The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] AleXa on becoming K-pop star, dancing in boots and cyborg aesthetic

Up-and-coming singer releases electro-pop EP after making a splash with cyberpunk concept

By Yim Hyun-su

Published : April 8, 2020 - 16:13

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AleXa released her first EP, “Do or Die,” on April 1. (ZB Label) AleXa released her first EP, “Do or Die,” on April 1. (ZB Label)
Having debuted just last October, AleXa’s world has turned upside-down from being a fan of K-pop to becoming a star herself.

The 23-year-old’s debut single “Bomb” was a great way to showcase her talent as a performer, as the video for the energetic Brazilian beat-inspired electro-pop tune had racked up over 12 million views on YouTube as of Wednesday.

And last week, she released her first EP, “Do or Die,” encompassing all of her work so far.

“There have been a lot of first experiences for a lot of things,” the singer told The Korea Herald about her life as a singer.

“I think I’ve learned to be more grateful for things because even though I’m just one soloist, we have this incredible hard-working team behind me that does everything”

Wearing a denim jacket decorated with a design of classic children’s cartoon cat and mouse Tom and Jerry -- the inspiration behind her new song “Kitty Run” -- the singer recalled her first encounter with K-pop while in middle school.

“When I was around 11 or 12, my hometown best friend introduced me to K-pop and I fell in love with SHINee. They were the first group I loved when they first debuted in 2008.

“And I thought to myself, one day I want to try to do what they are doing.”

Though born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she spent most of her life, her music tastes have geared toward Korea, where her mother is from.

“It‘s fair to say that a lot of people I went to school with loved country music, cowboy boots and trucks. And then there was me, being like, ‘I like Korean music.’”

If you look closely enough, her Southern roots can be found here and there, especially in her choice of footwear in music videos.

“It wasn’t really shown a lot in the ‘Do or Die’ music video, but there was a scene where I have thigh-high silver cowboy boots, and I thought that’s a homage to back home,” she said, before adding, “Yee-haw.”

Her cyberpunk-inspired videos have been a big hit on YouTube, impressing viewers with the heavily choreographed dance moves all while sporting tall platform boots.

AleXa, who has been dancing since 2 years old, has gotten into the swing of dancing in boots and says she can even run in them. But they are not as light as she makes them out to be.

“Those things are so heavy if you swing them around and hit somebody, I think they can get a concussion,” she laughed.

AleXa is on the set for the music video for “Do or Die.” (ZB Label) AleXa is on the set for the music video for “Do or Die.” (ZB Label)
The entertainer doesn’t shy away from the fact that she focuses on the visual aspects, as her music was made after the video had been visualized and conceptualized with a storyboard.

“We work very closely with the famous Swedish producing team called EKKO Music Rights, not just sit back and listen to ‘Oh, how about this demo.’ We were able to give our input into what kind of sound we want because we think very visually,” she said.

AleXa’s team had a concept board at the ready, and already had an idea of what they wanted the story for the video to be, how they wanted it to flow, as well as the peaks and falls of the video while the music was made.

“‘Let’s make a movie in five minutes’ is kind of our goal with the music video and then we interpret that through the song.”

The journey to her debut has taken several auditions as well as taking part in Mnet’s reality competition show “Produce 48.” But she’s happy to have ended up at ZB Label -- a subsidiary label launched by K-pop music video production company Zanbyros.

“Not just with music, but conceptually, sound-wise of course and visually, this company is so open-minded and so creative. I don’t think at this point I can see myself in a different company. Zanybros is my second home at this point.”

By Yim Hyun-su (