5:50 pm - 04/11/2012

Catch Up with Alexz Johnson: Former "So Weird" star touring this year!

You may remember Alexz Johnson from the third season of the Disney Channel Original Series, So Weird, where a young Alexz first displayed her vocal chops as "Annie Thelan" back in the early '00s:

After "So Weird" ended (this was back when Disney had a 65 episode limit for their shows!), Alexz got the starring role of "Jude Harrison" in the Canadian series Instant Star, another singing/acting role. Alexz had started working on original music around this time, co-writing for Instant Star with her brother, and then began work on her first original album, "Weight". 

Instant Star ended in 2008, and Johnson was poised to release her debut album in late 2009. However, fate and business intervened, and a shake-up in management at Epic Records resulted in Alexz and several other artists being dropped from the label. This resulted in Alexz temporarily losing the rights to those tracks due to her contract (most of them have since been leaked online).

Alexz is now taking a more independent route with her music--- after she was dropped from Epic, she released "Voodoo" in 2010 independently. A remixed version of the album, "Voodoo: Reloaded" was released in early 2011, and Alexz also released a collaboration album with her brother called "The Basement Recordings".

Alexz also received attention last year from one of her Instant Star songs being featured in an episode of Pretty Little Liars, which ended up spawning a trending topic on twitter that caught Demi Lovato's attention who tweeted, saying that Alexz was who originally inspired her to begin writing music and playing the guitar.

In fall 2011, Alexz debuted a new single and music video to promote her newest project, the Skipping Stone EP. After the EP came in January, Alexz announced plans for a tour on, with a goal to raise $30,000 by the end of March. She reached her goal in less than a day, and more than doubled it by the deadline.

The tour schedule is still being hammered out, but Alexz has a couple of gigs in New York and Los Angeles later this month.

Check out some snippets of an interview Alexz recently did with about her journey as a musician:

"Alexz Johnson has been singing for as long as she can remember, treating her family to living room concerts at the age of three. When she turned twelve, Johnson marched into a talent agency and belted out a song. Before long, she had earned a prominent role on Disney’s So Weird... She began to write original songs for [Instant Star]'s soundtrack. Her singing career earned her a deal with Capitol Records and a stint with Epic Records, which eventually fell through after the label president was shifted to a different sector in 2009.

After her adventures with the corporate music world, Johnson has decided to take her music career into her own hands. “I feel stronger than ever because I’m doing it on my own terms, you’re so humble and it’s so about the music that there is nothing else to hide behind,” she explains."

[on acting]
Alexz: ".....Anyway, I just basically walked to an agency in a small town outside of Vancouver and I said, “I want to sing.” And he was like, “Well we’re an acting agency.” ...So I just started singing for him and he said, “Well. We’ll get you some auditions.” And I said, “Well OK if I could play a singer.” So then I landed a Disney series really quickly, without hardly any acting experience – I had done maybe a Staples commercial or something like that – and I got the lead of a Disney show and I was singing on that. And then all the acting stuff I started doing from then on was mostly playing musicians and music based. It’s hard to say. Music is so my passion but acting has really allowed me financially to do my music.

After the Disney series, I took a break from acting and just started writing with my brother in the basement. He was going to production school to be a producer and he’s one of the most talented writers I’ve ever worked with – not just because he’s my brother. The stuff we did together got us signed with Capitol. It got us signed with Epic/Sony… So we spent time in the basement writing and working on music and we continued to write."

Chinashopmag: Tell us about your Kickstarter project. You reached your entire goal in one day? Did you have any idea that would happen?
Alexz: Yeah! No idea. I think it’s a really exciting thing because it just shows you how much the music industry is changing right now. I’m taking a lot of meetings right now with management and booking agents because I left everything in Canada. I put all my stuff in storage and just moved to New York City to get a band together and just tour.

CSM: Tell us about the prizes you are giving to people that donated.
A: I did this EP and I decided to put it out and stream it online for free and I put it together through my contacts. I’d worked with Greg Wells on my Epic album that didn’t get released – he’s amazing – and these people in my life that I’ve worked with that keep getting more and more success in their careers.. I had this EP and I decided to stream it live and have people go to my Kickstarter. I think at this point in music, you want to get them really engaged. It’s almost like a venue for supporting you. So I’m gonna send off the CDs. I’m giving away merch, CD vinyls, hard copies of the CD, T-shirts, photos, phone calls, videos I’m making for them, and I’ll be at the post office sending this out for a week and a half probably.

CSM: Do you miss the big label thing at all?
A: No. I mean it’s hard to manage everything. It will be nice when I have management and the booking agent figured out. I want to find people that are passionate about what they do and that takes time. I almost feel stronger than I ever have because doing it on my own terms, you’re so humble and it’s so about the music that there is nothing else to hide behind or anything whereas when I was signed with Sony, I would always feel a little bit like I was fooling everyone, like: “Why am I signed with Sony? Is this really going to happen?”

CSM: Tell us about you new EP Skipping Stone. What are the songs inspired by?
A: It’s really interesting. The majority of the EP I wrote with Jimmy Robbins. He’s a musician in Nashville and it’s funny that we wrote those songs together. It’s just really interesting how intuitive women are because looking back almost every song on the EP is like a heartbreak song and we wrote those together. And I think it’s just so funny – skipping stone, and walking, and a thief – the songs represent a time in my life when I was obviously very afraid of getting my heart broken from the very beginning. The stuff we were writing about was like, “Don’t break my heart” like without even thinking so that’s what’s come out of the last few years for me is this EP. It’s really special to me. I’d never experienced that before. I’d never been through that kind of pain and I think it’s all in there so I’m really thankful for that.

CSM: What’s your favorite track off of Skipping Stone?
A: Probably “Skipping Stone.” It was kind of out of control; the song almost wrote itself, which is really interesting when that happens. It’s almost like I can’t take responsibility for it because it just came out so quickly. I was in Nashville and I went to the Ryman and I took a tour around the back. I couldn’t step on the stage because I would have just died. That’s a venue that I really want to play in my life and it’s around that time that I started thinking about the old classic writers that I love. There’s something about it that’s really classic to me so that’s why I love it so much.


Songs to check out: Thief, Skipping Stone, Running With The Devil, Trip Around The World, Swallowed, Taker, Look At Those Eyes, Hurricane Girl, Easy, Lost & Found, Pleased to Meet You
watch_mex0x0 11th-Apr-2012 10:17 pm (UTC)

qwicksilva88 11th-Apr-2012 10:25 pm (UTC)
OMG! The studio version of Hunger Pains>>>>>>>>>>>

Edited at 2012-04-11 10:29 pm (UTC)
qwicksilva88 11th-Apr-2012 10:21 pm (UTC)
I love Alexz so much. She's one of my favorites and I always support her. Hopefully I can go to her show in NY this month.
murphyboy11 11th-Apr-2012 10:26 pm (UTC)
Girl is so talented! So glad to see that she has so much going for her :D
takobella 11th-Apr-2012 10:33 pm (UTC)
I was friends w her in high school, she's actually really nice, it makes me happy to see her doing well :-)

Her brother was SO jealous of her though, it was hilarious. He wanted to be a famous model/singer and nobody gave a shit, he was always so pressed
qwicksilva88 11th-Apr-2012 10:34 pm (UTC)
Brenden? *dead*
takobella 11th-Apr-2012 10:45 pm (UTC)
Yup lol
between_lights 11th-Apr-2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
which brother? Zak or however you spell his name? Because I remember back in the day he would always try to use Alexz for attention. although Brenden also latches onto her a lot...
takobella 11th-Apr-2012 10:45 pm (UTC)
Ya Brendan

I mean, he was nice and everything, but way envious of her, he was so bad a hiding it lol
between_lights 11th-Apr-2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
Ugh. Yeah, I never got good vibes from him tbh. They've made some good music together, but I'm glad she's starting to distance herself from him a bit and branch out with new co-writers and producers. He was definitely holding her back, whether on purpose or not.
between_lights 11th-Apr-2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
omg flaw-free post for a true flaw-free goddess tbh <3

I really wanted to go to her show in NYC on the 24th, but the venue is 21+ so... :|
between_lights 11th-Apr-2012 10:45 pm (UTC)
seriously though...I'm glad she finally has a tag here. we need more Alexz posts, and I need to find somewhere besides her tumblr tag to fangirl over news and songs tbh.
(no subject) - Anonymous
between_lights 11th-Apr-2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
yess I definitely will! :)
thatjulyninth 11th-Apr-2012 11:00 pm (UTC)
YAAAAAAASSSSSS, QT POST. Alexz is so talented, I wish more people would love her like I do! I gotta see her on tour this summer. IT WILL HAPPEN.
divafit 11th-Apr-2012 11:02 pm (UTC)

no, but really. since when does she have a tag? i fucking love her.
nileyenaoe Re: 12th-Apr-2012 11:25 am (UTC)
Since yesterday. Feel free to start posting news about her. :)
breadsticks0914 11th-Apr-2012 11:29 pm (UTC)
I used to listen to the Instant Star soundtracks aaaall the time

the music she's released since then is pretty fucking awesome too
boomboxrobot 11th-Apr-2012 11:37 pm (UTC)
I used to love Instant Star, haha. Completely forgot she existed tbh. Thanks for reminding me!
teenagedreamxxx 11th-Apr-2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
Loved her on So Weird and the voodoo album is one of my favorite albums. real music tbh
xxheartstringsx 12th-Apr-2012 01:15 am (UTC)
Adore her so much, she's freaking stellar! Talent, looks, and a sharp personality! Whenever I'm down I pop instant star in, or listen to her tunes. The world should know about her!

Edited at 2012-04-12 01:35 am (UTC)
slavetothemetal 12th-Apr-2012 01:50 am (UTC)
omg! i had no idea she was still around. i loved her so much on instant star. i miss that show tbh
makingittodawn 12th-Apr-2012 04:44 am (UTC)
I love Alexz so much, this makes me so happy <3
mixy101 22nd-Apr-2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
omg yay I love her <3
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