That Grape Juice: Hello there Miss Alexis! Thanks so much for taking the time. How are you today?
Alexis Spight: Doing well! And, thank you for taking the time!
TGJ: Our pleasure. So, let’s get right to it as we’re excited to talk about your debut album ‘L.O.L.’ (which debuted at #3 on Billboard Gospel charts) last week. How does it feel to have that kind of reception?
AS: It feels amazing and I’m very grateful. I always say I know people have to work years to acquire something like this, so I know it’s nothing but the grace and favor of God. I’m really humbled by it.
TGJ: Why did you feel the song ‘Steady’ was the best choice to act as the album’s lead single?
AS: It’s a song I wrote two years ago after taking a close observation of the world with everything that’s going on. People are losing their houses, minds, jobs, etc. and my prayer was just that God would keep me grounded – or steady.
That prayer is something I’m learning to incorporate in my life as I go through this industry and am being exposed to different things. I pray that He continues to cover me. Even though I wrote it a couple of years ago, it’s still a very relevant concept today.
TGJ: That’s amazing! So, any thoughts on what the follow-up single will be?
AS: I have a couple of things in mind, but I don’t want to give them away quite yet.
TGJ: Well, we’ll keep our eyes and ears open for it. Speaking on the album as a whole, where did the inspiration for the title of the album come from?
AS: ‘L.O.L. (Living Out Loud)’ is just that…living out loud. Living what we sing about, preach about, and pray about.
TGJ: After listening to “L.O.L”, what should listeners expect? What do you want them to walk away with?
AS: Expect uplifting, different, and out of the box things. I’ve always been different, so I incorporate that into my music. I remember going onto the show [Sunday’s Best] and I recall having a conversation with a preacher. He told me, “There are a lot of people you aren’t going to reach because of how different you are with that bright red hair and weird, crazy fashion sense.” In so many words, he said churches wouldn’t embrace me because although times are changing, many churches are still moderately conservative.
‘L.O.L.’ Album Preview
AS (continued): It bothered me a little bit because I love God like crazy, but I prayed and consulted God about it. I had to wonder about people who were just like me – different, unique, and don’t necessarily fit into a box of traditionalism that some churches try to enforce. I want to reach those people.
I came to the realization that God created me as unique as he did to catapult those souls toward the Kingdom.
TGJ: We know many new artists are not very involved in the creative aspect of their early albums. Were you?
AS: I was very involved with this album! I had a lot of creative control. I actually wrote two of the songs (‘Music’ and ‘Steady’). I also got the opportunity to choose what songs I wanted included on the album. I even was privileged to put my own spin on the demoes presented to me.
It’s really important because you are the artist. You always want to maintain originality in what you do. Better to be disliked for being yourself than liked for trying to be someone else.
TGJ: Now, as with many interviews, we have a segment called “Five From Fans” where we received five questions from our readers for you. Are you ready?
TGJ: #1 – Have you had trouble adjusting to the demands of being a “celebrity”?
AS: No. I definitely want to say it’s a learning experience. I’m definitely living my dreams and grateful for this platform [BET’s] ‘Sunday Best’ has given me.
TGJ: #2 – Any plans on experimenting with other genres, namely R&B?
AS: No, I’m always going to be a gospel artist. Even still, I don’t ever want my ministry to be exclusive to one type of audience or one genre [sonically]. I don’t want to conform or compromise my work, but I do want it to get rid of barriers and naturally flow into another markets like R&B or even country.
Alexis with R&B singers Avant, Chris Brown, Raphael Saadiq, actors Lance Gross, Morris Chestnut, and rapper T.I.
TGJ: #3 – Who are your vocal idols?
AS: So many! Kim Burrell, The Clark Sisters, John P. Kee, Lisa Knowles, and overall, just anything with a positive message. That’s not restricted to gospel though. I love India Arie and even Rascal Flatts! (laughs)
TGJ: #4 – Some people argue that singing competitions have really run their course and no longer produce “superstars”. Considering you’ve been [to varying degrees] on ‘American Idol’, ‘X Factor’, and ‘Sunday’s Best’, what are your thoughts?
AS: I don’t agree. I’m a believer in seizing opportunity and I believe that aside from anything else, those are major opportunities [for upcoming artists]. You never know what doors they can open, I’m living proof of that. I didn’t win the competition, but even so, God is still opening doors for me.
TGJ: #5 – With the new season of BET’s ‘Sunday Best’ coming soon, any advice for up-and-comers?
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/85655284″ params=”color=a319ad&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
TGJ: Thanks so much for that. Continuing on that same plane, now that you two aren’t going head-to-head every week on the show, is there any pressure to compete with ‘Sunday Best’ winner Joshua Rogers? Even if only in a friendly manner?
AS: No, I don’t. We’re so different and have our own styles, so we don’t compete. We never ever had that vibe, even when we were on the show. I thank God for our friendship.
TGJ: We’re sure a number of fans would actually like to see you two collab!
AS: Well, I don’t want to give away too much, but Joshua and I have some tricks up our sleeves. (laughs) Just say on the look out for that. My “uncle” John P. Kee and I have some tricks up our sleeves too.
TGJ: We are certainly looking forward to those. Any other collaborations we should be on the lookout for? Or even “dream” collabos?
AS: No, but I would love to work with Lisa Knowles. It would be an honor to work with the Clark Sisters, Mali Music, or The Walls Group. Even Kierra Sheard and other youthful artist. I believe this generation is about to take over!
TGJ: Last, but not least, where can fans find more about you?
AS: I’m everywhere! For booking, check out firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course you know I’m on Twitter @lyrically_lexi and Facebook @Alexis Spight! And, for all you SocialCam users out there, see me on SocialCam.
Interview by: Quinno Rashad (That Grape Juice US)