Better Know an Artist (Vol 28): Alexandria Rhea

Alexandria Rhea is a name you’ve probably seen popping up a lot lately in the area, often with bassist and frequent collaborator Maria Demus. Armed with an angsty folky jazz sound, Alexandria wields her simple, charming voice around some gentle guitar playing. With a fresh record ready to drop anytime now, you’ll be hearing much more from her shortly. Alexandria sat down to answer those age-old questions. This is how that went down.

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

AR: I’ve been playing music ever since I was a toddler. My mom and dad (and grandparents and aunts and uncles) surrounded me with love and support and damn good music to listen to. If it weren’t for my mom’s extensive collection of Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, and Steely Dan, I just wouldn’t be the same musician. I think I always kinda knew that music is something I’m gonna play forever. I’m so grateful for this gift.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

AR: This question is always hard to answer for some reason. It’s like if Joni Mitchell, Django Reinhardt, and Al Green all had a test tube baby, it would maybe be me. It’s funky lady jazzy souly folky.

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

AR: I think a lot of the Motown I listen to shines through what I play. I love Aretha, I love Sam Cooke. I love Aaron Neville. The rawness of soul appeals to my songwriting. I’m way into P-Funk, they just make you feel 100% cooler, like you got shit under control and you’re at peace with the cosmos. I also love a lot of female driven music from the 90’s. Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morrisette, those women were so badass in my preteen eyes. I love CSNY, especially “So Far”. The entire album is flawless. My favorite group on any given day is Steely Dan. Just because. Thanks Mom!!!

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

AR: “You are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder takes me right back to my childhood. “Me and Bobby McGee” does the same. Dancing around the house with my mom and brother with complete abandon. “Dirty Work” by Steely Dan….because….just because. “Black Water” by the Doobie Brothers and a rendition of “Why” by Leon Redbone both take me to a time of growth, love and heartbreak. Oh, and I love “Say You’ll Be There” by the Spice Girls. My daughter and I are currently bonding over the Spice Girls and the Doobie Brothers.

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

AR: Hmm…Simon and Garfunkel, because I bet we would kick it after the show.

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

AR: I’m loving what Leon Bridges is doing for and with music. That guy has got it. I just started listening to Brandi Carlile and I’m in love.

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

AR: Magical Mystery Tour, I was gonna name a bunch but the rule is that you only get one, right?

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

AR: I feel so fortunate to be a part of this community. I feel it growing and myself with it. I’m finding my voice here. I’ve met so many awesome music makers. And the support from the community is just outpouring and crazy generous. So many fans, booking agents, record labels, managers…resources are abundant here. My love for music is overflowing and I’m so happy to be surrounded with all these fine women and men expressing souls alongside mine. Fort Worth is my little musical nest right now.

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

AR: They all have something special but Lola’s is probably my current favorite. Camaraderie is always available, it’s low key. The Cellar (RIP) will always rest in a soft spot in my heart. It was the first place I ever played at that also served alcohol. It was hit or miss–many a night, I played to two people, one of them being the bartender. But I still had fun.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

AR: Deanna Valone, Ansley, the Hendersons, Denver Williams, War Party, Jefferson Colby, Luke McGlathery, Vincent Neil Emerson, Nina Ty, Frisky Disco, Jordan Franz, Ginny Mac, Poppy Xander, Magnatite…the list goes on.

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

AR: I can pick up a pencil with my nose

A big thanks for Alexandria Rhea for taking the time to sit down with us. She’s got her own toddler running around there, so you know I can relate. Anyways, her new record should drop anytime now, so keep an eye out for that, and if you see her playing around town, get out and help a mother out.

Photo Credit: Steve Watkins

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