Hey folks, Valkor here, at work behind the scenes preppin the new TOV for your enjoyment. But before I tackle more code, I'm gonna dip my toes into the pool of the tunes of a new artist recently brought to my attention… by none other than the artist herself. And Alexx Calise, I think you've made a fan of the Val, because her latest album "In Avanti" is a winner in my book. In between scope out the pics and vids that will leave you wantin more.
If you've read my past music reviews from Cori Yarckin, to Melissa Lambert, or even Kate Voegele, you know I'm not the prime choice for reviewing tunes, but I do put my best foot forward (No good, bad, ugly here). But if I could use one word to describe Alexx's sound of her second album, I'd use the word "Fierce"! The first song, "Anything Goes" mixes a lot of synthetic pop while tossing in some rock, creating something dynamic, fresh, and funky. Another favorite track is the one I was introduced to – "Break Me". It has a hint of Evanescence's "Going Under", it's haunting, beautiful, and it has some bite. "Cry" takes a step back from all the heavy electronic and rock riffs, giving you her full vocal attention, again it's beautiful and definitely my favorite track in the set. Finally for me there's "Good Enough" (The Dirty South Mix) is fast-paced and sexy, definitely gets you amped!
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I would love "Get Used to it" but there's a reverb of Alexx's voice at the bridge that definitely takes me out. Actually that's the only song I have some slight objection to. However the album as a whole is a pretty solid effort, bringing a fresh sound to the rock genre. Pay attention to this gal because you'll definitely start to see and hear more from her. Alexx Calise is already sweeping the nation with her tunes being put on regular rotation on MTV and VH1, plus her sound was used in a promo for the show "One Tree Hill". And to complete this review, the Val-man got go one on one with the sweet Florida siren, helping her current and new fans get to know her better. Check it out!
Let's kick things with the title of the album "In Avanti", what's the meaning behind the title?
"In Avanti" is Italian for "onward". The title, simple as it may sound signifies the next chapter in both my life and my career. I've learned a lot of valuable lessons since my debut album, and I think that I'm on a much greater path with this new next release.
How did you get your start?
Well, first and foremost, I've always been a writer. I've been penning stories and poetry since I was in kindergarten. I think that's the only way I really know how to articulate my thoughts properly.
I went to a Catholic school as a young kid, so I got my start singing in church (ha, ha, look how that turned out!). I picked up guitar at 11 to emulate my dad, who is a phenomenally talented musician as well.
For the most part, I'm self taught. I've only had a few lessons here and there for maintenance and to learn some of the fundamentals. Not knowing everything about my instruments has forced me to write outside of the box I think.
This is your sophomore album which is being met with much praise (especially from yours truly), how are you taking it all in?
The response has been astonishing, and I truly appreciate all of the positive feedback. I worked so hard for so many years to make this album happen, so it's amazing to hear that people are really enjoying it.
How are you and your family handling your new found success?
We're all extremely happy. This has all been the culmination of many years of hard work. My family has been there for me since the beginning, so it feels good to give them a little return on their emotional investment.
What's your personal favorite track on the "In Avanti" Album?
That's a tough one, because they're all very dear to my heart. However, I think "Get Used To It" and "Break Me" definitely rock the hardest and have the most meaning. Both (if you couldn't tell) were written about toxic relationships I had in the past. So many young people settle into toxic relationships because they feel like (or have been led to believe that) they're not good enough to be with anyone else, or, they're too afraid to leave because it's uncomfortable. These songs are about taking a stand, being a woman (or a man), and having the courage to remove yourself from a potentially disastrous situation.
If you could duet with any artist living or dead, who would it be?
I'd absolutely love to collaborate or do a duet with Daniel Johns of silverchair. He's an incredible lyricist and musician, and silverchair's been my favorite band since I was in the 6th grade.
If he were still alive, I would love to play with Stevie Ray Vaughan just once. He had such incredible feel and vibrato. Every time I listen to "Scuttlebuttin'" or "The Sky Is Crying", I get chills. He just made that guitar sing like no one else ever could.
Do you write your own songs/music?
Yes, I always write my own music, especially when it comes to lyrical content. Being a writer and all, that's a huge stipulation of mine.
"In Avanti" though is more of a collaborative effort between my producer and I. I enjoy writing with Lu because he gives my songs a really fresh, modern sound, and I trust him.
What methods do you use to help get the creative juices flowing?
Usually it's not up to me. I'm at the mercy of the writing gods. However, they're pretty mindful of my constant need for new material, so they throw me all kinds of things to draw inspiration from, such as anger, stress, traffic, relentless telemarketers...
All kidding aside though, I really just have to get myself into a "writing mood". That means no phone calls, no going on the internet, no interruptions, no nothing. The writing process is usually pretty painstaking for me, though it usually doesn't take me more than a day or two to bang something out. Sometimes, I'll stare at a blank screen or piece of paper for hours and not even come up with one line. When I get on a roll though, it starts to flow like water.
Have you ever thought about acting?
Yes, I've actually done a bit of it, and I usually end up playing a musician or a rocker if you could believe it, ha ha! The most fun I've had acting was on the set of the Disney "Science of Imagineering" shoot I did. I played guitar through this crazy Tesla Coil amp. Every time I played a note, all of these bolts of electricity would shoot out of the amp and into the air above the band. It was probably the coolest thing I've ever been a part of. Actually, the guy who designed the amp said that I was the first young person to ever play through it, so it was quite an honor.
What artists inspire you and your music?
I'm very inspired lately by silverchair, The Dissociatives, Archive, Vast and Massive Attack. They all bring something different and fresh to the table, and their music is incredibly pensive and moody. I've been writing a lot of great existential, introspective lyrics while listening to those bands.
Getting a touch personal, what kind of guys are you attracted to?
If I were on the market (ha, ha), I'd be attracted to someone who's smart, kind, well mannered, confident, respectful, low maintenance, and most importantly, funny. I'm a bit of a "card" myself, so I'd want to be with someone who could laugh at my cheesy jokes, or at least applaud me for trying.
Any turn ons or turns offs we should know about?
Turn ons: Smartness…and anything by D'Angelo.
Turn offs: Stupidity...and whenever someone drinks milk from their bowl after they've eaten cereal or soup. I know it's bizarre, but it looks barbaric and the slurping sound just freaks me out. (Valkor's notes: I'm out! I'm such a bowl slurper lol)
Favorite late night snack?
Cookies or quesadilla…Just not all in one shot.
Any final words for your fans and TOV readers?
Yes, please check out my new album, "In Avanti" available exclusively at alexxcalise.net! Also, be on the lookout for my new song, "Release Me" in the upcoming film, "Based On True Events" starring William Forsythe, Malcolm McDowell and Deedee Pfieffer.