Alex Vaughn Interview: The Emergence of a New Generation R&B Star
As r&b has faded from the mainstream in recent years and gravitated towards a more popular hip hop sound, it’s not often we find a new artist who reminds us of what we love about the genre. We recently did discover one though, and her name is Alex Vaughn. We were introduced the DC based artist through the very impressive song “Good Morning”, a fresh take on the genre mixed with a throwback vibe. We knew we had to get her to perform for our Sol Village showcase, and last month she took the stage and didn’t disappoint one bit. With a beautiful voice, vibrant personality, and true understanding of maintaining musical credibility, we’re excited to see her career continue to blossom. YouKnowIGotSoul sat down with her prior to the performance for Sol Village and discussed how she began as an artist, her classical training, working on her next project, and much more.
YouKnowIGotSoul: We’re here at SOB’s for the Sol Village showcase where you’ll be performing tonight. Talk about what to expect.
Alex Vaughn: I’ll bring some good energies, some oldies and goodies, and some originals. Just a great show. This is my first out of state performance, and for it to be at SOB’s is just unbelievable. I’m so excited.
YouKnowIGotSoul: What first got you interested in pursuing a career in music?
Alex Vaughn: I’ve always been into music. When I was a child, I would also crawl to my grandmother’s piano, I would hum when I chewed my food, I was involved in choirs from elementary, middle, and high school where I was classically trained. I think when I was going to college, I was on a full scholarship for classical music, it hit me that I couldn’t really be here putting my energy into classic musical. But more so into being an artist and making music off of the vibrations and how I felt. I think that was the ah ha moment for me.
YouKnowIGotSoul: What do you take forward with you from learning classical music that you use when you create music now?
Alex Vaughn: Breathing techniques, even getting into character when performing, learning the origins of songs. It definitely helped a whole lot.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Tell us about your biggest influences.
Alex Vaughn: They vary. My biggest two are Alicia Keys and Kanye West. Also, it depended on whose car I was riding in. If it was in my mom’s car, I would hear India Arie, Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige. My dad’s car, it would be Stevie Wonder, The Whispers, and then Biggie. So it’s like I’m a musical mutt when it comes to influences.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Tell us about the project you put out in 2014 called “The 4 PM Mix”.
Alex Vaughn: It’s a funny story. I was really irritated at work, and stepped out and called one of my friends and said I needed to create something that gives people a feel of what a weekend looks like for someone who just wants to have a good time and be with friends. He said to call it “The 4 PM Mix”. I made a project based on all of that. That’s just where I was at the time and where my head was. I’m in a new space now and I’m really looking forward to you guys hearing what the new music will give you.
YouKnowIGotSoul: We were first introduced to you a few months ago from the song “Good Morning”, which we were really blown away by. Tell us about that one.
Alex Vaughn: One of my close, close friends was going through suicide feelings and of course that doesn’t feel good hearing that from someone so close to you. I wrote the song originally just for her to listen to to feel better. As I listened better more and more, I thought of how it applied to now just suicide, but people going through any type of struggle or hardship. Then one day I went over her house and one of my friends played a beat and it was the exact same chords as I wrote on the piano. We put it together and boom, “Good Morning”.
YouKnowIGotSoul: As you’re creating this new music and working towards this new project, what inspires you the most?
Alex Vaughn: It’s just the moment. Everyone goes through so many different waves, from feeling like you’re stuck and nobody understands you, or being excited and in love. It’s just the moment. Whatever I’m feeling at the moment, that inspires me the most. It can be raining outside and I can be inspired by the rain. *Laughs*
YouKnowIGotSoul: You are a true triple threat as a singer, songwriter and performer. Unfortunately these days r&b artists like that don’t always get the attention they deserve. How do you overcome that as you begin to develop your career?
Alex Vaughn: It doesn’t discourage me. This is just what I love to do. I’m just true to the music and I feel like people just like what’s true. They can tell. If it’s true then it will shine through. I love playing the piano and singing. I will never not be a musician. Even if people didn’t like it. That’s just the type of artist I am.
YouKnowIGotSoul: What’s the overall goal for you? Are you looking to get signed to a major label? Would you like to continue as an independent artist?
Alex Vaughn: I think if the right opportunity presents itself I’d like to be signed to a label.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Anything else you’d like to add?
Alex Vaughn: There’s a lot of music coming. I have a project dropping in November, which is also my birthday month. Be sure to check it out. You can also follow me on all social media platforms at @WhoIsAlexVaughn. I’m on all music streaming services.
YouKnowIGotSoul: Talk about your performance you did for D.C. Soul Stage and what that experience was like.
Alex Vaughn: That’s when my partner Zeplyn and I met. He was telling me he wanted it to be a buildup of the different sounds and a live and organic performance. I love that, so it just worked out beautifully. I think it was exciting, I had a great time.