Alexis Grace the artist might surprise you if you’re expecting Alexis Grace, the American Idol alumna.
Yes, she wowed the judges on season eight of the long-running reality pop stardom series with her big, soulful voice. Yes, Simon Cowell himself did call her “the dark horse of the competition.”
But if you’re expecting Alexis Grace the American Idol alumna, you might be expecting a one-note – and Alexis Grace the artist sings and studies them all.
The daughter of a Beale Street musician, Alexis studied the masters of soul and R&B – Aretha Franklin, Ann Peebles, Whitney Houston – in her childhood home. On Sundays, she learned gospel harmonies in her church’s youth choir. And at John Overton High School, a prestigious performing arts magnet school in Memphis, she stretched herself on stage in plays and musicals. Her formal music education continued at the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music. From jazz to opera, Alexis has allowed her myriad influences to deeply inform her development as an artist – and she’ll share that genre-bending talent with her fans in January of 2015 as she releases her first solo EP.
Since her spin around the reality TV track on Idol, Alexis has used her positive attitude and fierce determination to continue to propel her career as an entertainer. She currently hosts the No. 1 rated mid-day Top 40 radio show in Memphis on Q107.5 WHBQ-FM. During Idol season, she shares her insights as an analyst on the Memphis Fox affiliate and often appears with other Idol alums in concerts across the country, while still finding time to gig solo – from jazzy sets in nightclubs to belting out the Star Spangled Banner before a Memphis Grizzlies NBA game.
And Alexis hasn’t forgotten her love of the stage, either – she recently dedicated 10 weeks to the role of Roxie Hart in TheatreMemphis’ production of Chicago, earning nightly standing ovations, rave reviews and sold-out houses throughout the run. Since then she’s appeared in Legally Blonde at Playhouse on the Square, Yellow Light with Voices of the South Theater Company at TheatreSouth, and most recently in the independent film Bad, Bad Men.
In the midst of it all, she still finds the time to write and record new original music, play guitar, and sing showtunes to her daughter, Ryan Elizabeth. Look for Kiddo in January of 2015.
Daily Discovery: “Will You Miss Me” – American Songwriter
Music Video Monday: “I’m So Done” – Memphis Flyer
“Kiddo is a mini-blast of shiny, confident modern pop. On the lead track/single “I’m So Done,” Grace proves to have the vocal power and personality to battle a dense, driving backing track to an effective draw, yielding a record that could easily be in the Top 40 without seeming out of place. … At a time when the line between pop and pop-country is thin, Grace suggests she’s comfortable on either side of it.” – Chris Herrington, GoMemphis
“Kiddo combines the tightness of serious, contemporary musical professionalism with the more traditionally aesthetic sounds of European instrumental music. “Will You Miss Me” opens with an ethereal set of harmonies that materialize like an aurora borealis before a taut acoustic band introduces an earthy dimension.” – Joe Boone, Memphis Flyer
“Alexis Grace has come a long way since Season 8 of American Idol. Her new EP Kiddo is packed with well-crafted, thoughtful and memorable original songs. “I’m So Done” is the first single and it is a triumph. With its relentless beat and “in your face” vocals, it feels like a cross between Blondie, Gwen Stefani and Carrie Underwood. … Alexis Grace just lit a match under her music career with this one!” – Women of Substance
“For anyone who predicted that Grace was going in a pop or soul direction, the resulting record is a surprising mishmash of influences from both sides of the Atlantic, including ABBA-style pop, folk, and even a little country thrown into the mix.” – Mark Jordan, The Commercial Appeal
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