Recently, Olga Alex released an amazing remix of her hit single “Holdin’ On (Love I Feel).” She joined forces with leading international DJ/Producer Robbie Rivera and the results exceed expectations. As a matter of fact, it has been featured at the Top 50 Progressive House Charts. In this special interview, you’ll discover interesting details about the singer’s music and career.
1 — First of all, what got you interested in music initially?
Music has always been my biggest passion. I can’t even imagine how my life would be without it. I never looked at my music as a “business” per se. I just follow my heart and do everything I can to deliver my message through the music I create.
2 — Was your family or friends supportive of your career choice?
My career started when I began to sing for my mother. She really enjoyed it but kept criticizing me trying to make me better at my craft, which I of course took the wrong way. She is really one of my biggest supporters. We live on different continents but still speak daily. She is always listening to my new music, gives me her thoughts on my ideas, and watches my Instagram videos before I post them publicly. I really value her opinions and advice. My close friends are all from the same scene. Years ago, we were all in a reality show, and formed a girl band called, “R&B Girls.” It was years ago, but I still remember it as if it were yesterday. The project gained much notoriety within the industry. We were on MTV Russia and even posed for the magazine Playboy there. We have since remained very close friends, and are always super present in each other’s lives and personal music careers. They are very supportive of me in my career choice but I can honestly say I didn’t choose this career, it chose me. This is my life, and it is who I am.
I am very focused on my music career at the moment. Modeling is really just number two. Music demands my full attention, and I wouldn’t have it any other way actually. The Lafayette team has been amazing. They set a very high standard for me and really push me to be my best. The songwriting and the whole recording process is very time-consuming. It really doesn’t leave me much time for much else. People think my life is fun, and music is so glamorous. The truth is there is a lot of hard work that goes behind what I do. The fun part happens when I am satisfied with the end result, which isn’t all that often. I always try to challenge myself to become better. I work until I reach that point where I can say, okay this is it and then I can move on to the next thing. As far as modeling goes, I just recently worked with Vikram Pathak, one of the greats in the photography world, to shoot album covers for my newest releases. What a blast, that was. I am also asked to perform for New York Fashion Week each year, and use this stage as a way to premier my new music. There really weren’t many events in 2020 though due to the pandemic, hopefully, this year will bring new, exciting, and positive things.
4 — Is your music style influenced by your homeland?
No, actually. Not so much. I am a club junkie. I would frequent the hottest clubs in Russia often, but it’s funny. They would only play House tracks from the West. Some of my first records were all electro club stuff, which was very mainstream in Russia back then, and all in English: “One Second”, “No Panic”, “Gorgeous”, and so on. The first two were added in heavy rotation to all of the modern radio stations over there. I released then under my early-stage monikers: Diva Rhys Meyers and Magdalena G. I started to use my real name, Olga Alex, only when I began to make music in the US. My production team actually persuaded me to do it. Olga is my real first name, and Alex is a shortened version of my last name, Alexandrova. Funny enough, I actually recorded my very first Russian song in New York by my publisher’s request. It was called, “Crossroads.” We premiered it in the American TV series, “Shameless,” and it was then picked up by Amazon’s “Romanoffs.” That has been my only record in Russian. I am proud beyond words to be here and to be a part of this US culture. It feels like home to me. The last time I traveled, upon my return home to New York, a female customs agent greeted me and welcomed me back home. She was right, I was back home.
5 — Are you vocally trained or is it an all-natural talent?
I never attended a music school, if this is what you mean by trained. I did take lessons from academically trained singers and teachers here and there, and tune in to Seth Riggs online when I have the time. Today, is a different story though. I work with my producers constantly and they really have an influence in my work and sound. I do like to do things my own way though. I prefer to put my heart into my work and sing from my soul. I like to do it my own way.
6 — How would you describe the sounds of your latest single “Holdin’on (Love I Feel)”?
That’s an interesting story actually as to how that song came about. What happened was, my songwriter friends from Sweden, Alex Jamal and Tomas Grangryd, wrote a song called “Fighting The Urge To Breathe” for me. It was a mainstream successful record, and is out there on all the usual platforms. The mechanics behind the record though were very complex- tons of vocals, lots of background lines, ad libs, and so on. I was approached often for remixes, so I made the record a bit more club friendly, more stripped down. I took the main lyric line from that song, and wrote a completely different melody around it- darker, more provocative, and intriguing. I could immediately tell that this version really resonated with the DJ’s. Cortney Callanan, a friend and label partner of LFS Records, immediately took notice of the track, signed it, and starting commissioning remixes right away. I can always tell when she believes in a project, because she just doesn’t hesitate. She never looks back. I just knew it was going to be amazing, when I listened to the very first mix we received completed by producer Jody Vukas. The bass was pumping so hard it blew me away. I then added a few more ad lib vocals, and the rest was history. The remix package on the record and talent we had work on it was truly legendary: James Anthony, VTONE, Saeed Younan, Eddie Baez, and Robbie Rivera really turned my words into something very special. I hear many people say it sounds like a record from the ‘90s. It’s funny to me, because I know LFS records prides itself on creating this type of sound. I was too young though at that time, and can’t really understand the reference. The song just came out naturally. It is currently charting worldwide on hundreds of shows, and being added daily. I am so floored.
7 — What did you learn by collaborating with the one and only Robbie Rivera?
Robbie is an amazing producer who really thinks outside of the box. His remix is very innovative and Avant Garde to say the least. For me, the best part of the mix was the harmony he created so easily with elements I wasn’t even aware of! He really worked from the heart. You can just tell, and that’s something we truly have in common. Don’t be afraid to go where your heart takes you. Just go there, don’t question it, because the result will be something so powerful and amazing you’d never be able to recreate it again. His mix was very unique and independent from my idea of the traditional mix. He created something completely different, and I feel blessed for the opportunity to work with him..
It’s about a relationship where love meets imagination. The girl drowns in her feelings so deep that it scares her, and she feels like she is in trouble initially. Her emotions take her breathe away. She then regains control, and is able to hold on. It’s definitely a very optimistic track besides being so dark in the beginning.
9 — Do you have a favorite place to sit and write lyrics?
You know, I commute a lot so I use every opportunity to write – whether it’s a bus, or a train, or a park or just a line in the supermarket. I start by compiling my ideas first, and then organize and put everything together completely when I get to the studio. I finish it with music. I was eating lunch with a friend in a restaurant one day, and pulled out my pen and pad because I was hit with inspiration all of a sudden. We ended up sitting there writing a song over margaritas. One of my favorite spots to write is actually on a plane when I travel. The solitude and aloneness are deafening, and it always brings me to that place. The one where my pen just takes off and tells a story.
10 — What can listeners expect from Olga Alex in 2021?
You know, that’s a good question. I have records that are almost done, so we will probably release those, and I really cannot wait to perform again. I miss my audience. I have many new ideas to develop, and I need this connection to grow them organically. I feel very optimistic about this year. It’s like we all transitioned to a new society this past year. We took too long a journey. We have been through too much hurt and pain, and learned from those mistakes. There is now a new sense of hope for us all. 2021 will be a break-through year, especially for us creatives, and I cannot wait!