Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Alexander 23 (real name: Alexander Glantz) is a multi-instrumentalist that has a talent sent from above. The solo powerhouse writes, records and produce his own songs straight out of his heart, delivering you with honest and raw emotions.
Nookmag was given the opportunity to interview the one-man-show, all thanks to Universal Music Singapore! We discussed genres, his solo career and the brand new single ‘IDK You Yet” which was released two months ago.
The moniker ‘Alexander 23’, how did that come about?
Yeah! So, I mean, 23 really has been the number that has followed me around like my entire life. I was born on the 23rd, I’m from Chicago and I play basketball growing up and Michael Jordan, you know he’s from Chicago, play basketball so…
Exactly! I’m a big Bulls fan and I was 23 when I first started writing like, this music that I have put out, this kind of “era” of my life. So, you know, I try to write music that’s super honest and stuff. So, I knew that I wanted to go by ‘Alexander’ because that is my real name and I wanted people to feel a personal connection to me. But I was just looking for a way to kind of make it different and stand out and the two kind of just naturally gravitated towards each other!
And today where I am right now it’s the 23rd!
Happy 23rd! [Laugh]
How did you start getting into music? Who would you say were your influences?
So, my dad actually played guitar and so just like, I remember being a kid and watching him play and be like, “I got to learn how to do that!” And I think once I started playing and realise that like “Hey! This is something that I could be good at!” Like I just couldn’t stop! You know, like, the way other kids get home from school and play catch or like play video games, like that was how I was playing guitar. It was just like, an obsession! So, yeah and I was just copying other people’s songs, doing covers until I kind of felt comfortable enough to start writing. Once I started writing music like, it was over. That was what I want to do.
Growing up, you were making and playing music with bands. So, what made you say like, “You know what, I want to be a solo artiste.”
Definitely a good question! Like, yeah this is my first time ever really you know, writing and performing on my own and stuff and it’s definitely a different experience. I think is just that as I got older I kind of grew to feel more comfortable with my own voice and what I wanted to say. I felt more comfortable standing alone behind the music that I was writing. And so, kind of after just like years of collaboration and working with other people and performing with other people, I just kind of felt like the music I wanted to write was so personal that it felt like only right to do it by myself.
Many have mentioned “bedroom pop” when it comes to introducing your music. Would you say that genre best fits you and if not, how would you describe your music?
Um, yeah, I don’t personally love the term “bedroom pop” and I’ll tell you why. I think that “bedroom pop” like the connotation of that and the way people perceive it is just like, you know, it’s good but it doesn’t have the potential to be like a worldwide music. And that’s not where I want to be, you know? I don’t want to put a ceiling under myself or my writing or my production or my genre. But at the same time, I understand the need to compartmentalise things and you know, put people in categories and so, I kind of just like to say “pop”! In a more of a classical sense of the word! Like, I hope my music is popular because a lot of people connect to it. Not because of its style or anything, you know?
You write, record, produce – basically do everything on your own! Give us a rundown on how that is like for you.
It’s super liberating! I am just obsessed with having my own autonomy and control within my life so, whenever there’s kind of something in my way, you know, like a skill I’ll just get obsessed with it and get good enough until I can do it on my own. Like, I love producing but I learn how to produce just out of necessity because I didn’t want to wait for other people to have to finish my music for me. I want to have control. You know, if I have an idea like, right now, in two hours I can have a song. So, it’s kind of was bred from that. There are days where it’s super challenging, but I think kind of like what I’ve taken away from it is – when it goes well, it feels even better and when its going terrible it feels even worse. And it’s just a risk I have learnt to take and I’m willing to take it!
You released your first EP last year and most of your singles picked up really fast, really well. And your latest single ‘IDK You Yet” made it to Rolling Stone’s ‘Breakthrough 25 Chart’. How do you feel about everything?
I’m just incredibly grateful! Like I’ve just, you know, through one way or another I’ve gotten amazing opportunities and gotten to meet and talk to really smart people who have helped me along the way. Like, I’m making this music alone but I’m not experiencing the things I’m writing about alone. I’m not putting all the release plans together alone. And I’m just feeling super grateful. At the same time, like, I’ve only been putting out this music for about a year but like I said, it’s been since I was 10 years old [that] I’ve been playing shows and writing terrible songs, songs that you will never hear, that I’ll never put out – just kind of really get to the good ones [now]. So, it simultaneously feels like it happened so fast and at the same time [it] feels like I’ve been waiting my whole life to have some of these opportunities.
‘IDK You Yet’ was written in quarantine. Can you tell us a little bit more about the song and what it means to you?
Yeah, definitely! Like you said, it was written in quarantine. I think just being in quarantine and in isolation and kind of like the feeling of missing so many things really just reminded me of a time in my life before any Alexander 23 stuff where everything was just really falling apart, and things weren’t going great for me. And so, it’s really about that time of my life when I was just like, so lost and was looking for something or someone but I couldn’t even tell you what that thing or that person was. Which is like a difficult feeling to reckon with but at the same time, it’s not like I don’t know you, it’s I don’t know you yet. So, there’s a hopefulness that I’ve tried to convey like, “Hey! I feel like this, but I don’t think I’ll feel like this forever.”
So, other than creating ‘IDK You Yet’, are there other songs that you have made during quarantine?
Yeah! I’ve been making a ton of new music that I’m very, very excited for people to hear. I’m super proud of it and I’m super excited for people to, you know, connect with it in different ways!
Will there be a second EP coming out any time soon?
We shall see! [Laugh] The strategy is definitely still forming. I think like right now I’m just trying to make the most incredibly emotional and honest and vulnerable music that I can make and I’m hoping that those songs will guide a plan of sorts, but I’ll keep you updated on that.
In the future, since right now you are focusing on your solo career, would you be open to do collaborations and if so, with who?
I feel like I have two different answers to that question. I would obviously love to do something with Drake or Frank Ocean or those kind of level of people but in some ways I would also love to do something with like, people who are kind of lower but who are 10 steps ahead of me, [that] would be super exciting too – like LANY! Someone like that who I am like, enamoured by as far as their writing and their path would also be such a fun, cool and natural collaboration you know, at some point in the future hopefully.
Before we end the session, do you have anything you want to say to your Singaporean fans?
Yeah, I certainly do! Right when it’s safe to do so, I’m on the first flight over! I am so grateful to have fans in Singapore at all! Even 1 would be amazing as someone from the middle of the United States. I’m so grateful and I cannot wait to meet everyone and play for everyone and hang out!
Listen to ‘IDK You Yet’ now!