How did you come to the artist name “sad alex”?
I struggled with my artist name for a while. For a long time I was just Alex Saad. I worked with this Italian producer in Nashville that could never say my name right and I was not really sure of myself or my brand at all at the time. And he was like, “We should call you Alexa” and that was problematic on a variety of fronts, including search engine nightmare, including once Amazon came into play. And no one has called me Alexa in my whole life, so I automatically felt very like wasn’t myself.
I do have to credit Justin Pagano on the idea of the name “sad alex” because he called me on the phone three weeks before my first Alxxa single came out and he said, “Alex, you have to change your artist name, you have to change it to “sad alex””.
Who are your inspirations? What inspires your music?
Growing up I listened to blink-182 and LINKIN PARK and The Used. I was also into Vanessa Carlton, Sarah McLachlan, early Kelly Clarkson, all that kind of early Pop stuff, you name it. I didn’t listen to a whole lot of R&B growing up, but now since I’ve been working with so many R&B artists, I’ve been diving into that. My parents raised me on The Beatles and The Pretenders, so I kind of had a collection of all of that. And now it’s kind of trying to take what I love structurally about Pop music, but what I love sonically about Emo music and what I like about Hip Hop production, R&B production, and fusing it all into my own little sort of storybook world.
You recently signed with Red Bull Records. What does this opportunity mean to you in regards to your journey as an artist?
It’s awesome. And I’m trying to remember to enjoy moments for what they are while they’re happening. Whether it’s a publishing deal or a record deal or singing at these iconic venues that you’ve wanted to sing at, some of these moments hit a little different for me now because I’ve had a lot of things fall through and a lot of letdowns. But now I have teams of people are able to help me and come up with ideas and support my ideas and want to bring them to life. Red Bull is a rare group in that they are involved in more development. They really have taken me in and have taught me a lot throwing me into a lot of learning situations and sessions. They are a lot more inclined to develop which is nice. I feel very independently run with my team. Me being me, Rob, Justin, and Mike Gazzo – we have a very tight-knit ship running.
Was the transition from Alxxa to sad alex the motivation to step more into an artist role?
I think it was that and also recognizing writing for pitch can be pretty exhausting. I love working with other artists in that area. I’ve been working with so many different songwriters; there are some people who are phenomenal songwriters and don’t really have a singing voice and vice versa or they don’t have the desire to be an artist. And I realize a lot of times, when I’m cutting the demo and people will say, “Oh, that sounds great” or “You did that in one take. What’s thought about?”.
I do have desires to perform, I do have a desire to share my story; I love being an artist. It just took me a long time to define what that exactly was. So once I was able to get a better understanding of that, I realized the most reliable platform I have is myself.
You recently released “all the way over”, tell me about the inspiration behind the song.
That song was written in my little Koreatown apartment. I dated a guy who broke my heart and then I tried to get back into the scene of dating other people. It was that moment when you’re with somebody new and you’ve been dating for a few weeks, and they’re kind of like, “Okay, well, now is this a thing?” And then you’re like, “Oh, shit, I’m not really missing this other person as much as I maybe was, but I still am.” It’s like if I commit to this person then I really close the door on this other person and I don’t know if I’m ready to close that door. You feel further away from that person than you already do.
How do you connect with your listeners?
I’m trying to keep up with DM’s. I don’t have a big fan base right now. I usually set aside like 30 minutes every couple of days to try and go through all of them. I try to engage on mostly Instagram. I’ve been dying to go on tour. I think that would be the major catalyst of really pushing to get the audience bigger and to get more people engaged.
What do you have planned for 2020?
We’ve got four more singles coming out that we’ll consolidate into an EP, which are some of my favorite songs. The second single comes out on March 20th and that is probably my favorite song I’ve ever put out. We’re going to be having some big music videos go along with that. We’re going to have live acoustic videos and all sorts of stuff. Definitely more shows. Hopefully by the end of the year we could get some out-of-town dates. Lots more content, songs, and shows.