Songtrust Spotlight: Alexandra Savior

Oregon native, ALEXANDRA SAVIOR, first gained industry attention as a teenager when she posted a cover of Angus Stone’s “Big Jet Plane” on YouTube. The playful, haunting performance landed her a legion of fans, leading her to co-write her debut album, Belladonna of Sadness, with the Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner. Alexandra now shoulders the responsibility for the lion’s share of her output herself, writing her own songs, creating the artwork for her album’s cover and often filming her own videos. Her second album, The Archer, is the establishment of a unique voice. ”There’s depression and there’s heartbreak, but each song represents a different emotional state. I tried to project some sort of strength; I wrote during a time when I was a young woman growing into my identity and developing my confidence, and I hope that comes through." Now writing and self-producing her third album, Alexandra Savior is an extraordinary talent coming into the peak of her power.

Photo Credit: Laura Lynn Petrick

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Who inspired you to become a musician?

Well, at around 12 or 13, I was very inspired by Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. But, I think Amy Winehouse was the only real, truly inspiring artist that I saw growing up in the 2000's. As a girl, my modern musical role models were mostly hyper calculated and sexualized pop-star like characters, but Amy was a unique talent. 

How would you describe your style of music and performance? How would you describe your philosophy and style as an artist?

My style of music is simply a combination of my mind and emotions. My style of performance is still evolving, but because touring gives me so much anxiety, in my performances I use tactics to help me cope with that anxiety. I like to imagine that I am telling a scary story to a group of young children, or playing charades with strangers and the secret topic is "I want to cry." My philosophy and style as an artist is "go deeper and be honest."

What drives you to create, and how do you define success for yourself in music?

I have been driven to create by some sort of addictive euphoric-like force that has completely controlled my life and sense of self worth since I was a little girl. I can't describe it really, but if I don't create, I decline into some feeling of nothingness. Creativity is the worst and best thing to happen to me. Success for myself in music, is to create quality work that is genuine to who I am, and to be able to support myself through it for as long as possible.

How do you think the music industry can develop into a more equitable and inclusive environment for women music creators?

I think that the power lays in the hands of the people who are working in the background of the music industry. Producers, music supervisors, publishing companies, those are the people who have the power to be giving women equal opportunities and pay. Bottom line, women need to be given more jobs, gigs, syncs; we need to be hired for more sessions and tours, we need our writing to be pushed to pop stars, radio DJs, and advertising agencies. The simplest way to create an inclusive environment is to consciously provide equal opportunity.

Do you have any advice for young women musicians just starting their careers, based on what you’ve experienced?

Yes, there can be a lot of "gaslighting" in this industry. As a tactic to control young women or people who are new to the industry, labels and industry people will try and convince you that what you're making isn't pristine, "official", or sellable enough on its own. If you have a bad feeling, or sense that you're being misled or controlled, listen to that feeling. In the end, it is your work, and one day all of the people surrounding your project will be gone, and it will be your name stamped over it all. It will be your responsibility to dig yourself out.

From your view, what other kinds of marginalization and erasure does the music industry need to ensure we don’t enact in the name of gender equality?

I think comparison culture is the worst thing we've done to ourselves as a society in general, in life, and in music. We tend to pit people against one another because of their similarities or because of their differences. I think marginalization and erasure are two very different things. In general, people are marginalized because of something about them that is out of their control, like their gender, race, or sexuality. Whereas when you say "erasure", I assume you're talking about the cancel-culture that we recently see happening.

We can stop marginalization simply by creating equal opportunities and appreciating the content of one's art rather than their gender identity, race, religion, sexuality, etc. But, with erasure, I feel I don't have an answer to that question, it is a much more complex topic, and I don't feel I am in the place to even begin to address how we heal ourselves from others actions, or how we decide as a community to react to them. I just want a safe environment for people of all walks of life to be able to create what they want to create. I am not an oracle into the depths of social morality, I am just trying to process it all myself.  

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