Interview: "Shine" - Alexander James Rodriguez
“Shine” is such a fun, catchy song! What inspired you to write this new track?
Alexander: Thank you so much! From the start I wanted a funky beat to follow my song ‘Alright’ that I had ready to release at the top of 2022. It needed to follow the vibe but be a slightly faster tempo. It began with a simple kick drum and snare, before adding the funky bass guitars, my signature bells, and distinctive chimes, which appear in all of my songs. I also envisaged a talkback for the bridge, but it didn’t really work so we had to re-write it at the top of the year to be more melodic. The song went through two different bridge / middle 8’s, three bass guitars, four mixes and four mastering sessions before the version you hear today.
The lyrics are all things I love but we turned them into metaphors. For example, I am a keen astronomer. I have a massive telescope which, pre-pandemic I would volunteer my scope for the public star parties at Griffith Observatory (where they filmed La La Land) and teach people about the planets or the stars we could see that night. It seemed natural to develop ‘Shine’ from all things that sparkle in the night sky but with a metaphorical twist. I also love cheddar cheese so found a way to finesse that into the second verse along with gummy bears, one of my favorite go to candy!
Vocally I wanted to use my voice range, so this song has the most vocal layers I have ever recorded on a song so far. Every vocal on the song is mine from backing vocals to adlibs. It has been one of my favorite songs to write and record.
What inspired you to make the transition from acting into music?
Alexander: I am still a SAG actor, but when the pandemic hit at the top of 2020 productions went on lock down, so I decided to write music until things could start up again. Two years later I am loving my music career, and hope to land a recording contract. I did film for a feature with Mickey Rourke at the end of last year, ‘Replica’ and it will be out later this year. I hope you’ll be able to see it when it releases. I trained in fight choreography for the first time. I was so scared I was going to really punch my co-star. I had to fake strangle him in a juvenile correction facility – it was wild!
Who are your biggest inspirations when it comes to your music?
Alexander: I love all types of music, and listen to a lot of 80’s pop. Actually I just listened to ‘Brothers in Arms’ from Dire Straits. Great album. The intros are so long! From today’s music I like Charlie Puth, Harry Styles, Dua, Bruno Mars (Silk Sonic), Justin Timberlake, mostly pop.
We love the music video for “Shine’! What was your favorite moment from the shoot?
Alexander: Thank you so much! I think my favorite was putting on the gold glitter jacket, satin shirt and getting to play that 70’s disco role. I had fun being in character. The snap at the end was my brain child to match the ending of the song itself. It wasn’t as easy as I thought though – the light switch was the other side of the door away from the music playing. The light really does go off at that moment in the video!
Tell us a bit about your new talk show, ‘The Alexander Show’!
Alexander: Oh wow, yes so I wanted to create a show similar to Graham Norton or James Corden but for teenagers about today’s working teenagers. We invite teens to the show to talk about their latest music or movies. It’s a 12 minute show that has an interview portion, quick fire facts and then a fun game to finish up. We play anything from What’s in the Box to Speak Out. Anything silly really! The whole set is British and we film in Hollywood. It was really hard to find the props on set – we had a lot of things sent over from England, and we pulled a lot of things from my bedroom. Each week I bring something new for the shelf and the team have to try and spot what it is!
Congratulations on the Rising Star Award at the HMMA’s! What is on your bucket list to achieve in your career? We can’t wait to see what’s next for you!
Alexander: Thank you, you guys are the best. My immediate bucket list is pretty solid. I really want a recording contract with Atlantic Records or Warner for example. I’d love to have their marketing support and go next level with my music career. I’d love to do a collab with other pop artists, turn on the radio and hear my songs, go on tour, and win a Grammy in 2023. I’m also manifesting to play young Robin during the backstory of Robin from ‘Batman’. I have read the comics and think I’d make a great Robin, for whenever they start casting! Aside from that, I am a Freshman in high school, and plan to leave the year with a 4.0 GPA, release new music, and continue to work hard at being the best I can. It’s a big bucket list… wish me luck!
Interviewed By Sarah Curry