Alexis Jordan is one of the rising stars of 2010. Her debut single ‘Happiness’ has already topped the Billboard charts and is causing waves across the globe. Jay-Z’s new signee recently popped into the MTV HQ where she had a chat with Vanessa Laker and discussed everything music, what it’s like working for the Jigga, her crush on Twilight actor, Taylor Lautner, and also revealed that Simon Cowell’s actually a little bit of a softie, all exclusively for The Wrap Up…
Despite being just 18 years of age, Alexis Jordan has been working in the music industry for many years now. The teen star began writing songs at the tender age of 9 and by the age of 12 she was the opening act for Smokey Robinson at a Stevie Wonder tribute. At 14 she appeared on the first season of Simon Cowell’s America’s Got Talent series and by the ripe age of 18, Alexis was snapped up and signed by Jay-Z. A very impressive CV indeed. But with a new single out and her debut album on the way, things are about to get even more impressive for this young star.
The Wrap Up: Hi Alexis, how are today? How are you finding London?
Alexis Jordan: Hi, I’m very well thanks! I’m finding it really cool. There are some incredible buildings here.
TWU: Have you had much time to look around and explore?
Alexis Jordan: A little bit. I’m going to have some time later today to check it out properly. It’s my first time here, so it’s pretty exciting.
TWU: I went to your live show at Studio Valbonne the other night, you gave a great performance. How was it for you?
Alexis Jordan: I put my heart in it with the band and the dancers, it was an incredible feeling. The UK audiences are really attentive. They stand there and really look at me. It’s cool, I really love it.
TWU: Even though you’re only 18, you’ve been performing for many years now…
Alexis Jordan: Singing in front of audiences, I’m used to that, as I’ve been doing it for a while. But singing and dancing is kinda new to me.
TWU: You started writing songs at the tender age of 9, so you’ve known for a long time that you wanted to be a musician…
Alexis Jordan: I realised I wanted to be a singer when I was really young. I always used to tell my mother, ‘Mom I wanna be singer, mom I wanna be a singer.’ I never really said it to my friends at school, but I always told my mother.
TWU: When you were 12 you opened for Smokey Robinson at a Stevie Wonder Tribute. What was that feeling like at such a young age?
Alexis Jordan: It was amazing, but because I was so young at the time, I didn’t really know how big it was. Now I look back and I’m like, ‘WOW!’ That was pretty huge.
TWU: You’ve got a new single called ‘Happiness’. Tell us a little bit about it…
Alexis Jordan: ‘Happiness’ is a great record. It was bought to me by Stargate and co-produced by Dead Mouse and was written by (New York singer/songwriter) Autumn Rowe. It’s a great single; you can hum to it and really enjoy it. I love it.
TWU: A lot of musicians say their first single and first music video is always the most memorable. You’re at that stage right now, so how is the feeling?
Alexis Jordan: It’s absolutely incredible. I mean you can go online and watch the video anytime. Making my music video was just amazing. It was around the time of my 18th birthday, so it was kind of like my 18th birthday present. So it was absolutely incredible, a really great feeling.
TWU: Now your new single went to number one on the Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay chart. Did you expect it to be so well received?
Alexis Jordan: Erm, I did and I didn’t. It’s your first single, so you’re always gonna be nervous about the outcome. So it was kind of that YES feeling. I let out a big yes out, when I got the news about the chart position.
TWU: How did you celebrate?
Alexis Jordan: I celebrated with my mother, father, brothers and sisters. It was good and very important to me to share that moment with my family.
TWU: Four years ago you appeared on the Simon Cowell-produced reality series, America’s Got Talent. What was that experience like for you?
Alexis Jordan: It was kind of bitter-sweet. Because I was 14 and I was singing these huge songs that are perceived as me being so much older, but I had such a big voice and those were the only songs that were great for me to show off my vocal talents.
TWU: Those types of shows are very intense and the contestants are put under immense pressure. At 14 years of age, how did you deal with such pressure?
Alexis Jordan: It was very intense, but my mum told me to have fun with it. If you win, you win, if you lose, you lose. At the end of the day, it’s just the beginning.
TWU: Is Simon Cowell as scary in real life as he is on TV?
Alexis Jordan: No, he’s very sweet. I met him and he gave me a great compliment. He said I was brilliant and at the age of 14, that was crazy for me.
TWU: And would you recommend shows like America/Britain’s Got Talent, American Idol and X-Factor to up-and-coming musicians?
Alexis Jordan: Yeah, I would. To just get that exposure, even if you don’t win. You get that thick skin, so you know that truth of how tough and harsh it can be in the music biz.
TWU: You live in Atlanta and over the last few years there’s been some great music coming out of that city. What is it about the ATL that produces and creates such talented musicians?
Alexis Jordan: I think Atlanta is a spot where everything is quite calm and collected. Then you’ve got this creative side. It’s a great place.
TWU: I hear you have a little crush on Twilight heartthrob, Taylor Lautner. I take it you’re team Jacob then?
Alexis Jordan: Oh gosh *blushes*. Yeah he’s cute; I’m team Jacob all the way!
TWU: You’re signed to Jay-Z’s label, so how did that all come about?
Alexis Jordan: I’m signed to StarRoc/Roc Nation. The StarRoc side, they found me on YouTube and bought me to Jay-Z and he signed me, so that was awesome.
TWU: Was it intimidating meeting Jay-Z?
Alexis Jordan: It was just a big surprise. I mean, of course I was nervous, but I was excited as well.
TWU: It was announced recently that Jay-Z has signed Will Smith’s 9-year-old daughter, Willow Smith. How do you feel about the latest addition to the Roc family?
Alexis Jordan: It’s wonderful! She’s another Roc girl. Me, Bridgette Kelly, Rita Ora and now Willow Smith. We all have to get together.
TWU: Tell us a bit about your debut album and what type of music can we expect to hear…
Alexis Jordan: You can expect to hear all different types of music; I don’t want to be kept in a box. I’m that pop artist, but I can switch it up and turn to R&B/soul and do lots of ballads and the hip-hop swag. It’s very versatile.
TWU: Are there any collaboration on there?
Alexis Jordan: I can’t say…
TWU: Is it complete?
Alexis Jordan: I’m still working on it, I’ve almost finished. It’s going to be an amazing album. I’m very excited about it.
TWU: Which artists inspire you?
Alexis Jordan: Michael Jackson is a big inspiration for me. I like Billie Holiday’s sound and Beyoncé too.
TWU: You’re an actress as well. Are we going to see you taking up some acting roles anytime soon?
Alexis Jordan: I would love to do that in the future, but music is my main love and my main focus right now. But it’s definitely something I’d love to do in the future.
TWU: And what does the rest of 2010 hold for Alexis Jordan?
Alexis Jordan: You can expect more single’s to come. Right now ‘Happiness’ is the main priority. Everyone’s going to get really hyped off the Roc Nation.
Alexis Jordan: ‘Happiness’ – is out October 17.