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Multi-Talented Performer LEXXE Feels the Beat on “X”

Pop star LEXXE’s latest offering “X” works on two levels. One, the music and accompanying video pay tribute to dance and dance-pop of past decades, from disco to Madonna’s ABBA-sampling “Hung Up” from the 2000s, complete with a dance studio vibe.

Secondarily, the thumping beats and uplifting instrumentation set the stage for a story of love and loss influenced by the singer’s late father.

To date, LEXXE has built a career as a multi-talented singer-songwriter. Lyrics take on personal, diaristic forms, while her sound leans more toward dark-pop with a dash of dance. As her career picks up steam, her tracks have caught the attention of Billboard, Audiofemme, and EARMILK.

Beyond music, LEXXE, a Long Island native, trained as a classical ballet dancer, first with the Seiskaya Ballet Academy and then with the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance, where she earned a BFA.

Not only do her skills come through her music videos, but she continues to perform, mixing dance with music and stage performance through the neo-burlesque troupe COMPANY XIV.

Get to know LEXXE and how she intertwines thoughtful pop music with dance and performance:

“X” is an ode to your late father and is based around supernatural elements. What influenced you to bring these two topics together?

I had an experience where I thought I saw him at a show I was performing at!

It felt very supernatural but also had me go into a mental rabbit hole about if we ever really die.

The song is just as much about my dad as it is about someone who you just don’t see every day anymore but see them in everything. 

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Disco plays an influence on this song. What drew you to this production/instrumentation style?

I walked into the studio the day “X” was written, and Dom (Dominic Florio), my producer, had already started this dark disco track.

We had been working together for quite a while at that time, and he knew that synths and disco and dance music with a dark twist were sounds that I leaned into.

Lexxe-Interview

I knew I wanted to write something emotional that day and had mentioned it to him, and it was so amazing to me to see what he had already started based on me and the music I gravitate towards.

I’m always dancing as I write in the studio and that is something Dom picks up on and throws into the track. My body writes it too! 

Your lyrics get described as “raw.” What influences you to write a song, and what approach do you take with your lyrics?

I’m glad they are coming across as such! I love a metaphorical approach to lyricism just as much as any gal, but lately I’ve been feeling extremely stripped back with what I say.

For me saying “I love you so much, it scares me” or “I want to dye my hair like Rita Hayworth” has just resonated so much more with me, because they are actual thoughts that have legitimately crossed my mind.

If people resonate with who I am as a human and artist, I think that only brings me closer to the audience. Like most other songwriters, I have books upon books of ramblings and random thoughts. Sometimes when I need help, I go back and find one!

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How did you get started with making music?

I met some friends at SUNY Purchase who made music and eventually it spiraled from there!

I was going to school for dance and generally left the music for when I was alone, but once I saw that you could make the songs in your head (and the shower) real, I just kept pushing to be better.

I always pictured myself dancing AND singing on stage since I was very young but never really understood where the singing aspect came in until I really saw it was what I was supposed to be doing all along. 

Your sound is described as “dark pop.” Which artists and/or styles influence your sound?

I really resonate with things that can be brought to life even heavier on stage, so I gravitate towards darker elements therefore my brand of pop is always a bit more brooding.

I’d say a healthy mix of Depeche Mode, Stevie Nicks á la “Stand Back,” The Weeknd, and Lady Gaga all live in my inspirational world.

In my free time, I literally listen to everything, but I am a sucker for ‘80s hair metal, metal in general, and goth music. 

You also trained as a ballet dancer. How does this experience influence you as a songwriter and performer?

I dance my way through the writing process, and I suppose that helps with my rhythms and my delivery when I record!

I also picture how I would dance to it, no matter what kind of song, and I think it shapes my structures and choices for sure. 

You continue to dance with COMPANY XIV, a neo-burlesque group. What made you transition from classical ballet to modern-day burlesque?

I left the classical dance world because I wanted to dance somewhere that loved every part of me. Company XIV is amazing because they truly let their performers and dancers live their truth on stage.

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However, the dancing is incredibly hard, Austin McCormick (choreographer and creator) trained in baroque dance as a child and went on to do ballet and graduate from Juilliard.

I am using ALL my training there, but I get to do it with as many tattoos as I want and in the most beautiful costumes. 

How did your rising pop career overlap with COMPANY XIV?

When I met Austin and auditioned, I actually was JUST about to put out my first-ever single, and since then, I’ve grown alongside the company, as well as been supported by the company!

As I became more comfortable and confident in my writing and the people I was producing my music with, Austin started letting me write my songs for the show. “Red Velvet” from Nutcracker Rouge is one of the most streamed songs I have on Spotify. 

Where do you see your career progressing long term, both in terms of music and dance?

I honestly do see myself giving full pop star in my future … dancers, album-tours, the whole shebang. I’m pretty persistent, and I know I can handle it.

And then eventually using my celebrity card to finally perform on Broadway (I’m coming for you, Chicago) – ha!

Writer

Ivan Yaskey is a Philly-born EDM and synthpop enthusiast and interviewer who recently relocated to beautiful Boston, MA.