At one point, we will be, or have been teenagers and have experienced some of the most defining feelings we’ll ever feel – the heartbreak, the humiliation, the burdensome weight of lonesome thoughts, the density of feeling stuck, all coming down upon us at one of the most pivotal stages of life. In the midst of the pandemic, Lexi Jayde, an upcoming artist from Los Angeles, California decided to channel her heartache and the insoluble dilemma of adolescence into phenomenal lyrics with an exceptional delivery. ‘Fuck you for wasting my love’, she sings in one of her latest singles, ‘newbury park’ and by the time she arrives at the throbbing bridge, it’s hard not to belt the words along with her. If Lexi Jayde has a superpower, it’s that, at 18, she already knows that youth spares nobody from outsized feelings, some that never really go away. Instead she feels, explores and adeptly makes music that isn’t only emotional and impactful, but also paints pictures of specific scenarios, thus is the extent of her creativity and proficiency at songwriting.
Her music stems from a place of raw emotion, raw passion, raw anguish and vibrates with notes of all-too-relatable teen nostalgia and to put it plainly, it makes you feel things. This, coupled with the genuineness of her lyrics, the authenticity of her sound and her uncaged vulnerability have resonated with and have captured the ears of young people worldwide. Interacting with Lexi affirmed her authenticity, she truly is a person with infectious positive energy and honest emotion. In a way, Lexi’s normality and uniqueness comes from the same source; she’s extremely in touch with her feelings and growing up in Los Angeles, around entertainment professionals further heightened her interests. “I started writing songs when I was younger and I grew up doing musical theatre, so I’ve always been passionate about music, writing and acting, and I fell in love with it. I grew up in LA and I feel like if you’re going to get into the entertainment industry, it’s a really great place to be, because there are so many connections and people surrounding you that can help you. I feel really lucky that over the years I met a lot of people that believed in me.”
There were no musicians in the family, but Lexi was a born performer. “I was always performing when I was younger and I definitely think I was meant to do this”, she laughs. Lexi recalls, “I would literally perform on the kitchen table for my parents when I was 2 years old. I was obsessed with Hannah Montana and I actually thought I was Hannah Montana for a really long time. I feel really lucky because I have great parents who brought me everywhere and supported my dreams.”
Lexi has been laser-focused on her dreams since day one and nothing could sidetrack her. She had a normal teenage upbringing, but at the same time, her world has always been populated with professionals in the entertainment industry and there was a time when she decided to go after her own dreams. “I went to public high school and I didn’t commit to it as seriously as I do now because I wanted to live my teenage life, but there was a point when I was like ‘this is it, there’s no plan B. This is what I want to do and I’m going to do everything in my power to follow my dreams.’ It was a no-brainer for me and around two and a half years ago, I sat myself down and I told myself ‘I’m going to go for it, I’m going to work hard and figure this out’ and I’m still working my ass off.” To not be one-dimensional on a platform that is inherently one-dimensional can have people perceive you as somebody that you’re not and that can be daunting, especially for new artists. Lexi, who had a massive social media following before her career as an artist kicked off, used it to her advantage. “Over the years, I never stopped putting out music and creating and writing. I also used social media to tell people that this is what I’m passionate about and I feel really lucky because some really dope people reached out to me and wanted to be a part of my journey.”
With the world going virtual in early 2020, it was easy for everyone to be agitated, but with Lexi’s fundamental positive approach to everything, she saw things from a different perspective. “It was a really weird and tough time for everybody, this past year. But I really do think I took the positive out of it all and I took that time to find what I most like about myself and music and finding really cool things about songwriting, growing in that aspect. I learned how to record my own vocals in quarantine and it opened up a new perspective for me towards music and my passion for it.”
The world, quite literally, shut down and the virtual platform almost immediately took over everyone’s lives. With her newfound time, Lexi immediately got to working on her craft and began working a new single ‘Oldest Teenager’, which accurately captures thoughts that every teenager feels, at one point or another. “I wrote it with Danny Spadaro, my co-writer and producer, over Zoom and that song has a special place in my heart. Literally four days after quarantine happened, we wrote the song. I was just feeling stuck, we were stuck inside, not knowing what was happening and I just felt like the oldest teenager. My whole life, I feel like I’ve grown up really fast in LA and I was constantly surrounded by adults, I learned very quickly to do adult things. When we were writing the song, I told Danny, that ‘you know what, I feel like I’m 30 years old and I feel like the oldest teenager I know’ and that’s what inspired the song. Even if you have the best friends and the best parents, you’re still allowed to feel empty and lonely.”
Songwriting is something that truly encompasses Lexi’s emotion and the artists she truly is. She usually starts with a concept, before expanding it into a full, vivid arc. “My songwriting process differs a lot, it depends a lot on my mood or how I’m feeling, but the process I enjoy the most is just sitting down with a guitar and writing down what I’m feeling. So I usually come up with a concept and I’m constantly writing lyrics or recording melodies on voice memo. You should look at my notes!” She laughs. “It’s a ton of song lyrics and sometimes if I think of something in the middle of the night, I have to write it down! Then I go into a session with another writer and producer and I bring an idea there that I’m really passionate about and we figure out the melodies and that’s how it starts! I’ll then go through my voice memos and be like ‘Oh! This could be a really cool chorus or a really cool verse’ – the thing I enjoy the most though, is just sitting with a guitar and kind of just freestyling and writing whatever comes naturally, it’s just a really fun process.”
“I just want to be real with the people that listen to my music and that is something that comes straight from my heart and from my life.”
In her song ‘running in place’, Lexi unpacks the dense feeling of doing everything you possibly can, but still feeling stuck. “The isolation of the pandemic definitely made ‘running in place’ a little more deep, but I felt like this before isolation too. There was a moment in my life where I felt like I was doing everything, trying to do things in my career, trying to be the best friend I can be to all my friends, trying to do this for a guy, just so many things going on and I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. It felt like I was running in place and feeling empty and nothing I would do is going to change that.” I can feel her passion through the screen when she talks about it. Her lyricism also offers a window into her life, but she likes that because it resonates with listeners. “ It’s such a weird feeling but a lot of people go through that bubble and I wanted to write a song expressing that. I just want to be real with the people that listen to my music and that is something that comes straight from my heart and from my life. That song means a lot to me.”
‘Newbury park’, one of her latest singles, with a euphoric pop climax that flawlessly captures the post-break up anger. It isn’t just ‘angsty teen taking out her frustration’, in fact, it isn’t what the song is about at all. The essence of the song lies in girls standing up for themselves in relationships where they’re taken advantage of. “I feel like heartbreak is such an emotion that comes and goes, but with ‘newbury park’, it’s more of an empowerment song. When the chorus comes ‘fuck you for wasting my love’, it’s not meant to be hateful, I feel like it’s empowering for women, because we need to stand up for ourselves in relationships where guys treat us like shit. I look back at all those moments when I let guys treat me like that and I should’ve been like ‘you know what, you suck and you don’t deserve me’. I wanted people to know that you don’t need him. Girls are girls and we rock!”
It’s only been halfway through the year, and Lexi has already accomplished so much – from being featured on a campaign for Garage Clothing, to getting 5 million streams on ‘If I Really Love You’, moving into her own place, been featured on countless Spotify editorial playlists, getting into the University of Southern California, and even featuring on Goody Grace’s album ‘Don’t Forget Where You Came From’, it’s been a whirlwind of a year for Lexi. ‘On Repeat’ by Goody Grace, featuring Lexi Jayde and Cigarettes After Sex is a laid back song with a chill melody, and the experience was “definitely on the bucket list” and something that “still freaks me out!”
With all that, she also signed earlier this year, to one of the most reputed record labels, APG, home to the likes of Charlie Puth, Bazzi, Ava Max and Alec Benjamin. While reflecting on how crazy this year has been, Lexi says, “It’s one of those things that hasn’t really hit me yet, that I’m signed and I’m lucky enough to be with this amazing team. To be surrounded by people who believe in me and support me and work so hard for me and that is just an artist’s dream. I feel so grateful and it’s been such an amazing experience so far!”
The rollercoaster of the past six months has been so exciting that she has no intention of hitting the brakes any time soon, even as she completes the final months of her senior year of high school while on the road – she has numerous exciting projects ahead of her, and some that are majorly under wraps. “2021 looks so crazy for Lexi Jayde’s music world! I don’t want to spoil anything but a lot of music is coming and be ready because it’s coming faster than you think. There’s a lot of possibilities, possibly a tour, possibly an EP, I don’t know if I’m saying too much right now”, she laughs. “You just got to stay tuned!” The past year was a time of immense growth for everyone and while reflecting on that, she adds, “2021 Lexi would tell 2020 Lexi, ‘Don’t worry, everything’s going to be fine, your life’s about to change. Keep working hard and don’t doubt yourself, keep going and don’t give up.’ God I wish I knew that!”
With all that, her new single ‘bedroom walls’, unpacks the complexities of fake friends. “I’m so stoked for ‘bedroom walls’ and it’s such a fun song. It’s funny too, ‘cause I wrote it in quarantine in my room so it gave me this feeling of being in my bedroom – but the real inspiration behind it is that growing up in LA, I went to so many parties and met so many people and considered so many people to be my real friends and turns out, they were fake friends. I would just cry my eyes out over people that didn’t care about me and I would come home from these parties feeling so lonely after being surrounded by so many people.” Songwriting has helped her be honest and vulnerable and not contrived, effortless in a way of expressing emotion. “Everyone used to ask me ‘How can you feel lonely in a room full of people?’, but it was more of this empty feeling where I thought ‘I just can’t be myself here’ and I felt judged every second. At the end of the night I would come to my bedroom and it’s a place where I can fully be myself. I thought of this really cool analogy, which is ‘I’d rather be best friends with my bedroom walls and watch a movie alone than hang out with fake friends at a party’. I think it’s such a dope concept and something everyone can relate to.”
There’s one constant in Lexi’s music – her astonishingly open songwriting. She is thoroughly a Gen-Z creator, pouring her emotions and experiences into words. Her music is influenced by the honest artistry of people like Lennon Stella, Gracie Abrams, Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift, whom, she adds are “some of my favourite people in the world” and is very influenced by their creativity. “I think with all of their music and their artistry, they really tell stories and there’s a reason why I look upto them. I just think it’s so beautiful and I take little things from all of them, like ‘I really like the way they wrote this’ or ‘I really like how they’re expressing this’. When I listen to a song and I can feel something and visualise the story they’re telling, that’s when I know it’s a good song and that’s just what I want from my music.”
“I’m on my own path, I’m pursuing my own thing and I’m not going to let anything or anyone stop me.”
Being vulnerable, raw, intimate and honest is something Gen-Z listeners crave from artists today and Lexi echoes this sentiment of relatability in her music. “I’m making music so people can relate to something and feel something. My favourite thing about this whole process is when I release new music, I get multiple messages from people I don’t even know telling me things like ‘This song changed my life’ or ‘This song made me realise I don’t need that boy in my life’ and that to me, is so amazing. Just knowing that my music helps people and inspires people – it’s so empowering. Maybe this is why Lexi’s music has such a universal appeal. “The fact that I get to do this at such a young age and have this platform where I get to create art and people listen to it still feels so surreal to me. It’s an amazing feeling.”
To Lexi, it’s not about what other people want her to be and she encourages her followers to do the same. “To not let other people’s opinions get you, yours is the only one that matters. You got to do your own thing and strive for your own dreams. There’s going to be so many people in your life that try and control your life and what you do with your life.” In the fast-paced and competitive entertainment industry, it’s easy for upcoming artists to get carried away by other’s opinions, but she has always been sure about her ways. “Something that I always kept in the back of my head was that I’m on my own path, I’m pursuing my own thing and I’m not going to let anything or anyone stop me.”
Maybe this is why Lexi’s songs have caught the ears of so many – they aren’t created to go viral on TikTok and she isn’t stereotyping her music or jumping on bandwagons; instead she’s carving her own path. Even when her songs are filled with personal details, as in the non-ubiquitous breakup bop, ‘newbury park’, references to ‘ruined Radiohead’, it’s easy for listeners to feel themselves in her songs of heartbreak or feeling stuck, especially for those fighting the duality between youth and adulthood.
It’s an impressive skill – one that sets a new artist up for longevity in a world of viral smashes. She may be doing really well , but you sense Lexi’s defining moment is further down the road – she is in this for the long haul, but she wants us to join her on the journey as she discovers herself as an artist.
Article Photos & Cover Photo: @jessicaspohr