Making her debut with her first feature album, Chilean and Argentine artist Alexia Madrid released “When Things Fall Apart” on April 19.
WFTA feels like a nice, honest session about the emotional rollercoaster that comes with catching feelings, and the process of losing them. Alexia’s style itself blurs the lines between pop, R&B, and soul, defining her sound with hypnotic rhythm, catchy hooks, and strong pop aesthetic. We spent a little time getting to know her creative process, and how it led her to release her first debut album.
What was your relationship with music as a kid and in the home? What and who did you grow up listening to?
Growing up there was always music playing in the house, whenever I would come home from school there would be Spanish music on. My sister was also a big part of how I first got into singing. As all younger siblings tend to do, I always copied what my sister was into and the new things she would try. In my house, we always liked to play a variety of music like; salsa, bachata, merengue, cumbia, reggae, dance/house, jazz, pop, rock, blues, 50’s, 60’s, and R&B.
When did you start writing/creating your own music?
I first started writing a journal when I was in my senior year of high school with notes of different song ideas, experiences, and emotions. I found it hard to write in a song format but I knew the emotions that I wanted to convey and would always try to write a few sentences in melody form. It wasn’t until my first year of University when I finally started to write my own songs. While working on (WTFA), I finally began to see myself as a true songwriter.
What are you most proud of with “When Things Fall Apart”?
This whole project was very creative from the start and I loved how it flowed and evolved into what became “When Things Fall Apart”. I’m most proud of where we ended versus where we started. I’m satisfied knowing that this album is simply the start of my career and represents just some of what I have to offer.
Do you play any instruments?
Started playing guitar and piano in my early elementary school years. I took lessons with my sister but I wasn’t too fond of practicing, and eventually moved onto strictly voice lessons. I do own an acoustic guitar and have been looking into getting a piano in order to practice more.
Who do you find yourself looking to for musical inspiration?
I’ve never really had a distinguished artist that I particularly followed, as I had such a broad musical influence in my life. I look at music as an outlet for my emotions and I see it as a release. Another way I find inspiration is to look up beats and listen to the different vibes/sensations they give off, to improve my writing and improvisation skills.
I also look at the people around me and listen to their experiences, as it helps me to understand other perspectives of life and how there is always a similarity. We may not all go through the same things but we all know what it’s like to feel love, loss, anger, and happiness.
A lifelong musician, Madrid discovered a raw natural talent for music when she was a child and has been honing and developing her craft since. Never straying too far from her passion, she currently studies music at the University of Montreal: writing, performing, and developing her sound alongside her studies.
Who would you consider to be your biggest mentor(s) throughout developing your craft?
I first started with Merriam School of Music where I discovered my love for music. I went on to further develop my musical skills in high school through the Regional Arts Program, and then to the Schulich School of music faculty at McGill University. I believe my classical training has definitely helped me get to where I am today. I have had some incredible teachers and have always tried to apply some of their teachings in my music. As I began my musical career I have been guided by my manager/mentor Tori Pipkin.
Tell us a little bit more about the process of creating a debut album. It’s a major moment - your first full-length project, and to be released during a global pandemic at that. What did your creative process look like and is there any advice you wish you'd had before starting the process?
This was my first time ever recording in a professional studio. The most recording knowledge I had was recording a song a friend wrote for me in our University residence/dorm. After working on this project I felt a door open - full of possibilities. I absolutely loved the experience and I finally had something to show that was original. The majority of my album was recorded in Dallas, TX where I met some really great people who were able to share my ideas and really bring to light what I wanted to portray. They really helped to push me in the right direction and truly motivated me throughout this whole process. This was a long journey full of uncertainty. We faced real obstacles with closures and restrictions, but we still persevered. I worked very closely with everyone on this project to make it authentically me. I had never recorded before this and I wish I had started this project with more morale and self-confidence.
So much of the creative process involves rest and taking care of yourself - what does your self-care routine look like?
I’m currently working at home so I usually start my day early with a healthy breakfast. I try to spend the day outside if it’s nice and do some stretching and exercise. In the afternoon I like to do my daily vocal warm-up and practice some singing. Around the evening I enjoy meditating and writing music. I am always cautious as to not overexert myself and make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. I’m on constant watch of my body and how I’m feeling, taking care of my voice is my number one priority. If I do happen to get sick or if I happen to have some voice tension I ensure I have plenty of rest and keep my talking to a minimum.
Something you love/appreciate now that you wouldn’t have discovered had it not been for COVID?
As the pandemic first hit and schools transitioned to online learning, I decided it was best to go back home with my family. During the summertime my mom who is a Reiki Master taught me about Reiki, its healing benefits, and throughout COVID has attuned me to the first two levels of Reiki healing. This was a great resource to help me deal with the anxiety and stress of the pandemic. But I have since then discovered that it's been such a great tool in my everyday life, and especially with my creative writing.
I think that this pandemic has really brought my family and me closer together and although it can be overwhelming at times, I know that they will always be the people who are there for me through anything and everything. I have so much appreciation for all of them and wouldn’t be where I am today without them. They have been so supportive from the beginning and never fail to tell me how far I can reach.
Top 3 shows you are looking forward to post COVID?
I’m most excited about seeing The Weekend and Bad Bunny live in concert in 2022, along with the Osheaga Montreal Festival once COVID is no longer an obstacle.
WFTA should be handled delicately and absorbed with care. There’s a good chance you’re going to end up in your feelings, and there's a very good chance it’ll make you think about your ex. Don’t worry - Alexia makes this whirlwind of emotions a little easier to carry.