As 2021 came to a close, so did one of Faith Alexa’s most successful campaigns as an artist. She got her debut EP, Somebody New, under her belt, landed on a Spotify curated playlist with her last single, “North Carolina,” and closed the year by offering an excellently somber instrumental take of one of our favorite tracks on Somebody New, “In My Dreams.”
All that in tow, Faith is carrying some serious momentum into 2022 as she prepares to capitalize on it with both the release of new music and live performances, something she continues to get the same joy from in 2022 as she did more than a decade ago when she first took to the stage.
We chatted with Faith about her early start in songwriting, several of her releases so far, studying at Belmont University, her plans for the rest of the year and more!
Pro Country: Who were some of your earliest musical influences that had an impact on your sound?
Faith Alexa: My parents are huge country music fans, so I’ve been listening to country music since I was born. At the age of three, I was setting up stuffed animals on my bed and giving them concerts to Faith Hill albums on my CD player. She was my first real inspiration. A couple years later, at five years old, my mom played me Taylor Swift’s first single, “Tim McGraw.” Later that year, we listened to her self-titled debut album. I fell in love with Taylor’s music, and I wanted to be just like her. From that moment on, I wanted to follow in Taylor and Faith’s footsteps.
PC: You’ve said that you began writing songs to express yourself through life’s unexpected changes. When did you start writing songs, and what was it about expressing yourself in that way that appealed to you?
FA: As soon as I realized Taylor Swift wrote her own songs, I started writing. There are notebooks full of silly songs I tried writing at six years old, but I wrote my first song, music and lyrics, when I was 12 years old. I loved the idea that any feeling I had could be turned into something bigger. I was a huge book nerd too, so I loved that writing songs was my own way to tell stories.
PC: You released your debut single, “Sunshine,” in April of 2020, which went on to earn well over 10,000 streams on Spotify. Was it at all validating to get that positive response from your debut release and to be able to tangibly see the support it received?
FA: Releasing “Sunshine” was such a special moment that I hold very close to my heart. The idea of one of my songs being fully in other people’s hands for the first time was a little scary. I remember sitting with my family minutes before it came out, and saying to my mom that I didn’t want it to come out anymore. But midnight came, “Sunshine” went out into the world, and an immediate flood of messages came from family, friends, friends of friends, and strangers. It was so surreal to hear that people were relating to this song and sharing their own special stories with me. It is so validating and reassuring any time people like something you’ve created and put so much of yourself into, but it meant even more to me being my first release.
PC: Your song “Green” is approaching 20,000 Spotify streams and is currently your top-streamed song so far. What do you think it is about “Green” that allowed it to connect with listeners the way it has?
FA: I think people love the idea of falling in love and being in love. “Green” tells the very real story of me falling in love for the first time. Everything I was seeing and feeling, I put in this song. The countless three hour drives to Georgia with beautiful green trees and mountains, meeting new people in a new place, Christmas lights in the Botanical Garden, a love that is refreshing; to me, it was all green. I heard someone say once that the more unique you make a song, the more detail, etc., the more relatable it is for the listener. Though I don’t know for certain, I’d like to think it’s because it’s so truthful.
PC: “Green” earned you a spot as a finalist in the 2021 Grammy U Songwriter Showcase. What did it mean to you to receive that recognition as a songwriter and to be considered amongst the collective talent you were considered with?
FA: I still don’t have words for it, honestly. We all met on zoom and I got to hear the other finalists’ songs and feedback; it was a wonderful learning experience. I was beyond honored to receive feedback from Ruby Amanfu, Charles Kelley and Erika Wollam Nichols. I am enormously grateful to have been chosen and to have the opportunity to sit among and meet such talented songwriters.
PC: “Somebody New” is the title track of your 2021 album, and is a song that tells the story of finding yourself both in a new city and in a relationship. What went into the decision to have “Somebody New” serve as the title track? What does the song mean to you?
FA: I had the idea of calling the project “Somebody New” long before I wrote the song. Moving to Nashville from Texas on my own and letting myself be vulnerable in a new relationship were only two examples of a lot of change that happened. “Somebody New” was the last song I wrote for the EP. I sat down to write it in my dorm room and it wrote itself in 30 minutes. It was such a cleansing process because I had been on this journey to becoming who I want to be for so long, and that was the first time I felt I actually made it.
PC: You wrote your newest single, “North Carolina,” with Gloria Anderson, who is also featured on the track. Can you take us in the room and talk about the inspiration behind the song?
FA: As silly as it sounds, I got the idea for “North Carolina” in the Starbucks drive thru on West End. I went from thinking “I should write a song called North Carolina,” to having the first verse in my voice memos before pulling up to the window. I knew that I wanted to save this idea for Gloria because she is both an amazing writer, and one of my very best friends. This song comes from a very real experience I had, so I knew she would treat this story with care. We wrote the song on her couch one night in April, and it was the most fun I had ever had writing a song. It was so special to write, record and release the song with Gloria.
PC: “North Carolina” was featured on Spotify’s “Fresh Finds: Country” playlist upon its release. What was it like to see the song amongst some of the brightest up and coming songs and artists in the genre?
FA: “North Carolina” was my sixth release and my very first to be featured on a Spotify playlist. I was over the moon to find out it had been placed on Fresh Finds: Country. Seeing our song on the same playlist as people I look up to and love listening to was unbelievable. This was something I had been dreaming of since my first release, so I had to keep pinching myself all morning.
PC: You closed 2021 by releasing an instrumental version of “In My Dreams,” which was originally featured on Somebody New. What went into the decision to present the song in that way?
FA: After the release of Somebody New, I had a few different people expressing how much they loved “In My Dreams” and would love to have it as an instrumental. I hadn’t thought about releasing it as an instrumental before, but as I was thinking through my artistic plans for 2022, I felt as though it’d be a nice little goodbye to 2021 and the Somebody New era.
PC: You’re currently studying songwriting at Belmont University. How important has being surrounded by the collective talent and expertise that the University has to offer been for you in your development as an artist?
FA: Being taught by Grammy nominated professors is surreal. Every day I have the opportunity to talk to and be around such talented people, be it faculty or classmates. My time at Belmont has been so important for my growth as a songwriter and an artist. I truly feel like every interaction I have with anyone at Belmont is so valuable. There’s something to learn from everyone and the opportunities are endless.
PC: You’ve been performing in front of audiences for over ten years. What has been the biggest thing you’ve learned in that decade of performing that you’ve taken with you?
FA: I love singing my songs for anyone who will listen, so performing is when I’m truly the happiest. Connecting with the audience and feeding off their energy is incredibly special. I’m still learning, but I’d say my biggest takeaway is that performing music, is what I’m meant to do. There is nothing in the world that brings me the same amount of joy.
PC: What are your plans for 2022?
FA: I have a couple releases planned for 2022 that I am thrilled about, each project very different from the others, but still very true to me. I’m excited to hopefully reach a bigger audience with each of them. I’ve also got high hopes for some live shows this year. The best way to keep up with me is my instagram @faithalexah!
*Faith’s music is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!*