted kick drum and kicks it up to a sultry and modern take on ’80s pop. “Touch me after midnight/ Take me on a joyride/ Hands on my skin, we’re speeding again/ Hot off the adrenaline,” the artists sings. The danceable track pays homage to the singers background while keeping the listener on their toes with the sharp tonal bursts in-between her verses while leaning into an eerie side of pop marking a new musical era for the artist.
Popular TV caught up with LEXXE to learn more about her new single and how she ended up in the would-be summer blockbuster ‘In The Heights’.
1. Tell us about your new single “Joyride”.
Joyride was the song that sparked this new era for me musically. It combines a lot of dark textures with dance and rock, which are pretty much the main ingredients to me as an artist. It was also the first song I got to work on production wise from the ground up and really understand myself, and what I like to hear- so it makes sense that it was the catalyst for this “new era”.
2. How does a classically trained ballerina end up making ‘80s inspired pop?
Ha! Honestly- my sister showed me Flashdance when I was really young, and ‘Maniac” stuck in my head for WEEKS! I think that must have been the start of something. The first time I heard ‘Rebel Yell’ I lost it. Something in my brain is just really drawn to the sounds that permeated from that era- when I realized music was what I was missing in life I was naturally drawn to that sound.
3. Your look doesn’t fit the “cutesy” aesthetic that most ballerinas have. Is that something you struggled with?
100%. I was meant to be doing what I’m doing now and I know everyones journey is for a reason, but my “exit” from taking ballet seriously was truly gut wrenching. Don’t get me wrong, ballerinas are like Rambo.. insanely strong and resilient to a fault, but my body type really didn’t allow me to progress. It was like falling in love and realizing you’ll never be allowed to touch the person. And as for aesthetic, I remember blasting Velvet Revolver and The Devil Wears Prada in my headphones before Nutcracker rehearsals – I think music informs your identity a lot and I was sort of known as the ballerina who dyes her hair black i’m sure. I also struggled with my sexuality at that time too- so trying to fit into the heterosexual box AND the clean cut skinny ballerina box was definitely a STRUGGLE. Music saved me from that.
4. Do you recall a specific pivotal moment in your life that made you realize music was your true calling?
Music has always been my lifeline, I always had headphones in as a kid. My parents had great taste, Queen, Diana Ross, Led Zeppelin- you name it. I played French horn, sang a little bit, wrote songs in the shower and admired my Dad from a far ( a classical pianist). It honestly wasn’t until my 22nd birthday- I saw The Weeknd live, and felt an odd combination of jealousy and awe like, “Why am I not doing this? Why does this feel like a dream I want to achieve?” I believe it was during his performance of “In The Night,” which is my fave song of his. I went home and called my close friend and started writing the next week. It was around the same time I went home from a rehearsal for a company I was apprenticing for and realized I would never be happy unless I took control of what I really wanted to do – make the music I dance to.
5. You’re making your film debut as a dancer in In The Heights! How did that opportunity come about and were you aware of the play before the audition?
That was SUCH a full circle moment and requires some back story so buckle up!
So -a few years ago I told myself I was done dancing, and like I said it was gut wrenching – but in that moment I really shot myself in the foot confidence wise and that’s the WORST thing you could do. On the bright side- writing music was therapeutic to me, and after music started being my focus like I mentioned earlier Company XIV offered me a position to sing, AND dance. My fourth show with them was our version of Alice In Wonderland called “Queen Of Hearts,” where I actually played Alice! I sang original music and danced – the casting director for ITH came to see the show on an off night and contacted me through a friend who was working on the project to see if I was available!
I did not audition, and my director allowed me to basically come from shooting during the day and pretty much fly onto the stage as Alice at night. It was absolutely insane, I will never forget walking into rehearsals on day one and being greeted by DANA WILSON one of the most incredible dancers on earth, welcoming me to set and thanking me for being there as well as congratulating me on an awesome show. My family has lived in the heights, and I am 100% Puerto Rican, ITH is a huge deal to my family, I think the best part of that was telling my grandma. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a sweetheart too, 10/10 can confirm. This movie made me believe in myself as a dancer for real again, like finally started saying I was a dancer and meaning it for the first time in years. INSANE!
6. Is there a difference in the creative energy you feel from dancing vs singing/ creating music?
I think I write music with the intention to see movement to it- whether that be visuals or dancing. Even if I’m writing a ballad- there’s probably a contemporary ballerina in my mind moving to it. So in a way no I don’t think there is a difference in creative energy.. to me all of its dancing however odd that comes across.
7. How has being under a quarantine affected the way you create or express your self?
I think for me as someone who struggles with a lot of anxiety it was definitely hard to be stagnant after a year of moving so fast, and to feel like these precious pieces of art that I’d made would be for nothing. Sometimes releasing music as an independent artist feels like throwing something into the ocean and hoping it floats- but I will say after having time to sit and live with my music I’ve grown extremely confident in this project just by getting to be one on one with it for so long. I ended up writing an extra song for my upcoming EP in quarantine one night with absinthe alone (because I’m extremely dramatic and extraaaaa) and that song has now become the title track. Also the Joyride video initially had another *storyline* but was scrapped due to the quarantine, and honestly having to rework that idea opened up something much more creative for my team and I.
8. What is something you wish you got asked more?
I use a lot of dark imagery in my lyrics and visuals, and I wish people would look past a metaphor a little more and stop taking things surface level. So I suppose I wish people asked me about what I was saying more- or gave me their take on things even! I love diving into lyrics and what I was painting with words, I know some people like to keep that stuff personal and maybe one day I won’t care if people think I’m this dark troubled artist – but for now I’m all for talking about it !