With a multicultural background and powerful vocals influenced by the likes of Leanne Rimes, Miranda Lambert and Rihanna, Albertan country artist and songwriter Alex Hughes brings a fresh and memorable sound to country music.
Alex made her debut in the music scene at a very young age. When she was 4–5 years old she performed at family barbecues and at 7 years old, she learnt to sing songs with a karaoke machine she received as a gift from a company her father developed a website for. She then went on to enter a singing contest and won various prizes.
By 9 years old, she was performing gigs at the infamous Calgary Stampede. In junior high, she experimented with R & B and pop before she picked up the guitar later in high school and decided to stick with country. As she explained, “I found where I fit in. It took a little while to find my appreciation for it, but country is where my heart is.” (Hughes). As she continued, “When I won the Country Vocal Spotlight in Edmonton, I was awarded a trip to visit the Grand ole Opry. I fell in love with the genre there.” (Hughes). In the years since, she has released several singles, including “Strong as You” and her debut, self-titled, 5-track EP. To date, she has earned over 45K Spotify streams. This past year, she was featured on Spotify’s “New Music Nashville” editorial playlist. Additionally, she was a contender for the 2020 Country Music Alberta’s Fan’s Choice Award and was nominated for the 2020 Horizon’s Artist- Female Artists of the Year Award.
In early 2020, she released her song “Gentleman”, which was co-written with long-term collaborators and friends Aaron Pollock and Spencer Cheyne. “While we were coming up with fun song ideas, we started reminiscing about my experience with guys at the bar. A lot of them were total douchebags. Then the guys were saying how they can’t go up to women at a bar these days because those guys ruin it for the good guys. We knew we had a song there, and ran with it.” (Hughes). Melodically, the song is reminiscent of that 90s country sound and opens with a gritty guitar lick. This is followed by a quick move from the first verse to the catchy chorus hook, “You ain’t a Gentleman”- which will easily get stuck in your head.
Following Gentleman, Alex released her single “Drive”. As she shared, “I wrote Drive when I was living in Los Angeles with my friend Shannon McArthur. I always liked this song and even filmed an acoustic performance video for it on YouTube. But life happened and never ended up doing anything with it. It wasn’t until I reconnected with Shannon on IG years later that we decided to move forward with it. We both recorded our parts remotely for the song via Zoom, and brought our respective experience to the table.” (Hughes). The song itself speaks to someone who saying goodbye to their first car and is afraid of losing their best friend, after catching feelings for them. with relatable lyrics and slower instrumentals, It’s easily a song you can play on repeat and never tire of.
Despite the success of her two last singles, 2020 was also a challenging time for many working in the music industry. As Alex mentioned, “Without live gigs, every bit help.” Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Alex still found a silver lining-having time to work on learning her voice. As she explained, “Right when everything shut down around March last year, I rented a microphone from Long and Mcquade and downloaded Logic Pro. I really got to know my voice over the past year, by being able to record my own voice. Just like any other artist, no one knows my voice better than I do. I know when I record in the morning, my voice is more raw and raspy, and knowledge like this helps me get exactly what I want out of my vocal takes.” (Hughes).
Moving forward in 2021, Alex plans to conceptualize her next album and hopefully release it by the end of the year. While fans wait, she will be releasing a couple of singles in the months to come.
Listen to “Drive” Now:
To learn more about Alex Hughes, be sure to check out her music and socials:
Hughes, Alex. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, Jan. 12 2021.
Not Your Designer. “Featured: Albertan country artist Alex Hughes”. Photo courtesy of Alex Hughes. Accessed Jan. 12 2021.
Not Your Designer. “Official single art for Alex Hughes’ single, Gentleman”. Photo courtesy of Alex Hughes. Accessed Jan. 12 2021.
Unknown. “Official single art for Alex Hughes’ single, Drive”. Photo courtesy of Alex Hughes. Accessed Jan. 12 2021.
Originally published at https://www.kylapearson.ca on April 7, 2021.