November 07 2019

Annie O Presents: Alex McArtor

New York-Standard Sounds
Seventeen-year-old Alex McArtor has a powerful voice and pensive soul. Her two exquisite EPs pull inspiration from classic rock, soul and 90s alternative and have received praise from Billboard, EARMILK, and others, racking up almost 4 million streams thus far. Annie O caught up with Alex before her show at the Standard, East Village on Nov 11.

Tell us about the meaning of the title of your new EP (and track) Heart Vol .1 that just came out?

I named this EP “Heart Talk”, because it was the first time I could truly and authentically speak from the heart about love, heart break, and everything in-between. 

You are influenced by films when you write your music. What are some of the films that inspired you?

Yes, I am extremely into films. By 50, I’m going to write and direct a movie! I’d say some of the movies that have most have inspired my writing so far are The Velvet Goldmine, Trainspotting, Crimes of Passion (for the cinematography of it mostly, I’m not a freak I swear), Virgin Suicides, Fandango, The Graduate, Dead Poets society, Lost in Translation, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dazed and Confused, Phantom of the Opera, Anna Karanina.... God, there are so many more. I don’t think I have even scratched the surface yet. I love movies! But anyway, I’m a very visual person, so when I write, I want to physically see the picture/moment move; I want to become a part of the scene as if I were the character. Film is like a sister to music. For me, I feel that if I have a better understanding of film and knowledge towards that I will become a better writer & therefore become a better artist/musician & songwriter. It’s all about telling stories. 

The Standard

What is Loving Is the Way about?

I didn’t want to be anybody’s toy and I’m more than some purse dog. I really rebelled against that and hurt some people in the process. 

Where was the album recorded? Did you have a producer?

With my man Aaron Kelly back in D town, who’s actually playing this show with me. He’s just the best dude that shreds. He’s so humble and respectful towards what I’m trying to do. I met him when I was 14. I believe I came in with a really creepy child of the corn sounding song about red riding hood, or something like that. Anyway, he lets me do what I want to do and is a brilliant musician. I’m really thankful that I met him and that I’ve been able to record my music with such a trust worthy person. 

You grew up listening to Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Neil Young etc. Who do you listen to these days? 

Yea I did. I also listened to a lot of U2, The National, Sufjan Stevens, Chris Issak, Lana Del Rey, Modern Lovers, Cars, Cage the Elephants, Depeche Mode. I’m kind of an all across the board type of gal with music. I’m always listening to music. I just like listening to songs that make me feel like I’m in a film. 

"I’d say leaving Austin actually helped my music career." - Alex McArtor

How did growing up in Austin helped your musical career?

It didn’t. I’d say leaving Austin actually helped my music career. I love Austin, I mean I grew up there, I’ve been going to ACL since I was in preschool and there was always live music around me and in my home. But, I didn’t start pursuing this until I left it. So, if anything the loss of Austin and moving away helped me with my music. If my parents never moved us, I wouldn’t be doing this. I’d just be writing words down in my journal, too embarrassed to share them probably & still being a volleyball player. 

Where are you based now?

I just came home this year from boarding school in New Hampshire to 100% take a shot at this. So, now I’m back home in Dallas but I’m between Nashville, NY, LA quite a bit. I’m still a junior in high school though, so I’m homeschooling right now trying to get through & so I can devote time to my music. 

What can we expect from your show at The Standard, East Village as part of the Annie O Music Series?

Well, I’ll be playing all of my songs from Heart Talk Vol. 1 as well as a few from my past Ep Spoken word and maybe even an unreleased song or two. Aaron, my badass producer, who I talked about above will be playing with me. I’m really looking forward to it and I hope everybody has a good time watching me! I’m thankful. 

INTERVIEW BY
Annie O