Featured Photo Credit: Bobby Singh
Within a few years, Canadian singer/songwriter Alexa Ray has carved out her own unique space in music. Ray and her collaborator, Randall Jermaine, have skillfully combined Ray’s powerful vocals with Jermaine’s epic orchestral and cinematic compositions.
Their distinct sound is evident in Ray’s latest single, “Fearless.” The song’s chanting lyrics create a focused beat and encourage listeners to follow their dreams with precision despite any obstacle.
“Fearless” is the title track off of Ray’s 7 track album due out this fall.
ECHO sat down with Alexa Ray and Randall Jermaine to talk about the single, “Fearless,” the album, and more.
When did you first become interested in music?
Alexa: I’ve been interested in music ever since I could remember. I think during middle school it became a real outlet for me. I know what people mean now when they say music saved their life. I think I went through a really dark time and music really gave me something to look forward to and excel at. It wasn’t until after high school I really started to take it more seriously; I studied through the Royal Conservatory doing piano, theory and classical voice grades and then went on to study music at York University.
Randall: I heard a song on the radio from a band called Creed, the song was “One Last Breath,” the melody, the chords, the vocals everything about that song at the time just moved me, I entered the music store and bought the album, next thing I bought was an acoustic guitar, I sat for months teaching myself the guitar so I could master the Creed songs and I just expanded from there.
Who did you listen to growing up and did they influence your sound today?
Alexa: I grew up listening to a lot of opera actually. I was a bit of an oddball child that way, haha. I thought I was going to become an opera singer so I listened to a lot of the great sopranos such as Kathleen Battle, Cecilia Bartoli and Maria Calas. I don’t think their sound has influenced me today, but I think the passion in their music has always stuck with me. In opera, it’s all about emoting and emotionally connecting with your listener so I think that’s what drew me to the art form and probably what you can hear in my music.
Randall: I grew up listening to Creed, Staind, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Nickelback, Evanescence and various trance bands, they definitely influenced my sound
Alexa, you’re trained in classical music. Do you find that that genre influences your sound?
Alexa: I started training classically from quite a young age so the classical technique is certainly ingrained in me. I don’t always hear it in myself, but I’ve been told by listeners they can hear my classical training when I sing. I guess it gives me that unique edge to my voice.
Your music sounds like it could appear in an epic film. What draws you to creating music that is so cinematic?
Alexa: I just really love music that moves you and tells a story. I guess coming from a classical background its something I’ve brought into what I’m doing now. I’ve always found the colors of the orchestra really impact the listener in a way synthetic sounds can’t always compete. A lot of what Randall and I are doing in this album is taking the classical world and really seeing how far we could take things- blending the styles of pop with huge electronic and cinematic productions. We really wanted people to be moved and I think what we created really gives the listener a unique and epic experience.
Randall: Later in my life, I became fascinated with film music. I’m really drawn to the way it forces certain emotions out of you , it is just simply amazing. I love orchestral instruments in particular, their so natural with the way they manipulate air to create a sound.
What can fans expect from your upcoming album, “Fearless”?
Alexa: The album has a good mixture of songs that weave between both the pop and cinematic style. The track ‘Fearless’ being the most pop, with other songs such as ‘Father Can You Hear Me’ that really fall more on the cinematic spectrum with huge orchestral productions. Overall, the album is very moody with huge vocal performances and you can really hear Randall and I experimenting with our production and the sounds throughout are heavily inspired by tv and film.
You are collaborating with Randall Jermaine and Dajuan Martineau on the album. How did you all get connected?
Alexa: I feel really blessed to be working with such an incredible group of individuals. I’ve known Dajaun for years…6 at least. He’s such an amazing person to work with and he always makes me sound so good. I almost exclusively work with him when it comes to my recording projects. I connected with Randall through a music production company, Atom Music Audio, who I’ve written a few tracks for. Randall and I had collaborated on a track prior to this and we just really seemed to sync on a music level which is often hard to find. We really liked working together and felt we really understood each other musically well, we mutually decided to do an album. Randall is an incredible composer and i’m so lucky to of found someone who I vibe so well with musically.
Randall: We connected through social media, Alexa was very responsive and kind and from there we just connected musically and started understanding each others musical abilities.
What was the inspiration behind the title track, “Fearless”?
Alexa: A lot of the music I write is about personal experiences and things I’ve gone through. This track specifically is about societal hypocrisy…and let me tell you- you’re never going to please everyone so at the end of the day, just be you! I’ve certainly had my ups and downs and I think I wrote the track to remind myself to stay fearless. I think the common misconception is that fearlessness means you’re not afraid. But In fact, being fearless means you’re scared but chose to do something anyway. Often what comes to mind is a heroic act such as running into a burning building or charging into battle when you hear the word fearless.. and yes, that’s a form of it… but I wanted to shed light on being fearless in everyday life; maybe that’s standing up to a bully, having the courage to just be you, or fearless to follow your dreams…And for some who struggle with depression or mental health, just having the courage to get out of bed in the morning is being fearless. I wanted the album to be an uplifting, motivational album to encourage people to keep on going. Especially with so much going on right now I really wanted my album to bring hope as well as light a fire of inspiration for people to persevere through whatever challenge they might be facing right now.
What was the writing process like for “Fearless”?
Alexa: A lot of back and forth! Randall lives in South Africa and I am from Canada, so there was certainly a time difference, but we did everything through email. Randall would often start a song or concept which would then inspire me to come up with a lyric and story. Depending on what I did vocally, Randall would then adjust the orchestration to fit and we just sort of went back and forth until we found a balance between the pop and classical world.
Randall: Alexa normally sends me some vocal demos and from there I create the instrumental based on what she sent and what I feel from her demo, its very organic.
If you could set fans up in the perfect environment to listen to “Fearless,” what do you imagine it looking like?
Alexa: I would certainly want it to be just as visually stimulating for the audience as it is a listening experience. Randall has really jam packed a lot of epic production into the tracks so performing it live would be so much fun. If budget wasn’t a factor, performing on a main stage with a full light show and a full orchestra would be an absolutely incredible experience.
Randall: I wouldn’t mind having a Tomorrow Land type setup, fireworks, extremely large crowd and amazing lighting
What do you hope people take away from listening to “Fearless”?
Alexa: At the very least, I just really hope people will enjoy it and find the album relatable. I really wanted the album to be encouraging, so I do hope people will also feel inspired and uplifted as well.
Randall: An epic taste left in their mouth, we definitely want the album to be relatable and hope they can’t wait for the next one.
What is one quote that you have heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world?
Alexa: A quote I like to live by is ‘ a ship is safe in a harbour , but that’s not what ships are meant for’. I love this quote so much because it reminds me that life is about the ups and downs- it won’t always be smooth sailing but this is what living means.
Randall: Always do what you wanna do in this life, we have one life to live, it is our duty to fulfill our dreams.