By Jillian Scheinfeld
Pics Sam C. Long
Pop darling, Alexx Mack (not to be confused with Nickelodeon’s The Secret World of Alex Mack), released her first EP “Like We’re Famous” with catchy, electro-pop tracks such as “Sunglasses” and “Bad,” all rooted in her experiences of early 20s rebellion. Drawing comparisons to Katy Perry and Charli XCX, Mack’s pop-vixen persona is most definitely in the making. She’s currently working on her second EP due out this summer, and we caught up with the 22-year-old singer at SXSW to chat about wearing sunglasses at night, growing pains and her ideal day.
You live in LA?
Yeah, I live in West Hollywood, but I’m originally from Florida. I grew up in a town where being different wasn’t cool, so I constantly tried to mold myself into what everyone else considered normal—and then when I moved to LA, where you can be whoever you want to be.
Did you feel like an outcast growing up?
Oh, totally. You were a sports player, a cheerleader, a surfer, but you didn’t do music. In high school, I fell into a group of kids who did do music and I found my people.
Word. Today is one of those hazy days where you want to wear sunglasses to cover under-eye circles and weariness, but it’s not sunny. Do you think it’s acceptable to wear sunglasses at any time?
Absolutely! I have mine right here. I do have a song called “Sunglasses,” so I find it very appropriate at most times. I’m really into fashion and doing whatever the fuck I want, so I’m going to wear sunglasses at night sometimes.
A lot of your songs are about partying and going out. Is that true to life for you?
I’ve gone through a bunch of different phases. There were times writing my EP where I was doing that. I had a big break up while writing, so I found myself wanting to go out more. The music I’m writing now is changing because of the experiences I’ve been going through. I’m at the point in my life that I would like to get the love back in my life that I have given. I’m similar to a lot of the girls out there who meet someone who isn’t they’re in the right place for a relationship, but they sort of want to be, so you give them your all and then you’re left unsatisfied.
Are you working on an album right now?
I’m working on another EP out by summer. I’m actually playing a bunch of new songs during my sets while I’m here. I’m really excited to show people that there’s more to what I have to say than partying.
What do you think of SXSW in general?
It’s really cool. I have some friends playing as well, so it’s really fun to have that Los Angeles community here. I’ve met some fans, too, which is awesome because I talk to them a lot on Twitter and Periscope. I haven’t done Coachella, I really haven’t done a lot of music festivals, but SXSW gives you more opportunity to interact with your fans, which is really special.
Who are some of your pop influences?
I listen to everything! I grew up in a musical household. My mom is a singer, my dad plays guitar, and I was introduced to Cher, The Beatles, and Donna Summer at a young age. And then of course, I was a 90s kid, so a lot of NSYNC, Britney, and The Spice Girls. That cemented pop. And then The All American Rejects really inspired me to write my own music.
You probably get a lot of comparisons to Katy Perry. You guys look so much the same and have a similar sound. What’s your take on that?
She’s beautiful, so it’s a compliment to me. I get really pissed off when artists get mad about comparisons. It’s human nature to familiarize things. If people say, “she looks like Katy Perry and she sounds like Katy Perry,” if you hear me live, we have completely different tones. But there are much worse people to be compared to than one of the most awesome artists ever.
How did your name originate? Did you know there was a Nickelodeon show called The Secret World of Alexx Mack?
Not until after I had the name. I’m generally a huge flirt, and when I see something I want I’m going to go and get it. So when I’m out with my girlfriends and I would go up to a dude that caught my eye, all my friends would say “she’s macking on that dude,” and then after a while my friends just started calling me Alexx Mack.
What’s an ideal day like for you?
It depends on the mood I wake up in. I love to start my days working out at the gym, and then my family lives in LA and we’re really close, so Ill stop by to say hi. Then I’ll have a session with some of the incredible people I’ve been writing with, and just being with my people, writing and creating is ideal. To end my day I like to hang out with my girlfriends and gay husbands and watch a movie, or go out and get fucked up. I’m a Gemini—I’m either really responsible or the total life of the party.
Jillian Scheinfeld is a journalist living in Brooklyn/Catskills. Be social: @jillianschein