By Nicholas Jason Lopez
These lips don’t sink ships.
After he won a local talent show, Alex Slay was offered the chance to tour around the world from Venice and Barbados to Barcelona, as he perfumed for hundreds each night aboard cruise ships.
Once he settled down, he decided to reside in the country-centric Nashville, Tenn. as a place to hone his craft, a journey that has allowed him to develop a sound that can only be described as a jazzy fusion of neo-soul and R&B/pop. He has become a regular at venues like Flamingos and Analog at the Hutton Hotel, as well as gotten to work with producers like Will Bowers (Snoop Dogg) and Danny Polo (Landon Sears).
Released at the start of this month, the indie artist’s current single “Deep End” exemplifies what he does best – bring the rhythm almost like a modern-day Stevie Wonder. Slay expressed that he wrote the track as he reached the mindset to be ready to fall in love again, unguarded by emotional caution. Sonically, his goal was to have a “classic, timeless” vibe and thus, also signals a fresh start.
The Music Bugle had the chance to speak with Slay about “Deep End” and more.
Music Bugle – What is the biggest challenge in being a cruise ship singer that people might not know?
Alex Slay – You have to remain vocally healthy every day. Usually, you do about two shows a night, sometimes two hours each. Usually, you are on a ship for about six months doing the same show every single night. The biggest challenge for me was to probably keep the show feeling fresh and finding ways to make it feel new for me.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Alex Slay – Probably when people can’t pick the decade it’s from. I love when I can capture those timeless sounds and feels in my music because that is what resonates with me.
Music Bugle – What was your overall goal for your new single “Deep End”?
Alex Slay – The goal for “Deep End” was the beginning of my rebrand, going for that classic sound I’ve always wanted to do.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Alex Slay – Lately, Lucky Daye has been a huge influence on me. Him, as well as his producer D-Mile have found the perfect fusion of timeless groove and instrumentation, as well as modern R&B inflections. I’ve also been listening to Silk Sonic on repeat. A few other artists for me have been Sam Wills, Mac Ayres and Kevin Ross.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Nashville, Tennessee to someone who has never been there before?
Alex Slay – It really is a small town feel in a big city, especially if you are in the music industry. Everyone here knows everyone to some capacity.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Alex Slay – Yes, the pandemic affected me a lot. I moved to Nashville just about two weeks before COVID hit. I had so many shows booked and was super hopeful. Once it hit though, eventually all the shows were canceled. However, it was a good time for me to slow down and start writing new music again. That’s actually how “Deep End” came to be!
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Alex Slay – It’s a little boring, but I either go to my room or my balcony have some coffee/ tea and just decompress. Those are the places I feel the most relaxed.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Alex Slay – The quote I live by is “Always remain a student,” meaning I never want to think of myself as the best, or that I know everything about my profession. The second you think you know everything is the second where you will no longer learn anything new. Once you close yourself off like that, you cut off a lot of growth. There’s always something new you can learn and I want to be open to that.
Music Bugle – What was the moment that made you want to become a musician?
Alex Slay – I did a talent show my freshman year of high school. I had never sang in front of anyone and I somehow won. After that, I knew this is all ever wanted to do.
Music Bugle – Are you working on any more new music?
Alex Slay – I have a few more singles coming out these next few months. I have a few features with some other local Nashville artists! I also have been working on quite a few of my own singles. Who knows – maybe an EP in the near future!