I keep reminding people that an editorial in rhyme is not a song. A good song makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and it makes you think.
I am always intrigued by the process of songwriting. Every composer approaches the art differently. The modern songwriter might start by first writing the music, others pen lyrics and then have the ability to hear accompanying musical instruments. Regardless, the song that comes from the effort is written to move the listening audience to feel the emotions of the writer. Pete Seeger’s quote above punctuated the thought best.
Each week I feature a musical artist, and then I continue to discuss the music the artist performs. I like to speak about today as the time of the singer/songwriter, because so many artists write their own material. However, there are times that an artist will choose a song written by other songwriters. The reason usually boils down to a love of a particular song. Sometimes a song just fits perfectly for an artist. This process of choosing the right material for an artist brings me to this week’s feature of up and coming Country music singer Alexandra Demetree.
Fresh off the release of her fourth single, Demetree has started to build a large audience of fans. For a certain she has to be considered one of the fresh new faces of Country music. I recently viewed an interview of Alexandra Demetree on the Country Music Minute that revealed a bit about the importance of choosing music that fits the artist. Before I start to discuss song selection, I would like to introduce Alexandra Demetree to those of you reading who might not know of her or her music.
Alexandra Demetree is a young, talented Country music artist born and raised in Jacksonville, Fl. Alexandra grew up listening to inspirations from Motown to Country music, with musical influences ranging from Motown, Celine Dion, LeAnn Rimes, David Nail, Garth Brooks, Adele and The Eli Young Band. She has performed for First Lady Barbara Bush, and at Walt Disney World, and soloing the National Anthem at the Toyota Gator Bowl. Alexandra’s first performance, at the tender age of two, was singing Christmas carols for her Grandma’s bridge group. Throughout her childhood, she sang in her church choir – in Latin. Music quickly became Demetree’s passion and her life goal – to the extent that this true “Southerner,” traveled all the way to Illinois to secure a degree from Northwestern University’s prestigious musical theater program. After graduation, Alexandra moved to Music City; she signed with SSM Nashville Records and reached a milestone when she became a recording artist.
That has led us up to today; where Alexandra has released her fourth single and heading toward an EP and more music. What is the secret behind Alexandra Demetree’s early success? Well, Demetree is very talented and well-educated musically. However, a big part of her early accomplishments can be found in the songs she chose to perform. “Outta My Head”, written by Mark and Cherie Oakley, is an upbeat tune that speaks of the trials and tribulations of letting go of an old flame. On the Country Music Minute, Demetree explained that she feels that everyone could relate to the lyrics, because the experience is one that most have gone through at least once in life. “Outta My Head is one of those songs that when I heard it, I knew immediately that I had to record it. Simply put, the song just felt good. It’s an experience that most of us can relate to.” Alexandra says. “After putting my own spin on it in the studio, I knew I had my next single!”
I’ve been listening to Alexandra’s music for a few weeks and I can hear a confident singing voice. Alexandra is like so many artists that I have featured because she is well ready for her current opportunity. With a balanced family life, Alexandra Demetree seems able to handle the strains of promoting music. The many radio and broadcast interviews can be exhausting, but she does seem up to the travel.
Of course, Outta My Head has a music video that should help push the song successfully. Filmed at a vast, aged warehouse in Nashville’s historic Germantown district, the video is stunning in its stark simplicity. Demetree’s emotionally-charged vocal and the song’s high-impact lyrics take center stage, while abundant natural daylight, a sense of space and timelessness play supporting roles. “It was a very straightforward concept,” explains Alexandra. “The entire focus was on showcasing the emotion and musical validity of the song in an organic way.” For Demetree, returning to the basics was an exciting challenge. “To go back to square one and make an acoustic version of this dynamic, mid-tempo power ballad was just a fantastic experience.” You will be able to view the video below.
An artist might have a great production team behind them. They also might be able to produce a tremendous music video. However, everything starts with the music. Those other elements are important, but first any artist must have a very good song. Alexandra Demetree fully understands this point. Like the title states, “It’s all about the song”
* photo by Melinda Norris