Our WorldArts Spotlight Artist of the Month is PLEXXAGLASS! This dynamic artist (and pianist) covers the musical spectrum from alt-pop, to indie-folk and electronica. Check our exclusive Q&A with her to learn about her musical journey, her influences, and to see which Harry Potter House she’s in (hint: Ravenclaw can suck it)!
1) Tell us about how you got started in music & your collaboration with Kevin Billingslea?
I’ve always been singing and writing (filling journals with my thoughts). Growing up I did a lot of musical theater, but didn’t dabble in writing my own music until about 5 years ago when I was living in Orlando, FL. I went through my biggest break-up that year, and like any melodramatic young adult, I put it into song. Just melody and lyrics. After moving to Los Angeles with my best friend, I started to get serious about it. I learned piano in 6 months so I could properly convey my creations to a producer; I can sight-read chord progressions. I recorded a 6 track EP under my name that released in 2014. The problem with it was… it wasn’t good. At. All. The production, my writing, everything. It wasn’t there. I hadn’t found myself as an artist yet. I truly, nearly, gave up. Stopped being active for over 6 months. But writing music is so deeply embedded in my bones, I couldn’t stay away. I needed new direction. I dusted myself off finally, and realized the answer was rebranding and observation. My socials had the handle ‘PLEXXAGLASS’ for years— my manager suggested I start releasing under that. It stuck like marshmallow fluff.
A former client of my manager, a band called ‘Hours North’ from Wells Maine, approached me about collaborating on writing a song for their album which was being produced by Kevin Billingslea. After having the chance to record with him just for that one song, I knew he was the producer I wanted to work with for the rest of my career. We created ‘Lament en Route’ and ‘Liar’ over the course of only two days. I had never worked with a producer before that fully understood the music I was writing and knew the perfect ways to expand upon those ideas, let alone fully finish tracking a song in a day… that doesn’t typically happen. After observing the market, instead of releasing a full album, I decided I’ll be releasing a single every 3 months through the end of the year, all produced by him.
2) What influences do you draw on when you create music?
Originally, I stayed very true to the ‘Adult Contemporary’ female songwriter bubble, but I’ve fallen in love with this meld with electro that singer-songwriters are using right now. Artists like Regina Spektor, Bishop Briggs, Florence + the Machine, the duo Marian Hill get me super jazzed and inspired to try new things.
3) What was the music scene like in your hometown when you were growing up?
Melbourne, FL was kind of shit when I lived there. I haven’t been back in years, but I’ve been told it’s better for young people now. My friends and I grew up listening to mostly punk/alternative rock. Blink 182, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Motion City Soundtrack, Say Anything, No Doubt… so my singing style definitely took a lot of inspiration from that era and eras before. Patti Smith and Ann Wilson are the baddest female vocalists around.
Overall, I was lucky that despite it being a lower to upper-middle class community in a mostly red state, where arts are typically discouraged, we had a pretty nurturing arts environment… to an extent. Most adults thought it was great to have it as a hobby as a kid, but when I told them I was going to college for it, kinda told me I’d fail. In my formative years, though, I definitely would call New York City the place I feel most at home. I lived there for about three years and think about moving back all the time.
4) If you could go on tour with any artist (past or present) who would it be?
Duuuude, 100% Kaleo. Or Regina Spektor.
5) What’s your ‘go-to’ karaoke song?
‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’ as sung by Jennifer Hudson for the Movie-Musical Dreamgirls (serious karaoke-er over here)
6) WorldArts is all about giving tools and opportunities to artists. What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
1. Treat your music like your job. It’s a business. There’s a lot of great music out there that never gets heard because people don’t invest, not only monetarily, but also time into growing. Grow as an artist, but also help your brand grow with marketing. It sucks, but it’s not all about the art, as much as I would like to escape into this private bubble where all we can do is create all day… you have to play the game.
2. Don’t be a douche. Even if you’re a solo artist, like me, you most likely have a band backing you. Without that band, you’re back to playing open-mic nights at your local bar. Be gracious to the people who lift you up. It’s not all about you. A band is a family.
And 3. It’s cliche, but if you really want this, and get the above, don’t you dare give up.
7) If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
I’m naturally a bit of an introvert. Like most musicians, you’d never know from how I am on stage, but I’m a bit of a hermit. I’ve had to force myself to network, and I hate feeling like I’m bothering my friends just by asking them to listen to my music.
8) What is the best way you’ve found to market yourself as an artist?
Spotify. I’ll admit, I avoided it when it first came out because so many people told me it’s basically satan as far as monetary return goes. The problem is, it’s not going away. It’s steadily growing into the most used music service, and there’s not fighting that. Exposure is everything for indie artists. So, I had to swallow my pride, and I started submitting to playlist curators. I don’t regret it at all.
9) Apparently you also have a bit of a Harry Potter addiction…
It’s less an addiction, and more of a lifestyle… My dog’s name is Remus (Remus Lupin, for those of you out there who get it…). I’ve read all 7 books at least 50 times each at this point. I have this giant box set with all 8 movies in both DVD and Blu-Ray (WHY??!). I have a tattoo of Snape and Lilly Potter’s patronus [doe] on my left foot (with Deathly Hallows symbol, obviously). I’m a slytherin (believe me… I’ve taken every test. It’s that ambitious characteristic, seems to beat out Ravenclaw every time). My husband proposed to me in front of Hogwarts in London at the WB Studio Tour (he wins for life).
10) What next on the horizon for you (shows/new tracks/in the studio etc.)?
I’ll be releasing my second single on all digital platforms on March 25, which I’ve coincided with our next show at The Mint in Los Angeles. I’ll be returning to the studio with Kevin this Spring, with the third single expected to drop around June. Hoping to get my foot in the door through tour support or music fests.
Listen to “Liar” on Soundcloud:
Listen to “Lament en Route” on Soundcloud
Download “Lament en Route” on iTunes today!