Tatnall School graduate Alex Saad began writing music almost as soon as her fingers touched the piano. She instantly fell in love with the art and knew music was her true passion and calling. She began her career at home in Wilmington, and became a regular performer at venues such as World Cafe Live at the Queen, Homegrown Cafe in Newark, and the Kennett Square Inn, sharing the stage with nationally-acclaimed artists. Days after graduating from college, Alex headed to Nashville, met loads of fellow musicians and formed a band called “Alexa.” And this summer the powerful vocalist proudly unveiled her first record.
Town Square Delaware sat down with the singer-songwriter on a visit to Wilmington just after the release of her debut EP.
Town Square Delaware: You are young, but already have quite a story to tell. Please illuminate.
Alex: Hopefully my story is just at the beginning! I am so excited and feel very lucky for the opportunity to pursue the dream I’ve held onto for so many years. I realized that music was the direction I wanted to go about halfway through college. During this time I was in the meat of a challenging Physics degree at Loyola University Maryland. However, it was important to me to finish the program and receive my college diploma, and I am so happy I did. Three weeks after graduation I found myself packed up in my Hyundai Tuscon and trekking it down to Nashville, TN. After a year here, I have had the pleasure of playing countless shows, writing music, and recording a new EP for my new project “Alexa” with percussionist Pino Squillace. I am currently finishing up an east coast tour with two other artists, Aberdeen Green and Jessica Cayne, to help promote our new records and get our music heard!
TSD: When did you know that you wanted to make a career in music?
Alex: During my time at Loyola, I took several music courses and continued to write and perform. Professors such as Kevin Gift and Jake Leckie of the Loyola Music program helped me develop my skills in writing, recording, and arranging music, which really started to open my mind to the idea of creating music professionally. I then started playing some bigger venues in Wilmington, for example World Cafe Live at the Queen. In January 2013, I had the honor of opening for national act Paula Cole on the downstairs stage. It was a thrilling experience and made me realize that music was a legitimate direction for me. I loved the energy of the music scene in Nashville and after one visit I knew I wanted to be a part of it. After getting my college degree, I decided to make my music career my priority and move to Music City.
TSD: What was the most important thing you did here in Delaware that best helped prepare you for a singing career?
Alex: I made a point to schedule regular performances in Delaware during my breaks at Loyola to keep myself well-practiced, gain more confidence on the stage, and start generating a local following. Local act EB Hawkins allowed me to sing weekly with his band at the Kennett Square Inn, which helped me further develop my performance and vocal skills. Staying connected with the Delaware music scene provided me the footing I needed to get started as an artist, but has also continued to prove useful in my current artist endeavors. Many of the musicians and promoters in Delaware helped me get bookings for “The Other Side of 615” tour this summer at venues like World Cafe Live Philadelphia, The Ladybug Festival, and The Social Lounge in West Chester.
TSD: Were there points along your path where you were discouraged or didn’t think this budding career would become a reality?
Alex: A career in the music industry is a treacherous road, filled with highs and lows. Some weeks feel extremely productive and are filled with positive feedback, where the next week you are brought back down with some sort of set back. You have to be confident, hardworking, and have thick skin to be able to make it through, but the goal makes every step of the way so worth it.
TSD: Explain to us a bit more about relationships you have made that have helped you flourish as a singer.
Alex: I feel proud of the accomplishments that I have made in a year of being in Nashville. I worked hard to play well over 70 shows since getting started last June. I have written over 30 new songs, both on my own and with the immensely talented writers that Nashville has to offer. Several months after moving I had the pleasure of meeting Pino Squillace, world-renown percussionist and producer, who has teamed up with me on my new project “Alexa.” He truly believes in my music and gave me the opportunity to record it at his Nashville studio, Boom Labs Productions at Creative Caffeine, with his talented production team. His experience and long time presence in the music industry has given me the opportunity to write, record, and showcase my music to individuals I would otherwise have not. Pino also connected me with his other artists, Jessica Cayne, Aberdeen Green, and Ben Sturgell, and we decided to combine forces to plan a summer tour. This opportunity has brought us all very close and their influences have helped me grow dramatically as an artist.
TSD: What is the “Alexa” Kickstarter campaign?
Alex: Kickstarter is a platform allowing artists and entrepreneurs to pursue their passions and complete projects with the help of their fans, friends, family, and the general public. This can be done for any project, whether it be music, art, fashion, inventions, companies, restaurants, etc. I used the Kickstarter as a resource to share my musical endeavors with my followers and allow them to be a part of the project with me. The recording and touring process is very expensive, and I hoped that I could share my story and get some support to help make it happen. My family, friends, and I worked extremely hard to share the project with all of our connections and get people involved. Ultimately, the campaign was successful, and I raised almost $10,000 towards my project and tour! I am so grateful for all that contributed to and helped share the Kickstarter because it has been essential to my success this summer. It is unfortunately too late too contribute on the Kickstarter website itself, however if anyone would still like to be a part of the project they can reach out to me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
TSD: Any local shows on the horizon?
Alex: Yes! “The Other Side of 615” crew has a show in Spring City, Pennsylvania at Chaplin’s listening room on September 19. This is an amazing historical venue and will feature the three artists I mentioned above. Come listen to us represent the Nashville music scene our way!
Also, I will be home during the holidays and would like to book an acoustic show in Wilmington, hopefully upstairs at World Cafe Live at the Queen. I had the opportunity to do this last year and it was a huge success. Stay tuned for more info!