If you’re a fan of powerful female singer-songwriters who wear their heart on their sleeve, then look no further than Alex Hepburn.
Armed with soulful vocals, sublime lyricism, raw emotion and honesty, Alex has already made big waves across the world with her music. She has supported the likes of Lianne La Havas, Alex Clare, and Bruno Mars on tour, with Bruno looking out for her ever since.
Alex released her new EP If You Stay on Friday. Her songs derive from personal experiences which have impacted greatly on her life, and whilst she has encountered heartache and tragedy, Alex’s music is hopeful and brings her story to life.
Last Saturday, Alex supported Bruno Mars at BST Hyde Park and performed some of the music from her new EP. We caught part of her set and in all honesty, she left us truly captivated. Not only did she blow us away with her husky vocals, but her stage presence and storytelling made it clear that she was born to perform.
We sat down with Alex a short while after she performed on the Great Oak Stage to chat about her new EP, her forthcoming album, advice from Bruno Mars, and more.
You performed earlier on the Great Oak Stage. We caught some of your performance and you were phenomenal! How did you enjoy the experience?
Thank you, it was great fun! It was also a bit nerve-wracking to be honest because I struggled a little bit with the sound and to hear myself, but that was the only problem I had. Apart from that, I loved it! Also I did too many squats this week so I was trying to grind on the music and when I got to a certain point I was like “oh my god, I can’t get back up” haha.
You released your EP If You Stay yesterday. What’s the reaction been like so far?
It only came out yesterday so I don’t really know, so far so good!
Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the EP and how you went about choosing the songs which made the final cut?
On the EP, the lead song for me is ‘If You Stay’ and it’s got a sample of Wu Tang, one of their hits from the 36 Chambers. They are the godfathers of hip hop and I’m a hip hop fanatic. I also put a song I really love on there called ‘High Roller’ which was written with King Henry who’s Diplo’s guy. There’s also a song that I wrote with Amir from Rudimental, that’s called ‘Can’t Stop’. First of all, I love all of the songs, they’re my favourites. I also just put on the songs that I thought were really grimey and raw. Because it’s an EP I just want it to be raw as hell and cool.
Out of all of the songs, which would you say is the most special for you?
‘If You Stay’ to me is the lead song, but ‘Solid Gold’, which is the song I open with, there’s something about that song. I don’t know why, but it’s just one of my babies. I don’t necessarily go for the most poppy thing but it’s just so sexy I guess.
You also released a rack with Matrix and Futurebound called ‘Live Another Day’. That’s one collaboration, so who else would you like to work with in the future?
I love Cardi B but that’s never gonna happen.
You never know, it could happen!
Hopefully! Maybe Bruno Mars? I don’t know, I just love amazing artists and there’s so many of them so it’s hard to pick.
You spoke there about Bruno. You’ve had a lot of support from him and he’s a big fan of yours. What’s the best piece of advice he’s given you?
How to warm up before a gig! Basically he taught me how to warm up my vocal cords because what I used to do, as I was so nervous, was to have a double shot of whisky and smoke a lot of cigarettes. He stopped me after the second gig going “what are you doing? It’s not professional!”. I was like “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’ve done this all the time!” and he just said it wasn’t cool. He explained to me to replace the whisky for water, throw the fag out, [does warm up noise] all these sounds and I was like “I’m not doing this, it’s so embarrassing!”. He was just so good though, he and his entire team are just so lovely, really good people. They were very supportive knowing that it was my first support gig in my life, it was such a big one to get.
What would you say has been your highlight of the year so far?
The highlight of the year? This EP. I really believe in it and there’s something about the song ‘If You Stay’. Speaking about Cardi B earlier, I sent it up to J White, who produced all of her big hits, including her number one right now, and he went nuts over it. He said he wanted to remix it and he kept saying “I got you”. I was freaking out because it’s just such a good sign that someone that big wants to remix your track and on my level, it’s massive.
We know you’ve just released your EP but what else can we expect from you this year?
The album! Because I’m signed to a major, they like to drip feed music as you well know. My thought was, just give people music, don’t hold on to shit preciously because no-one’s going to know who I am if I don’t put more stuff out. That was my idea to just put these tracks out and releasing songs with people who I think are strong. Amir from Rudimental is amazing, James Newman’s on there as well, I just love him. I was in LA and I wrote a song with them at 2 o’clock in the morning, all drunk like “Can’t stop…” haha, it’s just so cool.
If You Stay is available now.
Check out our BST Hyde Park review here and keep your eyes peeled for more exclusive chats from the festival.