#1 [Interview] A-J.net von Sun 12.05.2008 14:13

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On April 30, 2008 I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview Alexz Johnson. As many of you know, Alexz has been in the studio over the past several months working on her first album with producer Greg Wells and her brother Brendan. Only 21 years old, has pulled inspiration from many timeless artists from the 70's and 80's creating an album she would describe as “Real, different, and eccentric.” In a music industry where an overabundance of Disney singing teen queens exists and where it's hard to gain solidarity and footing for even a minute, this young artist has a confidence and hope in her music and voice that many would say is lacking in the current state of the musical scene. Read further to hear what Ms. Johnson has to say about her new album, her hopes as an artist, the ending of "Instant Star" and much, much more.

I just wanted to say thank you for letting me do the interview for the website.

You’re welcome. And so sorry it’s taken so long.

No it’s okay, I understand you’re probably really busy getting everything together. So what we did was had a bunch of fans submit questions that they wanted to ask you. We took those, and based these questions off of them.

Are you the one that runs the website?

I am.

Oh cool, awesome. Nice site.

Aw, thank you. Okay, so our first question is how old were you when you first started to sing, and have you had any professional training?

I basically started singing as soon as I was born. My first form of communication was singing [laughs]. And I started lessons when I was eight years old. Around nineish I wanted to sing really bad. And I did operatic training for eight and a half years.

How old were you when you wrote your first song?

I was um, I think, thirteen, or fourteen. And I wrote it with my brother Brenden.

And do you remember what it was about?

There were a couple of songs we wrote around that time, I think the first song though, the official song was called ‘Running Back’ And it was about, life kind of being tough for people and making sure you choose the right way, and not the wrong way, even though life can be really tough.

Running Back is actually a song that was leaked online and a lot of fans really love that song.

That’s so funny, you know, I don’t even know how the heck those get out there.

Yeah, everyone’s like ‘oh we need to find more songs!’ and everyone is always trying to find material from you.

Yeah, it’s kind of a pain because, I wish one day I could redo one of those songs or something as a treat and kind of release it as one of my earlier songs but it’s frustrating that demos leak out there, you know?

For your album, it’s definitely an album that’s been a long time in the making. What was the process like for finding an appropriate label and how did you decide which one was the best fit for you?

I basically just wanted to find a label that would support everything that I was feeling. And it wasn’t about going with the biggest label or anything like that; it was just about finding a label that would let me have my artistic freedom and be able to help me get this album distributed everywhere. I mean, that’s kind of what a label does. You know, they kind of just help you get your record all over. But for me, the most important key to this album was finding the right producer to produce it, even before the label. And I actually ended up meeting with and planning on working with Greg Wells before I even had a record deal because for me I just wanted to do this great record with Greg. So that was kind of key for me, and then once I started working with Greg, labels became interested because I was released from my last Capitol deal and I finished filming Instant Star so I had some freedom then to actually go and meet with the labels and just focus on the music. And yeah, I just finished a couple of weeks ago.

Oh that’s awesome. So you said you started production in January for your album. Is production complete then, or are you still working out some songs?

So far, production is pretty much complete. It’s in the process of being mastered right now. And yeah, I just got back to Vancouver so I get to see family and friends for a bit.

Is there a distinct sound to it, or is it more of an exploration of genres?

Well it’s definitely… I pull from a lot of artists that I love. Nothing really recent; a lot of the artists I love like David Bowie, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Rickie Lee Jones. They’re all kind of not considered cool, hip artists of this time for young listeners. But I pulled from a lot of cool eclectic sounds, so I think my record’s kind of…just an eclectic pop record. It’s pretty different, actually, from anything I’ve ever heard cause it’s not coming from anything that’s being made right now in the music industry so I’m looking forward to hearing the fans reactions.

You know, everyone is dying to hear it.

I know, I’m so excited to get it out there for you guys!

So do you think waiting this long to find the right label and producer was definitely worth it then?

Oh definitely, yeah. I got to make the record I’ve wanted to make for the last four years and it was so worth it. And good things take time you know? It’s like good wine. For me, it was never really a rush to just work with anybody and just get it out there. I loved doing Instant Star, it was great. I love acting, its fun, but really, my music is my heart. It’s so important to me; it’s working away at something that’s coming from your heart. And it has to be real, and it has to be completely what I believe or else what’s the point of making my own music? You know, I might as well just sing someone else’s songs. So it was definitely worth the wait for me. I got to work with the amazing Paul Buckmaster who did the strings for the album, and that was pretty incredibly because he did Space Odyssey for David Bowie, and he’s just pretty much one of the best string arrangers of all time so that was kind of a dream come true. And just working with Greg Wells in general, he’s just an incredible producer. My brother was involved in all the songs, and all the songs have been legitimately me and Brenden songs, and it’s just kind of been like a dream experience.

I’m glad everything is working out the way that you wanted it to.

Yeah, it’s been a long time coming, but it’s worth it, you know?


Yeah, cause I know a lot of fans have been waiting since the So Weird days for your album, because when you had your official site, people would check and see the progress on your album and stuff like that.


I’m actually going to be getting a site up soon. The link’s going to be up on my myspace, and actually the label‘s going to get involved with that, and helping. Epic’s kind of going to take over and get my vision on the site so fan’s kind of know what the heck I’m up to but I am kind of a hidden…a little bit of a…I like to just work on my music and do my thing, and I’m not really a heavy pusher on promoting myself. I just can’t wait to start playing these shows live, and slowly start to make my way.

Recently someone stumbled across a few track titles on LastFM and another website and the titles were Zeppelin, Shutting You Out, Crawl and Killa featuring Brendan. Did you actually write these songs? And if you did, will any of these appear on the album?

I can’t say those are the songs that I actually wrote, but I can tell you those songs will not be on the album.

Okay, so on your new album, is there one stand out song that you think the fans will really connect with, or is there one that is particularly important to you?

I’ll just have to say that I love every song on the record; I mean I connect to these songs, and it’s such a personal thing. I don’t even know if people are going to really love the music, or like the music, it’s so just…what I love about music. It’s very rhythmic and I couldn’t pick a song…um, yeah I couldn’t pick one song. I couldn’t even pick what song could be a single; I think I’m just too close to it.

So it’s a really personal album for you then.

It is, it’s a pretty personal album for me.

Who are your biggest musical influences, not necessarily the ones you hope your music sounds like, but the ones who have inspired you to become an artist?

I would have to say Peter Gabriel, and Ricki Lee Jones, definitely those are huge influences for me.

If you could perform, or record a duet with any musician, who would it be, and why?

I would actually really like to...hm, I was just thinking about that recently actually, there are so many artists I would like to collaborate with, I would love to work with David Gray, The Police, would be so much fun. I actually think it would be cool to collaborate with Moby, I think he’s a very challenging producer.

Is everything going according to plan, and if not, are you happy with the way things are playing out in your career?

Yeah, yeah. Things are going awesome. I’m happy I just finished making the record I’ve wanted to make my whole life. So, I can’t wait to make my next record, already. And I can’t wait to get this out there for you guys to hear!

It’s going to be awesome.

I know, it’s exciting. It’s part of it, it’s part of the fun of making this, and when you’re making it you kind of forget that people are going to hear it, and it’s like ‘wow, everyone’s going to hear this, and this came from my heart, so…’

Okay, so we’re going to back a little bit to the Instant Star part of your career. Were you happy with the way Instant Star ended, and did you think it was time for the show to end?

I do think it was time, it felt like the perfect time for Jude to move on, the character to kind of get out of G-Major and just move on. I don’t know what else they could have done with that storyline to be honest with you. Four years…she’s with Tommy, she’s not with Tommy, she loves Tommy…I mean, she’ll always love Tommy but I think it’s just good timing. And it was an amazing time, doing that show. Four years and it was really a blast.

A lot of shows don’t even get four years, so Instant Star has been successful.

I know, it’s amazing.

You had said after season one, you had kind of wanted to separate the lines of Jude and Alexz-

Yeah, and I kept that throughout the whole four seasons. I definitely wanted the music that I do and the artist that I am is so different from Jude and this character that was written for me to play everyday, and so that was important to me, and I think I stayed true to that every season. And especially when you guys hear the record, I think you’ll hear the difference between Alexz Johnson as an artist, and Jude Harrison as an artist.

You did a lot of writing for season one, but in season two you stepped away from that-

I did, I just wanted to start focusing on my music, and start writing my music. It’s kind of weird, putting all my heart, soul, and love into my songs and then be writing for a character on a TV show, so I kind of stepped away and just let the writers take over.

The music was great in season two, also.

Oh, I’m a huge fan of the writers on the show, they’re really, really talented.

Yeah, I got to interview Lights and Dahmnait, and it was really great to be able to get into their headspace and see what they’re all about and how they write for the show, but in season four, the exec said that you and your brother wrote a song, ‘Just Wanted Your Love,’ what made you change your mind, to write for season four?

Oh nothing changed my mind, to be honest with you there wasn’t even a definite decision to not write for the show, there wasn’t a ‘I’m not going to write for the show anymore, and that’s it’ it was just kind of during that time in my life during season two, I was working so much on my own music and I just didn’t write anything for the show. And during season four one day, I was just kind of messing around with my bro one day writing this song that didn’t really sound like something that should be on my record so I thought ‘hey, why not just give this to season four of Instant Star’

And of course, once we found out, everyone was like ‘oh, I can’t wait to hear It’ because a lot of the songs you wrote for season one are the more popular ones.

That is so cool to hear, I love that.

For season three, you had mentioned in another interview that you had some sort of involvement in “Where Does It Hurt,” did you write it?

You mean, did I write it? No, I think that was a misunderstanding, I didn’t write “Where Does It Hurt.”

Were you involved in anyway aside from the vocals?

Well I sang vocals and background parts in it, but besides that, no. Oh, but I did mention that it was one of my favorite songs that I hadn’t written.

If you had to pick, which is your favorite Instant Star episode?

That’s such a tough question, I would have to say the rooftop concert with Where Does It Hurt. I loved doing that. What else…you know, it’s been so long since I’ve looked at the scripts….Oh yeah, also the one, well it’s for season four, but I’ll just say Sgt. Pepper. It’s kind of part of the theme. And I love that episode, the Sgt. Pepper episode.

Well that’s interesting. Now, with the end of Instant Star, do you and the cast still keep in touch?

You know, when you do a show for four years every single day with these people, they’re just a part of you, seriously, for the rest of your life. Whenever I’m going to be in town, or whenever we’re in the same city, we’ll definitely try and hook up and meet up. We’re pretty close. And they’re awesome, it kind of becomes like family. And that’s what’s weird about not being on a TV show anymore is that you become so close to these people, and then everyone goes off and lives where they live- Tim’s in Montreal, and I go off to L.A., or London or where ever, and it’s kind of crazy. But we do keep in touch, and thank goodness there’s cellphones.

That’s great that you keep in touch because everyone is so talented, and they’re off doing their other thing, but it’s good to hear that you guys are actually friends off set.

Yeah, and you know what, Laura Vandervoort is the bomb. She’s a really sweet girl, so definitely it’s important for me to keep in touch with them.

One of the biggest things on the show is the coupling of Jude and Jamie, and Jude and Tommy, and a lot of people are hardcore Jude/Tommy, or Jude/Jamie. Do you have a preference for a coupling on the show?

That’s so hard to say because it’s like the best friend, and the guy next door- the good guy, and the bad guy. And it’s interesting, because you always want the bad guy, because once you get the bad guy, you change him to the good guy, and then you don’t want the bad guy anymore. So I would say….it’s so hard, and two different things, you know? Jamie knows her, and Jamie really loves her, and she loves Jamie, but I think she was in love with Tommy and I think she felt that Tommy was older, and Tommy could teach her some stuff she didn’t know. She grew up with Jamie, and they were kind of on equal footing. And I think Jude fell in love with Tommy cause she kind of wanted that mentor type in her life with what she was doing, and what she was learning. And she kind of needed that older guy to take control and her help her out with her everyday decisions. So it’s tough to say, because it’s two different things.

I understand, two different worlds. So now that you’ve got your music starting off, and once you get your career established, do you think you’ll ever go back to acting?

Oh yeah, I’m taking a break from it right now, because doing this record, honestly, the last three, four, five months of my life have been really quite an experience. Working on these songs, I’ve really put my heart out there. And it’s an amazing feeling, but I’ve just let all of it out and I kind of need the break. But definitely, I would love to do- in fact, I would love to have my music involved in some really great films. But I want to do great films, probably not TV for a long while, I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to TV, cause I’ve done that. Two shows, and it kind of feels like I’ve done that in my life. But I would love to do some great independent, cool, edgy films. I’d love to do the music for them.

That would be a really good mix right there, getting the music, and then doing a bit of acting, too.

Yeah, because they are two of my passions. My passion would be to get my music into amazing films, and not even be in the film, I don’t have to be in the film acting. I would love to do the music for Cirque de Solei in the future, or be involved in the music for great films, that would kind of be a dream for me, more than acting in them. But of course if a great script came my way, definitely. I love film as well.

You kind of came to popularity from the Disney channel, what do you think of all the Disney teen-queens that are coming to popularity as of late, and were you ever offered a deal with Disney?

I would have never done that. I would never do a deal with a company that was an all inclusive thing, cause you know, my music is just so different. I don’t even know how Disney would market the stuff that I’m doing as an artist. So yeah, my goal has always been about the music, more than anything. More than any acting, putting my music to films, unless it was my music that I’m doing right now, more than anything else. It’s just about doing records and I want to go on tour, and just play my music.

Do you fear, or are scared of the troubles people go through because of the business and how public those issues can get, and how they can get put right into the public eye?

Yeah, and that’s why I stay so private, as best I can. That’s why I don’t like to put all my personal information on websites, and all that stuff, put photographs of me up on my myspace, I don’t like personal photos getting out there at all. You know, it is my life, and it’s like, I am very very private that way. It does worry me sometimes. You know, doing the music, and great great bands that really support me, and what I’m doing kind of outweigh the negative, though.

How does it make you feel to know that you have such a big impact on teen girls lives?

I like it, I think it’s overwhelming sometimes because it makes me feel like I’m just doing what I’m doing, and I’m just making the music I love, and I hope they love what I’m doing and what I’m making with this album. But I like that there’s fans who are waiting to hear what I want to do as an artist, and not just waiting for more kiddie stuff, or you know, it’s actually interesting, cause when Instant Star wasn’t coming back anymore, I found that people became excited about what I was going to do next instead of being sad about the show not being picked up again.

It’s good that you’ve got the support of the fans, no matter what you do. Tell me about some of your most memorable fan experiences, have you had any weird or odd meetings, or any that are particularly memorable for you?

I’ve had some interesting ones, I remember doing an autograph signing- ah, I don’t know. I don’t know if I even want to talk about it. [laughs]. I mean, they’re all great, and there are some fans who get emotional and stuff, but it’s all really, really sweet. There’s nothing negative that I can really say.

That’s great. But online there are people who pretend to be you, and they interact with the fans, going on different websites, and what sucks about that is that there are some fans who do believe these people. How do you feel about that, and are you going to try and respond to it?

You know what, if you can, just let everyone know that I never go online and talk directly to anybody, and the only site that belongs to me right now is myspace.com/alexzjohnson.

Well that’s good, because some of these people will go on AOL, or MSN and start chatting with fans.

Yeah, just let them know that that’s not me at all. I want to interact with my fans by being on stage, and playing them music, and getting to know them that way. I would never do it through AOL or MSN, and I’m not even good on computers, so…[laughs]

So moving on from that, where do you see yourself in ten to twenty years?

Hopefully happy. I see myself happy, making music, dancing around to beautiful music, and just making music for people, and people responding to it, and loving it. And hopefully, I know that my voice is all I’ve got, and my voice and my writing feels like what I’ve got to give back, and share with the world. And if I can change someone’s day by the lyrics I’ve written, then it makes it all worth it. And in twenty years, I hope that’s the case, that this music can move people.

If you only had an hour to live, what would you do?

I would spend it with my family.

That’s very important. Okay, what is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working, that isn’t related to acting, or music.

Oh, I love going to see shows, I love finding really, really cool lounge-y restaurants, and eating really great food and drinking really great wine. I love traveling, LOVE traveling. And hanging out with friends. I don’t have any other hobbies besides music, and writing. But yeah, just hanging out with family and friends, and laughing. I really love laughing, and having fun.

Living up life to the fullest.

Mmmhmm! Mmmhmm!

Describe your album in three words.

Real, different, and eccentric.

When can we tentatively expect the album to be released, and are you planning on touring?

Yes, I do plan on touring, and I hope it gets released this year, but if not this year, early next year. But at this point, it’s just about finding the right tour, and if I’m going to tour with an act, or if I’m going to tour on my own. And that’s just stuff that’s going to happen a day at a time. I just want to, as I did with the record, take my time and make decisions as I go.

Okay lastly, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?

Tell them that I love them, and I thank them for being so patient and this is an exciting time for me. I'm excited to play this music for everyone. And I hope that they love it.


Credits to http://www.alexz-johnson.net/alexzinterview.php

#2 RE: [Interview] A-J.net von instant star 4ever 12.05.2008 14:17

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ou toll.. hab fangs den anfang gelesen, lese nachher den rest.. aber mal danke fürs posten.. ist sicher interessant

#3 RE: [Interview] A-J.net von Philli 12.05.2008 19:44

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danke fürs posten!
naja, dieser Greg Wells sieht ja nicht so aus wie Tommy^^ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Wells) schade eig^^

#4 RE: [Interview] A-J.net von tina91 12.05.2008 20:12

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cool danke fürs posten
bin echt gespannt auf ihr album

#5 RE: [Interview] A-J.net von Sweety 13.05.2008 13:58

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danke fürs posten!!
das nenn ich mal ein langes interview sie hat viel über ihr album erzählt, uhh ich freu mich schon soo darauf^^

#6 RE: [Interview] A-J.net von JommyForever 07.06.2008 21:28

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wow.. das interview is ja urlang... aber thx fürs posten.. habs mir teilweise durchgelesen, weil ich nich so viel zeit habe.. aber ich find das toll, was sie gesagt hat zur letzten frage (das mit den fans)....

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