Alexz Johnson is a singer, songwriter, producer, and actress hailing from Canada. Best known for her role as Jude Harrison on The N’s original series Instant Star, the public was first introduced to Alexz when she scored the lead role on Disney’s si-fi show So Weird as Annie Thelan. When Instant Star‘s production ended after it’s fourth season, Alexz appeared on various shows such as Smallville, Lifetime original movies, and had a co-starring role in Final Destination 3. Through it all, she remained true to her first passion of music. After a recording contract with Epic fell through, Alexz choose the indie route and released her debut album Voodoo, produced by her brother Brendan, in March 2010 via Laydee Spencer Music. A year after its release, she’s full steam ahead preparing for the re-release, Voodoo: Reloaded, remixed by acclaimed producer Demo Castellón. I was able to catch up with Alexz and talk about what she’s been up to, upcoming tour plans, and her favorite artists, and reveals what even your biggest fan may not know about her!
BLM: You were a trending topic on Twitter for about 4 days. What sparked that?
Alexz Johnson: I think one of my songs [was playing on the] Pretty Little Liars season finale [Time To Be your 21]. It wasn’t a song that I wrote so I didn’t know it was coming. I mean, I sang the song but I didn’t write it. It was one of the songs that I didn’t write for Instant Star. And I guess it just reminded people of me from Instant Star and So Weird so people started going “who’s that girl, who’s the girl?” It was really cool, my fan base on Twitter grew really fast.
BLM: Were you on Twitter before you started trending?
BLM: You mentioned that you didn’t write the song that was played for Instant Star, did you write any of the songs for the show or did you just sing them?
Alexz Johnson: Yeah, definitely…I wrote quite a few with my brother Bren. We wrote Skin, Criminal, Just Wanted Your Love, and the list goes on for that show.
BLM: You write a majority of your songs. Do you and your brother collaborate much?
Alexz Johnson: Yeah, we wrote all the stuff on the original Voodoo record. We wrote all the songs while I was with Epic [Records], but after my experience with them, I just wanted to get back in the studio and just do something for the fans, for me and my heart so I [released] Voodoo.
BLM: How did you get connected with Demo Castellón?
Alexz Johnson: He and his wife Nelly [Furtado] came to one of my shows in Toronto and he really digged the album. He was like, “I’d love to reproduce this to make it good for radio and to get it out there, I’d love to make it sound bigger!” I was like “that’s cool, sure!” He’s a really cool guy, he’s got a great heart and he took [my album] on and now it’s coming out April 26th! It’s [called] Voodoo: Reloaded now.
BLM: How did you come up with that title?
Alexz Johnson: There’s a song on the record called Voodoo. We did the video for Trip Around The World in New Orleans and I don’t know…I’ve always felt there’s been kind of a veil put over my music, you know. There’s been so many close calls. I’m excited for the book one day because the journey’s been pretty crazy and I just kinda felt like it’s the time in my life where there’s some kind of magic working around my music.
BLM: Are you planning to write a book?
Alexz Johnson: I would love to! I just started my blog, AlexzHasABlog.com, and that’s kind of a place for me to go and share my experiences and thing I’m going thru. There’s definitely some crazy stories. I got some dirt on this side of the industry [laughs].
BLM: [laughs] I can imagine! I know you’ve been around for awhile and have experienced all types of crazy things! So what inspires you to write [your songs]? Different experiences, heartbreaks, stuff like that?
Alexz Johnson: Yeah, I try to be as real and as genuine as I can. I really try to just think about what I want to say more than what people want to hear. I try to be truthful and all my experiences I usually end up writing them out. [I get inspired by] things that happen in my life or people that are close to me, things that I see them experience I usually end up writing in a song.
BLM: I have a couple a friends who are song writers and I have to be careful when telling them what I’m going thru because it may end up in a song! [laughs]
Alexz Johnson: Right, exactly! [laughs] so watch it, for sure!
BLM: Who are your musical inspirations?
Alexz Johnson: Oh my goodness, so many. I love Ricky Lee Jones, I love Peter Gabriel, I love Elvis Costello. There’s a lot, I get a lot of influence from them.
BLM: If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
Alexz Johnson: I would say…like right now, I think Bruno Mars is really awesome. Sara Bareilles is so talented. Daniel Lanois is an amazing producer. There are so many talented people out there right now.
BLM: Who’s in your iPod right now?
Alexz Johnson: I love The Script, Bruno Mars, Sara Bareilles, The Ting Tings, Landon Pigg, I love Rocket Fire. Just the other day I started listening to Jason Mraz’s records. I always have known he’s a real talented guy but I kind just dove into [his music]. I really like artists that have their own sound, that find different ways of writing songs whether it’s speaking or jazzy. I like when they do their own thing.
Alexz Johnson: 5-6 years ago.
BLM: Were you self taught?
Alexz Johnson: Self taught.
BLM: Was it difficult?
Alexz Johnson: It’s not easy. It’s like anything, the more you practice the better you get. It has to do with the amount of time you put into it.
BLM: Cool! My brother plays, and he’s tried to teach me but, ugh…I had to cut my nails and I just couldn’t do it [laughs].
Alexz Johnson: [laughs] Yeah, I was just going to say you have to lose the nails! My poor finger nails get the beatings fro the guitar.
BLM: When you go on stage, do you still get nervous?
Alexz Johnson: Yeah, I always do, for sure. I feel like if you’re not getting nervous then you’re not doing the right thing. I think it’s good to get nervous, it means that you care.
BLM: Do you have any rituals or anything you must have before you go on stage? Like [you must have] red M&M’s? [laughs]
Alexz Johnson: Oh yeah [laughs]…a shot of whiskey.
BLM: [laughs] That’ll work!
Alexz Johnson: [laughs] Yeah! I don’t really have any rituals. I just kind of go up there. I take about 5 minutes before each show to spend a moment with myself and just kind of do a little pacing and think about how lucky I am to be there playing for these wonderful people and just get up there and do it.
BLM: Do you have any upcoming tours? (Twitter question @MirandaLizzxx1)
Alexz Johnson: I’m in the process of planning a tour, which is pretty cool. Getting connected to a tour would be great, there are obviously dream tours I’d love to be apart of. I would love to get across the states eventually. I definitely know there are some shows being planned around Montreal, Canada, more East Coast maybe even headed toward New York.
BLM: What are your Top 5 favorite songs? (Twitter question @xoCrystalC)
Alexz Johnson: That’s tough to say, let me think….I like the new Script song. How does it go? [hums song] It’s the new one that they’re playing on the radio, it’s great. I love the Civil Wars “Barton Hallow”.
BLM: What advice would you get to a young upcoming artist who hasn’t been discovered?
Alexz Johnson: Do what you love to do and try to get as good as your craft. You have to get as good as you can, there are so many people out there trying to be apart of the music industry and I feel like as long as you completely remain yourself, keep your integrity, and you just do what you do as an artist even if people don’t like it. Just be yourself, that’s the most important thing. Just get good at your craft. Practice and write, show it to friends and family, get feedback from people. You gotta be fearless. And don’t hang on to your material and spend 6 years trying to perfect a sound and then show it to everyone. Time goes by fast and it really is just about making music and sharing it.
BLM: Okay, those were the music questions so now we’re going to get into some personal questions. What do you do during your free time?
Alexz Johnson: I love going to yoga, staying active, watching movies, eating junk food. Just hanging out with family and friends and doing chill things like that. To be honest, I love writing music! I probably spend like 5 days a week just hours working on music, producing it, creating. I’ll be watching a movie or something and I’ll find myself at the computer making music and I’m thinking like “why am I—what?” [laughs] I have a hard time getting through movies I find because I’m always wanting to create and stuff. But to really relax I like doing yoga or going for a good run.
BLM: What’s one thing many people may not know about you?
Alexz Johnson: Let me think….I guess….ummm….I have a lot of hats. I need like 2 hat stands. I love cooking, it’s one of my favorite things to do. Well, to be honest with you, I would opt out of the big events. I’m really one-on-one with my friends, I get kind of overwhelmed when I’m in like big crowds. There all these events I’m invited to but if I’m not nominated for something I don’t really go. I’m not good at mingling and social networking because I end up having a conversation with some old crooner in the corner about how their career. I love hearing history. I’m kind of a homebody I guess you can say.
BLM: You mentioned you love to cook. What’s your favorite dish to make?
Alexz Johnson: I love making omelets. I love making pizza, making different kinds of salads. I do this thing like spaghetti squash…where you put like a squash in the oven with like different cheeses, it’s really good.
BLM: Oooh, that does sound good!
Alexz Johnson: Yeaaaah. I like cooking weird things, I like cooking with vegetables and stuff like that.
BLM: Favorite color?
Alexz Johnson: Well judging by my wardrobe, you’d probably say black. But I’d say I love blues and dusty blues. Grays, blues…I love colors like that.
BLM: If you could transport to any decade which would it be?
Alexz Johnson: Ooo…that’s hard. I would say….I think the 60′s would have been pretty awesome.
BLM: All the flower power and the hippies and hugs!
Alexz Johnson: Yeah, yeah, yeah! [laughs] it would’ve been awesome. The whole mod movement would have been really cool.
BLM: One of your videos seems very 60′s inspired.
Alexz Johnson: Yeahhhh! The Boogie Love one?
BLM: Yes, that’s the one.
Alexz Johnson: Yeah, it was like an early 70′s kind of fun feel. I love being able to capture different times. With Trip Around The World I was really into French New Wave. Like Juels and Jim, shooting on film. I just
like trying different things with videos because it’s like little art house films. Giving the people something a little different.
BLM: We are definitely looking forward to everything you’ve got coming and thank you so much for your time!
Alexz Johnson: No problem, thank you for reaching out!