In selecting the Buzz Artist for the month of March, I was a little concerned about what choice could be made. It seems that music has been somewhat devoid of really interesting new artists and I was kind of struggling to figure out an artist who was up-and-coming and worth actually devoting an entire post to here on the blog. As I was carousing around the internet one day last week, I decided to check up on one of my long-time favorite artists and find out what she has been up to and what she has coming up. As it turned out, there was a lot of really fascinating news. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really share this news with anybody I knew because I don’t really know anybody who has even heard of this artist, let alone would care about the really exciting news I found on her website. Then it dawned on me – that is the exact reason why I have decided to do the monthly buzz artist feature. Thus, I had my Buzz Artist for March: Alexz Johnson.
As I mentioned before, Alexz Johnson has been one of my favorite artists for several years. I first discovered her back in 2004 with the premiere of the television series “Instant Star.” “Instant Star” was created by the people behind the massively successful “teen” series “Degrassi Junior High” and it’s various spin-offs. “Instant Star” aired in the US on TeenNick, back when it was simply known as The N, and centered on the winner of a fictional “Idol” type reality show called “Instant Star.” This character, Jude Harrison, was played by Alexz Johnson. Alexz not only played the lead role but also wrote or co-wrote the bulk of the music included in the series first season. Each episode of the show featured an original song and at the end of each season a soundtrack was released featuring all of these songs. The show was a little dorky at the beginning but what really drew me in to the show was Alexz Johnson’s voice. In my opinion, Alexz Johnson has one of the best voices in the music industry today and in years. This makes it such a shame that so few people have actually heard her music. I wanted to feature her voice and some of the amazing songs included in the 4 seasons that “Instant Star” ran – check out the videos below.
“24 Hours (Live at CTV)”
“Skin (Live Acoustic)”
“Another Thin Line (Live At The Instant Star Backstage Pass Special)”
“That Was Us”
“I Still Love You”
Since “Instant Star” ended, Alexz has had some troubles with getting her music released. She had initially signed with Epic Records and was set to release her debut, non-“Instant Star” album in 2008, even releasing 5 absolutely amazing original tracks intended for the record on her Myspace page. After continuous delays and push backs, Alexz was eventually released from her contract with Epic when the heads of the label changed. So, despite the songs recorded for her initial album being tied up in arrangements with Epic, she decided to move forward with a whole new record that she would release independently. This led to her official debut album, “Voodoo,” which was released in 2010. In 2011, she also released a completely remixed version of the “Voodoo” album, entitled “Reloaded,” (which, ironically, was a storyline in the final season of “Instant Star.”) She also released a brilliant album called “The Basement Recordings,” which featured pretty raw demo versions of a lot of random leaked songs from her previous recordings and such, including even some of those songs from her album for Epic. She has also just recently released a new EP called “Skipping Stone,” featuring the gorgeous single of the same name. I will discuss the details of this EP a little further next but I also wanted to feature some of the music from her non-“Instant Star” work, including some really great live performances and the official videos for the singles she has released.
“Trip Around The World”
“Look At Those Eyes (Demolition Crew Remix)”
“Boogie Love (Demolition Crew Remix)”
“Running With The Devil (Live Acoustic)”
“Taker (Live at Maxwell’s Music House)”
The really fascinating, exciting news I was speaking about at the start of this post is about the “Skipping Stone” EP and how it can be purchased. Alexz has started working with a program called Kickstarter, which touts itself as “the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.” Essentially, Kickstarter is a way for artists of all types to get funding for the projects that they are working on. The way that it works, at least in Alexz’s case, is by taking donations from fans and other people across the world. You set a goal, (Alexz’s was $30,000 to fund a full tour across North America,) and people donate. In her case, she offered up different things in return for donation, based on the different amount that you donate. These things include, at the lower levels, a digital download of the “Skipping Stone” EP, a signed hardcopy of the “Skipping Stone” EP, a limited edition t-shirt. At the higher donation levels, she is offering things like a telephone call or Skype chat with her to thank you, a live video of a show from the tour once it takes place, backstage passes and meet & greets at a show on the tour to even having her come perform a live show in your home. It’s a pretty amazing concept and Alexz has already doubled her goal of $30,00. As of today, she is at $60,539, which will be more than enough to fund her tour. She’s also still got 4 days to go! I’m really excited about this whole concept and even more excited about the concept of Alexz actually touring and the possibility of her coming to play in my area!
If you would like to make a donation to assist in funding Alexz’s tour, please visit http://www.alexzjohnson.com and click on the Kickstarter logo on the lower left-hand side of the page.
Based on the independent and fan-supported nature of Alexz’s solo music, I didn’t want to include any of that for free download. I do think it is really important to support independent musicians and artists of all types, so I try to avoid offering up good chunks of their music for free because it is kind of like taking food out of their mouths. However, I have no problem doing this with major labels. I also have no problem with sharing unreleased music that has been leaked to the internet. With that in mind, I present here, as a sampling of Alexz’s work, the leaked tracks from her shelved debut record for Epic Records, given the title of “Weight.” These are all the tracks that were never able to be released due to complicated arrangements with Epic Records but that were leaked to the internet at one point or another. A couple of tracks are a slightly funny quality but they are generally pretty great quality and I have always felt that these songs, especially the original 5 posted to her Myspace, (“Swallowed,” “Easy,” “Golden,” “Running With The Devil” and, my personal favorite, “Chicago,”) are really representative of Alexz’s music and talents.
Alexz Johnson – “Weight”
- Running With The Devil
- Lost and Found
- Saving The Train
There you have it – Alexz Johnson, the Beausic Buzz Artist for the month of March 2012. Definitely check her out – she is one to watch and her music is absolutely brilliant. Also, like I said above, if you are interested in making a donation to fund her tour, please visit http://www.alexzjohnson.com and click on the Kickstarter logo on the lower left-hand side. For just a $10 donation, you can download the digital copy of the “Skipping Stone” EP, which is absolutely brilliant and I definitely recommend. I wish Alexz all the best in the remaining 4 days of her Kickstarter campaign. I also wish all of you a beautiful weekend and a beautiful life!