BlackBook Interview + Premiere: Alexa Villa’s New Single / Video ‘Own It’ is Seriously Fierce
We can imagine how a young film student might find inspiration in the story of Steven Spielberg. But a female rocker prone to flamboyant sartorial choices and high-octane Warped Tour shows? Yet that is indeed who Alexa Villa cites as one of the influences for her fierce new Zep-like track “Own It.”
The L.A. songstress elaborates, “I wrote it about taking ownership of a situation and taking charge of your life regardless of circumstance or pushback. I was inspired by the Spielberg story of how he supposedly got his start by sneaking into Universal and commandeering an unoccupied office.”
The track is from her upcoming EP, due out early next year – and BlackBook premieres the accompanying video here. For the occasion, we grabbed some time for a chat with Ms. Villa about everything from playing dress up to loving Los Angeles.
You mention all the right influences in your bio.
Yeah, I’m not sure exactly what I’ve listed there, but I always say Led Zeppelin. They’re my favorite band. I like to mix current influences with the old and hopefully make something new and fresh and exciting. That’s my goal.
I’m a big Lan Del Rey fan, you mention her. But also, Lady Gaga.
Oh, absolutely. She’s incredible.
This new track “Own It” is pretty succinct.
Yes, I was thinking even at the end, wow, that could’ve gone on a bit longer.
Did you intentionally want to make it quick and hard-hitting?
Yeah, I think because the song and the dynamic are very high voltage, I kind of wanted to come in, punch you in the face, and get out. I could’ve extended the last chorus. It only goes once. I could’ve repeated it. But it’s just and in and out kind of thing. It was intentional, yeah.
Is there something that you were trying to get across with this song?
I just hope the song encourages the listener to go for whatever it is they’re going for, it’s about taking any difficult situation – you know, life is hard – any struggle that you’re facing, and making lemonade, essentially. Just walking like you own it regardless of the situation. I want the listener to know that they have the power to make it happen for themselves.
What’s a great day in L.A. for Alexa Villa?
Oh gosh, every day’s a great day. I feel really grateful to be living in L.A. – growing up I was in San Diego, and I always dreamed about living in Los Angeles. But I think a great day for me is – I get the most pleasure when I’m writing music. The most joy. I feel like a great day would be me going to a writing session and having a show later that evening. That’s a perfect day for me.
What’s your process like?
Every session for me is different. When I’m writing my own music, a lot of times, like “Own It,” I’ll do that alone. I’ll just sit with my keyboard and get my computer and just build it. If I’m doing a collaborative session, we’ll set a time to meet at the studio. A lot of times that starts the conversation – like sometimes I’ll sit with the person I just met and two seconds later, we’re diving into our deepest, darkest secrets, because we want to get to the meat and be honest with our songs. So it’ll start with a really honest conversation.
For the perfect day, where would you be playing (that night)?
Um…I really enjoyed playing the Peppermint, I thought that was a really great stage. They have a really awesome green room. So I’d probably play there again. I also really liked playing at the Black Rabbit Rose, just because it’s very intimate. The stage is very small, but it just seems intentionally that way.
I imagine you do some work on your outfits when you play.
Yeah, I love putting together outfits.
Playing dress up?
Absolutely. I see colors when I hear music, I know it sounds crazy. But I think that depending on the vibe of the show or what the set will be, I’ll kind of base my style on the music, if that makes sense. I’ll visualize what I want it to look like based on the songs we’re choosing to play that night.
David Bowie was famous for thinking in colors.
Oh, how funny. It’s a thing, It’s called synesthesia. Sometimes I even taste the music, depending on the song. It’s kind of trippy.