Gold Crwn Magazine ISSUE 28 // ALEX G - Page 50

Let’s talk your first album. Why the title, Growing Up?

It’s actually not formally called Growing Up! I have called it that publicly, and was going to make the change official after some management stuff shifted for me, but it never wound up happening! At this point it’s a self-titled album, although I still love what the Growing Up working title represents.

This album was really about me trying to figure out who I was while telling some really honest stories about where I was at in regards to love and to my career. I wrote the last track right before the album came out, and I love how different it feels from the rest of it. It does feel like the whole record is just a sort of musical and spiritual “growing up.” And that "growing up” reaches its culmination in Proof. That song was a big turning point in my evolution as an artist, as well as a human being.

How was the journey for you when creating that album?

I’d be lying if I said it was stress-free. I think, like a lot of things in my life at that point, I started off with expectations that were a bit extreme and a real desire for instant gratification. It was definitely a lesson in patience. With my primary platform at that point being YouTube, I was used to really quick turnarounds, fast growth, and hype. But what I learned making that album was that it’s okay to take my time on work that is personal to me. Good work is work that truly matters beyond just riding the waves of whatever is popular at the time. It matters beyond growing subscribers—it’s art! But it was really fun, and I got to give a lot of input on production and meet a lot of really talented people.

How was it to work with Jason Mraz on that project?

I loved working with Jason Mraz! When I met him, of course I was pretty starstruck. He was the biggest name I had worked with at the time, and I had listened to his music growing up, and so I was excited to meet him. I was also extremely nervous because I was new to cowriting and I felt so out of my league. But he was so humble, and so willing to create something tailored to me as an artist—he was easy to write with, and he was so kind. I remember having a long conversation about avocados. Unfortunately the song didn’t go on the album, but maybe you’ll hear it someday. (By the way, his voice in real life is INSANE, and it was surreal singing with him!)

You said you did not want to be just a “cute and bubbly girl with good values and a nice voice”. You wanted to be a leader. What made you want to become a leader after your first album?

There was a lot that happened all at once in my personal life that created a lot of change in my relationships, spirituality, my view of myself, etc. It really affected my music, my understanding of my career, and my ability to see the responsibility I have as an artist with influence. There was a large exodus of people from my life that was difficult (but so healing!), and it forced me to start looking inward.

It was a combination of heart-to-hearts with my best friend Torri, reading Brené Brown’s books, and growing in my understanding of God, that led to my search for meaning and my desire to lead with integrity. My struggle with shame and perfectionism was brought to light, and I realized I needed to confront that. In doing so, I felt really compelled to change everything about the way I presented myself publicly and professionally, and to bring that into unity with my behind-the-scenes self. The change you started to see on screen was pretty much exactly what was changing in my real life in real time.

The ‘Share Your Story’ EP was definitely a beautiful project. Why did you decide to pick that concept for the EP?

I wanted to turn a new leaf in my career as I was changing in my personal life. And, truthfully, I was just ready to make something that wasn’t all about me. I had also been reading Brené Brown’s work on shame resilience and vulnerability and was applying it to my life—I started seeing the power in speaking our shame and letting ourselves be truly seen and known. Somehow I wanted to connect the two, and one night at like 2am I just had this crazy idea to write songs about other people’s stories.