Illinois native and TikTok’s favorite country star Alexandra Kay is a multi-talented woman. Not only can she sing and write some infectious songs, but she can even act and play softball. Proving that she has all the makings of someone who can achieve anything they put their mind to.
In 2013, at just 18-years-old, Kay launched her career as a Country music artist, now fast forward to 2021, she has released several songs, is working on an independent tour and plenty of new music. Kay told Music Mayhem that growing up around Country music, she knew right away that she was meant to pursue a career within the genre.
“All my parents listened to in the car was country radio, 92.3 WIL was the soundtrack to my childhood,” Kay said. “So it was no surprise to me that when I started finding melodies to these pre existing poems, that everything sounded dangerously close to what Jo Dee Messina or Sara Evan’s would sing.”
Her just-released single, “How Do We Go,” was written alongside her friends Matt Wynn and Lizzie Cates. This song asks the question, “how do we make this better?” when you feel you have grown so far from someone you were once so close to.
“We stayed up until 1:00 AM writing that song. I am so incredibly proud of it and what it has done to comfort people going through a strain in their relationship. Also I got to write it with my friends.. ain’t nothing better than that!” Kay explained.
Alexandra Kay caught up with Music Mayhem to discuss her current projects, singing at the Country Music Hall of Fame, her love for Randy Travis, her upcoming “In Real Life” tour, TikTok series and more.
Read on to find out what Kay has been up to in this exclusive Q&A!
For our readers to get to know you a little bit more, can you share your backstory?
I am from a smallish town called Waterloo IL. I started writing songs when I was 14 but music was not my first love. I played select softball my entire life and began training and showcasing at the collegiate level when I was 16. When it was time to choose which college to go to (on scholarship) to play ball.. I decided not to go. I started really chasing down my dream at 18. I signed with an independent record label in 2013 and released two singles before leaving the label due to creative differences. I took to social media after leaving my deal and started uploading covers of my favorite 90s country hits to Facebook. Before I knew it, my Facebook following was growing thousands a day. My video of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” was viewed 60 million times and ended up putting me on a radio tour and opening slots for some of my heroes in country music! Shortly after I was cast in a Netflix Original Series called Westside and lived in Los Angeles for 2 years before returning back to Nashville where I’m currently working on an independent tour, a new single I just released June 30th and an upcoming EP.
What inspired you to pursue a career in country music and is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
I completely fell into music unexpectedly. I have always been a creative writer, I won some young authors competitions as a child and continued to journal and write poetry as I grew older. I started writing songs as a coping mechanism in my early teens. I was just trying to figure out who I was and where I fit in.. I was also navigating love for the first time and all of its intensity and music is where I found I could release all of these pent up emotions without judgement because at the time.. no one was meant to hear them! LOL . All my parents listened to in the car was country radio, 92.3 WIL was the soundtrack to my childhood. So it was no surprise to me that when I started finding melodies to these pre existing poems, that everything sounded dangerously close to what Jo Dee Messina or Sara Evan’s would sing.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences/inspirations?
Garth Brooks will always be number one for me. I have all of his live dvd sets and I used to sit in my living room and watch him and CRY. I know it sounds strange, but everything about his performance, the crowd reaction, his lyrics and ability to emote moves me in a way that I can’t fully explain. All I know is that I want to do that for other people. That is ultimately what drives me. Taylor Swift has inspired me so much as a songwriter over the years and Jo Dee Messina as a vocalist and overall bad ass. I got to open for Jo Dee once .. best day ever.
You released your brand new single called “How Do We Go,” Can you tell us about this new song and how it came about?
How do we go is currently out EVERYWHERE! I was completely blown about by the reaction to this song when I first started teasing it on TikTok in March. I had come into the room with the concept of “How did we go from so great to so far apart? How did we get here? But then turning it around and asking.. but how do we go? Like.. how do we leave?” Matt Wynn, one of the co writers along with co writer Lizzie Cates, suggested we switch the concept around to more of a question of “How do we make this better?” And we were off! We stayed up until 1:00 AM writing that song. I am so incredibly proud of it and what it has done to comfort people going through a strain in their relationship. Also I got to write it with my friends.. ain’t nothing better than that!
@alexandrakaymusicI added this song to my tour set! So ready to scream it with you guys this week and next!♬ original sound – Alexandra Kay
You started a series on TikTok called Coffee Covers a year ago, did you ever expect it to go as viral as it did and become a trend on TikTok?
Absolutely not! The very first coffee cover was an accident. Someone asked how I make my coffee so I posted a video of me pouring everything into my cup.. The Chicks “Cowboy Take Me Away” just happened to be playing through my Alexa and I sang along. I had no idea those videos would lead me to two iTunes No. 1’s, millions of streams and meeting some of my biggest inspirations! It’s been a dream.
I mean, recently you had freakin’ Randy Travis join you while you sang his song and made coffee in his kitchen. What was that experience like and how much does Randy Travis mean to you?
Randy dueted one TikTok of me doing a coffee cover singing his song “Deeper Than The Holler” and it blew up on his page with 11 million views! So Randy’s team invited me out to his house in TN and we got to sing and make coffee together. We laughed and I thanked him for all of the songs he gave us country music fans.. they are ultimately what made me want to write and sing country music. It was really cool to get to thank him for that!
Having Randy walk me around the CMHoF was a day I will never forget! He showed me all of his heroes and friends, all of his accomplishments and awards and at the end I got to sing him Three Wooden Crosses in the center of the Rotunda. Definitely a moment I will cherish forever.
@firstname.lastname@example.org thank you for a day I will never forget. ♥︎##randytravis♬ original sound – Alexandra Kay
How much coffee, cream and such do you have stocked in your kitchen at all times to be able to make TikTok Coffee Cover videos so often?
I usually have 2 cartons of almond milk and 3 bottles of creamer and a few different syrups to choose from. Lately I’ve been on the road so often I’ve been having to stop at gas stations and improvise!
With TikTok being a driving force in the music industry lately, How important do you feel TikTok is today in helping artists have their music heard?
I feel like TikTok is important in so many ways. I feel that it is teaching young, up and coming artists that success is not going to just fall in your lap. If you’re sitting back twiddling your thumbs waiting for someone to tell you how great you are, 100 people just passed you up. Their songs have gotten more attention, they’ve grown their audience, they’ve sold more merchandise, they’ve ultimately placed themselves in a better position than you by taking matters into their own hands and marketing themselves.. all in the time you were sitting back waiting for a record label to decide if they think your songs are good enough.. idk about you.. but it’s a no brainer to me.
You are gearing up to hit the road on the In Real Life Tour with Cooper Alan and Thomas Mac, what are you most looking forward to about the tour and what can fans expect to hear live?
Man, I am so pumped for this tour!! Cooper, Thomas and I are actual friends. They are some of my best friends in town so with that being said… they can expect a lot of pranks and shenanigans! They can also expect new music they have never heard before from all 3 of us as well as the “off the cuff” spontaneous content they see on TikTok. It’s going to be a blast and we are meeting every single person after every show.
The fact that we have 3 shows sold out with still over a week to go before we hit the road has me so pumped up! It’s gonna be a rockin summer!
What’s next for Alexandra Kay in 2021?
This year has had more highs than I ever expected. I’m excited to continue writing a full length album and hope to release that next year. We are going to be adding a couple more legs on to the IRL Tour so a majority of this year will be spent on the road, writing, recording.. and I’m getting married in September! So yea. Definitely my best year yet!