Alien Love Song: For When You Feel Like An Extraterrestrial On Earth
Alex Kaf is a Philadelphia based singer-songwriter attending college in New York. This past summer, she released her debut single, “Summer Love Song,” and the success she found with her first release has inspired her to go forth with her new single, “Alien Love Song,” which will be available on Friday, January 15th. Alex was the national anthem singer for the professional women’s ice hockey team, The Metropolitan Riveters, in the 2019-2020 season. Her debut single, “Summer Love Song,” was featured in Pastel Serenity Zine and received recognition on popular Instagram accounts @the_musicreviewer and @living6feetapart. The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Greater Philadelphia Cappie Awards, and the Philadelphia Independence Awards acknowledged her theatre performances. She attends Syracuse University studying Musical Theatre and Music Industry.
HELLO ALEX, SO GLAD YOU’RE HERE! LET’S START. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF? WHO IS ALEX KAF IN YOUR OWN WORDS?
I’m so happy to be here! I am a 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Philadelphia, PA; I attend college in New York. My music is for doodling in your favorite journal, singing into a hairbrush, crying on your bedroom floor, singing in the car with your best friends, and everything in between. I write primarily indie-pop music that takes inspiration from artists such as Taylor Swift, Maggie Rogers, and Tori Kelly, but maybe a little more straight out of your teenage diary. I write about life as I see it. I wrap concrete details and vivid pictures in blankets of metaphor and imagery.
TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU STARTED MAKING MUSIC?
I have been singing and performing since I was born. However, before I wrote songs, I participated in musicals and trained in acting, singing, and dancing. I began writing music at the age of fourteen after seeing Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. King’s inspiring story and groundbreaking music inspired me to write my own stories into songs. Theatre allowed me to tell other people’s stories; songwriting gave me the opportunity to tell my own story.
WHO INSPIRES YOUR PLAYING STYLE? WHICH ARTISTS CAN WE REFER TO?
The music I listen to inspires the music I write. I try to expose myself to all genres to obtain a wide breadth of knowledge. Female singer-songwriters such as Taylor Swift, Maggie Rogers, Tori Kelly, Julia Michaels, and (of course) Carole King inspire me the most. These women weave relatable experiences and emotions into unforgettable lyrics and melodies that make people feel less alone. That is what I want to do with my music. I want people to listen to my songs and think, “it’s like she wrote that for me” (because I did!).
WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS LIKE? HOW DO YOU START WRITING A MUSIC PIECE? HOW DO YOU BEGIN YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
My history of writing poems and short stories led me to become a “lyrics first” person. I began learning how to play the piano just a few years ago, and I am still improving. My process differs for each song I write. Some songs I can sit and write in twenty minutes; others will take months to find the right words. Each song begins with an emotion or a story. From there, I weave lyrics through the chords, melody, and rhyme scheme to turn a feeling into a memorable song. After completing the song, I take it into the studio to collaborate with Grammy Award-winning producer James Cravero and instrumentalist Timothy Campbell. We work together to perfect the instrumentation and accompaniment to serve the story of the song.
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW SONG, ‘ALIEN LOVE SONG’. EXPLAIN THE STORY BEHIND IT.
Thank you; I am very excited about it! I wrote the chorus of “Alien Love Song” in the early spring of 2019 (I was a junior in high school) while grappling with my feelings for a boy I was close friends with. The strength and longevity of my emotions overwhelmed me. However, when we were with his friends, I felt overwhelmingly alone. I wrote the rest of the song over the summer of 2019. My feelings for him had not subsided, but I knew I needed to move on. He was leaving for college, and I was still in high school. The way he felt about me could never live up to the way I felt about him; he was never going to be the person I imagined in my head. I wrote “Alien Love Song” about feeling so disconnected from this person that it was as if I was an extraterrestrial on his planet. The song preaches love and loss by expressing the sadness of an ending colliding with the hope of a new beginning.
HOW IMPORTANT IS PERSONAL BRANDING IN YOUR PROFESSION AND WHAT YOU DO TO GROW YOUR BRAND?
Personal branding is crucial in my profession. My songs represent my voice, and my pictures and videos create my aesthetic. My brand gives people a concrete image of the person I am and allows potential fans to determine if I am someone they identify with. I trust that by developing my brand and making it a reflection of myself, the people who need to find me and my music will find me. Authentic branding is essential to building a committed fanbase. By allowing your originality to shine through in your brand, people will love you for you. Hiding behind a fabricated version of yourself to please others will only harm you in the long run.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO BE A SOLO PERFORMING ARTIST?
I would tell them to make sure they are doing it because they love it, not because they want fame or recognition. You will care about your music more than anyone else, and you have to be ok with that. It is important to love every part of the process. From the writing to the recording, to the marketing, to sending out emails hoping someone will notice your work, you have to enjoy the journey. As a solo artist, it is invaluable to have a clear idea of yourself as a person and your voice as an artist. Infusing those two components into your music and branding will make you successful.
WHAT ARE YOUR MUSIC GOALS FOR COMING YEAR, AND HOW ARE YOU WORKING TOWARD ACHIEVING THEM?
Being a first-year college student and an artist during the pandemic has been challenging. Yet, I still work with what I’m dealt with and maintain the same level of excitement about my career. In 2021, I hope to release more music and grow my fan base. Over the summer of 2020, I recorded a full EP; my biggest goal in 2021 is to release my debut EP!
LASTLY, WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOU ONLINE?
People can find me on Instagram @alexkafmusic, on Tik Tok @alexkafrissen, on my website : (https://alexkafrissen.wixsite.com/alexkafmusic), and Spotify (https://open.spotify.com/artist/21WuE98FyIAia8IYT6UzAD?si=u7_rnnE8S4C2 K_vcLAcroQ).