Alexa Ilacad talked about her upcoming single, Stay Right Here, her music, inspirations, and much more.
For most people, Alexa Ilacad may be known mainly as an actress, after all, most of her famous projects have been her acting roles. You may have seen her on Goin’ Bulilit or on primetime series such as The Good Son and The Killer Bride or her most recent hit movie, Four Sisters Before the Wedding. But Alexa Ilacad is more than just an actress, she is also a talented musician. In fact, she released her first album in 2016 and a single called Love At First Sight in November 2020. Now, Alexa is getting ready to release more music, something she describes as her “first love,” with the release of her next single, Stay Right Here, on April 30, Friday. She sat down for a Zoom interview to talk about her music, inspirations, and many more.
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Stay Right Here
Alexa Ilacad released her comeback single, Love At First Sight, in November 2020. She chose the song because “I wanted to come back with a bang.” When she first heard the song, she fell in love with the song because it had that “gulat factor” to it. The song has since seen a remix and acoustic version. But Alexa is now ready for her next chapter, starting with the upcoming release of her next single, Stay Right Here.
Sonically, both Stay Right Here and Love At First Sight sound very similar. Both songs are upbeat and have a dance-pop/electronic vibe to them, which is characteristic of 90s club anthems. The lyrical content and message are where the differences show up though, something that Alexa wanted for the song. “I wanted to show my vulnerable side. I want people to get to know me more, see the more mature Alexa with the track,” she explains. The song sees Alexa sing about the need for companionship, a message that she hopes the listener takes away from the song. “Especially during these times, the song is about craving the companionship we miss.” She adds, “I really believe that music brings people together. Music connects people together.”
For her new single, Alexa worked with a new team in the studio which was a new experience for her. She says that the recording took long because she was working with friends who made her laugh and would just talk all day. But she adds that she “felt more sure of myself being inside the studio rather than doing it all on my own.” When you hear Stay Right Here, Alexa Ilacad’s voice may sound different, but that isn’t auto-tune. “With this song, I was also trying to dabble a different kind of voice,” a voice she explains as more sultry or seductive.
Alexa went on to explain that it took her half a day to find that right voice and she had to record the song with all the light turned off and at the corner of the studio to feel more comfortable. To show off this braver side of her, Alexa adds that she took inspiration from her character in Init sa Magdamag since her character, Hannah, is an outgoing and confident young woman.
Musical Inspirations and Solo Music
So far, Alexa Ilacad’s music has been electronic dance pop-oriented and that is because she considers Dua Lipa to be a major influence on her. “Dua Lipa is my peg in life and my music. She really inspires me. I really wanted this kind of feel,” she gushes. She also adds “She’s always in all of my playlists, dominating all of my playlists.” Other musical inspirations of hers include Daya, Tove Lo, Bebe Rexha, Charlie XCX, and “every artist on my playlist.” In terms of collaborations, she says she would love to work with IV Of Spades since she considers them as “genius musicians” and they perform live well, something that is a major turn-on for her when it comes to musicians.
At first glance, Alexa seems like someone with all the confidence in the world, but to her, she still has her insecurities. This will be the first time that she is releasing music she wrote herself which she says is “so hard for me to let them go out to the world, but I’m excited.” Until now, Alexa is unsure whether or not her personal music is good, but she has heard good things from people who have heard it. Her own sound is something that she is also looking to perfect. “My sound is still something I’m trying to figure out,” she says. As a singer, Alexa Ilacad describes herself these days as genre neutral, but is leaning towards pop and when she writes her own songs, those lean more on acoustic.
It’s been over five years since Alexa Ilacad released an album and it was only last year that she released brand new music. But the drive to make music never left her. “Honestly, I don’t think nawala sa aking ‘yung music. I’ve been putting out covers on YouTube. But I’m happy now because music is my passion and I’m happy that I’m able to focus on that now.”
Work/Life Balance and Coping During The Pandemic
Alexa Ilacad is a woman of many hats. Not only is she a singer, but she is also an actress, a songwriter, and a student. For Alexa, the key to balancing it all is “time management and setting priorities.” She explains how if there is a big event for school like midterms or exams, she will pull back on her guest appearances. For the time being, she is focusing on school and promo activities as she really wants to graduate with her classmates.
When it comes to acting and music, Alexa says that both bring a unique happiness to her. She explains that when she does a good job in taping, she sleeps relaxed, but when she has a good music session, she sleeps energized. She also adds that when it comes to her music, she is more hands-on and has more of her input when compared to acting. And as she puts it: “I’m hooked on music. I can’t live a day without listening to music. I really hold on to music every day.”
The pandemic has been hard on a lot of people, more so on young people. Alexa is only 21 years old, so she also knows how the pandemic has been hard on people her age. She says that during the pandemic, she hasn’t always enjoyed the extended stay at home because she “feels useless or drained..” What keeps her going these days is her work as her acting and music help her cope and forget about what’s happening in the world. She also expressed that she would like to try counseling and that there is “no stigma with seeing a psychiatrist, it’s nice to talk to someone.”
Future Music Plans
Finally, when it comes to her plans for the future, Alexa Ilacad let slip that she and her team were thinking about releasing an EP later this year. “I really want to put out something that is mine, something that I wrote, something that is personal to me. Not just something that was just given and written to me.” She also said that she would like to make more songs in Filipino and songs that “hopefully iba-iba ‘yung sound.” Other than this, she is also “continuously writing, collaborating with other producers.” She also would hopefully like to sell out arenas, go on a world tour, and of course, perform with Dua Lipa. The first place Alexa would like to perform once the pandemic is over: Coachella or Wanderland.
Stay Right Here will be available on Spotify and all digital streaming platforms on Friday, April 30, 2021.
Additional interview by ANGELO RAMIREZ DE CARTAGENA
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