Within every Abraham Alexander song is a story, an unguarded look into his singular journey through the world. Born in Greece to parents of Nigerian descent, the 28-year-old singer/songwriter moved to Texas at age 11, his family determined to escape the racial tensions they faced in Athens. But while his lyrics speak to pain and trauma and life-changing loss, Alexander instills his music with a joyful passion and irrepressible spirit, ultimately giving way to songs that radiate undeniable hope.
In the making of his forthcoming debut EP, Alexander traveled from Fort Worth to London and worked with producer/songwriters like Cameron Warren (The Dap Kings, Dan Caplen), shaping his songs with elements of soul and hip-hop and rock and blues. On lead single “Lovers Game,” he brings that graceful eclecticism to a moody and piano-driven reflection on modern romance. “It’s about how, in this day and age, we’re so afraid of being truly in the moment and appreciating someone for who they are right now,” says Alexander. “We end up playing all these games to see if someone’s worth our love, instead of just letting ourselves fall head first.”
Elsewhere on his debut, Alexander centers his nuanced songwriting on formative moments from his past and present. On “Journey’s End,” he offers a slow-burning meditation on the meaning of home, capturing his conflicting emotion in a particularly powerful vocal performance. One of the EP’s most fiery tracks, the fantastically gritty “335” explores his complicated connection to his birth father, who’s also a musician. “That song came from realizing that my birth dad and I play the exact same guitar, and learning how to liberate myself and see that guitar as something that’s part of me, rather than part of him,” he says. And on “Heart of Gold,” Alexander performs a sort of subtle alchemy, transforming deep-rooted pain into unlikely triumph. “It’s about losing my birth mom, but also about how the first memory I have is of being physically abused,” he says. “It’s me calling out to myself to overcome all that, instead of letting it hold me back. I believe that through adversity we can be made whole, in the same way that gold is purified through fire.”
Throughout his EP, Alexander reveals the heartfelt musicality he’s spent much of his life honing. After first playing around on his father’s guitar at age 8, he fully committed to teaching himself the instrument at age 22—a move largely inspired by a Mahogany Session featuring Gary Clark Jr. “I’d torn my ACL playing college soccer, and for a long time I was laid up at home, just so depressed,” says Alexander, who attended Texas Wesleyan University. “Watching Gary do his thing really affected me—you don’t see many people who look like me holding a guitar, and it made me want to try as well.” Soon enough, he started writing songs of his own, as well as playing open mics at The Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge in Fort Worth. “At first I was so nervous I could barely strum a chord, but I kept going back and trying again,” he recalls. As he drew bigger and bigger crowds, Alexander began landing local gigs, including an early-2017 date opening for Ginuwine at House of Blues in Dallas. Later that year, he released “America” (a protest song written in response to the spate of police violence against black men), which soon drew the attention of Mahogany Records, and eventually led to his signing to the label.
Over the years, Alexander has stuck with a songwriting process fueled by raw feeling. “A lot of the songs start with me sitting with the guitar and trying to make myself cry,” he says. “There always has to be some type of tension between me and the chords—because if there’s not that big emotion in the first five seconds, the song’s just not going to work.” And with the release of his debut EP, Alexander hopes that his deliberate vulnerability might inspire others to embrace a certain open-heartedness. “It’s really important to me to connect with all different kinds of people—people who’d maybe never usually be in the same room together, but who could end up realizing they’re no different from each other,” says Alexander. “At the end of the day we’re all searching for truth, and I’d love for my songs to help people along with that.”For tour dates and more visit: www.abrahamalexandermusic.com