Singer-songwriter Alexa Ray Joel, the daughter of Rock & Roll Corridor of Famer Billy Joel and supermodel Christie Brinkley, simply launched a brand new single, “Seven Years,” impressed by her love story together with her fiancé, Ryan Gleason. It’s her first authentic single since 2011’s “Beg You to Keep,” and there was a time when she felt she wanted to step away from the highlight after being viciously trolled by gossip reporters (like Perez Hilton at his meanness peak).
“I do know I’ll be in comparison with my mom’s magnificence and my father’s expertise, and it takes a variety of inside work — or a minimum of it did for me — to get to a spot the place I might even really feel comfy getting again within the saddle with music and placing myself on the market,” she tells Yahoo Leisure/SiriusXM Volume. “I assume you might say bloomed very late in life. I am 35 now, however I am sort of within the place that a variety of 25-year-olds could be within the business. It simply took me a while to seek out my very own voice and determine what I needed to say, and likewise to stand up the braveness. While you put your self on the market as an artist, lots of people don’t love to speak about this, nevertheless it’s scary. … However in the end, I simply cherished the tune a lot. As an artist, it’s a must to go on intuition. And I simply felt prepared and needed to place it out.”
Beneath, Joel talks candidly about coping with brutal criticism and hypothesis concerning her look, unfair magnificence requirements, the parable of nepotism, struggling to develop up within the public eye, and the way she lastly discovered the braveness to make use of her voice.
Yahoo Leisure: I didn’t understand it had been a decade because you final put out new music. Why the lengthy break?
Alexa Ray Joel: There’s some hesitation, I assume as a result of I’m very perfectionistic as an artist, being my father’s daughter, having a legend like my father. My father units the bar so excessive along with his music — the whole lot, the craftsmanship of the tune, is so good. He understands how one can assemble a verse right into a pre-course right into a refrain, right into a bridge, and it paints such a memorable story. I simply had some hesitation as a result of I do evaluate my materials to my father’s, if I am being sincere. I do set the bar very excessive for myself, rising up and listening to that be the instance.
Did you ever take into consideration simply pursuing one other profession? I’ve interviewed different second-generation musicians, like Louise Goffin, Sophie Simmons, Dhani Harrison, and Aimee Osbourne, they usually all mentioned at one level their mother and father sat them down and advised perhaps they simply develop into a health care provider or one thing.
It sort of was inevitable for me to take this path, whatever the hardships, being below the shadow, probably being labeled with nepotism and all of these issues that include that that are not at all times so nice. … I believe whenever you love music that a lot, it is not even one thing that you simply select. You simply know that it’s a must to do it. Some individuals would say perhaps it is even somewhat masochistic, as a result of particularly after I was youthful, I used to be put by the mill of the media and all of that. However when it calls to you, it calls to you, and also you simply have to only comply with your personal voice, do what you’re keen on, and hope that others love what you do. My father has undoubtedly at all times been protecting. He would not need individuals to have this notion that I am using on of his coattails, which I am actually not. I wrote the tune. I produced it. I organized it. I got here up with the inventive course behind the music video and lyric video. Every little thing actually is coming from me. And I like it. There’s nothing extra fulfilling than being within the arts and being inventive. Typically it’s a little bit irritating, as a result of I really feel that I’ve to repeat myself when it comes to how concerned I’m with my very own work.
You discuss being put by the mill with the tabloids at a younger age. Are you able to discuss how that affected you?
I used to be a young person when that each one began occurring. In fact there have been some footage printed of me being out and about with my mother and father. I simply felt that it wasn’t honest. I wasn’t able to be checked out or seen in that approach. I used to be nonetheless sort of rising into myself and was undoubtedly going by a little bit of an ungainly part, as the remainder of us undergo. It’s unlucky, I believe, that in society there’s this expectation for ladies to only at all times be excellent at each part in life. And I simply wasn’t there but, and I used to be made to really feel ashamed. I used to be critiqued for my look. This was after I was youthful; I undoubtedly have come a good distance [with dealing with trolls], however again then it was very arduous. I used to be focused by the media and Perez Hilton… and I finished doing exhibits truly for a 12 months. I simply hid in my then-boyfriend’s home and I utterly shut down. I used to be like, “I am by no means doing music once more.” It wasn’t till perhaps six or seven years later that I began performing once more, doing cabaret showcases on the Café Carlyle in New York Metropolis. So it was a course of, for positive.
What occurred with Perez Hilton?
I do not actually wish to name him out personally, as a result of I really feel it simply brings him extra consideration. That was simply me having a candid second! [laughs] I have a tendency to only say what’s on my thoughts! I do assume [tabloid/blog media] has gotten higher. However there’s nonetheless the darkish corners of the web world. The Each day Mail has a few of the most objectifying, unlucky articles and commentary on ladies that I’ve seen. However you are at all times going to have that. I imply, I hate to say that and it breaks my coronary heart, however there are simply bitter pissed off, jealous, and sad people who find themselves going to take their points out on celebrities or individuals which might be within the public eye.
And now we’ve got social media, which could be even crueler.
Nicely, I’ll say the upside to social media and working my very own account is I could be in charge of your personal voice. It is not being skewed by the tabloid media, which is certainly one thing I struggled with previously. … However I do attempt to be a voice for ladies and communicate out towards bullying and simply this kind of on-line cruelty that I see, this objectification of ladies. It’s very disturbing to me and I am at all times talking out on it. Now I really feel I actually cannot complain. I’ve the kindest individuals on the planet on my pages on social media. However I’ve labored arduous to develop the boldness and discover my very own voice and be capable to articulate what I wish to say. I had a very arduous time with that earlier in my life. I used to be deeply insecure. And I believe whenever you’re unsure about your self, it makes you a goal for others, like, “Oh, she’s simple to select on! Let’s go after her!” It’s a must to actually be very robust, and as narcissistic as this may sound, it’s a must to actually construct your self up and hype your self up as an artist to even simply to place your self on the market, simply to stand up on the stage in entrance of individuals. … I believe with the media and with social media and all of that, it is a research in extremes. I believe that there is a variety of excessive anger on the market, and cruelty, and there is additionally a variety of excessive kindness and assist and earnest appreciation for artistry and recent voices. What I can solely hope is that extra of that positivity wins out. Who was it that mentioned the quote, was it Taylor Swift? She mentioned one thing like, ladies which might be making strikes and doing issues and being empowered in their very own voices, they need to thrill you. They should not set off you. They should not make you’re feeling like it’s a must to lash out at them.
However individuals usually are nicer to you now?
Once I was youthful, it was, “Oh, she’s awkward. She’s not enticing sufficient.” And now, sure, persons are very variety to me with regard to my look. However why is there a lot deal with look? For girls, that is a query that we actually want to have a look at extra carefully as a society. Particularly now as a result of we’ve got the platforms of social media and we’re all footage and pictures, it is so image-based. I’ve completely been on each side of the coin, each extremes with regard to how individuals understand me within the public eye. However on the finish of the day, you simply should do your personal factor and be robust and be proud in who you might be. And my mother units a very nice instance for that and he or she could not be extra supportive.
Folks have picked aside your seems when evaluating you to your mother.
Lots of people would simply quite consider an exaggerated narrative. You realize, I’ve had one [surgery] carried out. I’ve at all times been clear about it. I believe that ladies ought to be happy with themselves and stay their fact. In the event that they have not had one thing carried out, nice; in the event that they’ve had one thing carried out, nice! I occur to have had one rhinoplasty surgical procedure that was carried out over a decade in the past — and persons are nonetheless speaking about it! They’re nonetheless saying I had a full physique and face transformation. And at this level I am identical to, “OK, I’ll take it as a backhanded praise”! [laughs] … I do get very pissed off when individuals lie and unfold these rumors, however at a sure level you have to let it go, as a result of if individuals choose this exaggerated, sensationalized story, then they’re gonna say it and there is actually nothing that I can do about that. I believe it is damned in case you do or damned in case you do not, so chances are you’ll as nicely do what makes you content. And I believe that there is a variety of good women and men on the market that get that and assist ladies and their decisions to do no matter they wish to do.
You realize, I’m within the leisure business. I believe as a girl within the leisure business, we would like to be ok with ourselves. Personally, I do not love the pattern of when ladies get a lot redone that they cannot transfer their face. I do not discover that to be stunning. However I do assume that no matter makes you really feel good, do it! For me, I had my nostril carried out as a result of it made me really feel good and I needed to be the very best model of me. And I felt good, and it was the very best choice for me. However it wasn’t, “Oh, I am getting this carried out as a result of I wish to look precisely like this different lady who I discover to be so stunning.” We must be extra encouraging of ladies in their very own particular person magnificence and never have this kind of cloning, the inventory thought of “This is what it is best to appear like, let’s maintain this up on a silver platter and you may imitate this.” No! Imitate your self, you already know?
I believe there’s a double-edged sword it doesn’t matter what, and there is nonetheless some shaming of ladies going down — both they don’t seem to be enticing sufficient, or their magnificence has been altered or is affected. I do assume that that’s nonetheless a factor. However I do not wish to undercut what number of nice, supportive persons are on the market. I do see this kind of wave of kindness coming into with those who simply admire ladies for who they’re and wish to give to the world and simply there for the artwork, for the music. Personally, I have been on the receiving finish of this overflow of assist and encouragement, and it retains me going. They are saying you are not presupposed to care about reactions, however a giant a part of sharing your artwork and sharing your work is hoping that it resonates with others and making an attempt to attach within the human expertise, you already know?
Inform me extra about the way you regained your inventive footing on the Café Carlyle.
My mother and father are the greatest theater nerds. They love Broadway. I used to be raised on that. … My mother did Chicago on Broadway — lots of people do not know that — so she’s very inventive and really theatrical and truly fairly musical as nicely. I grew up with musical theater from so long as I can keep in mind; they have been dressing me up as Liesl from The Sound of Musica nd we did a variety of little performs. … So, it simply appeared pure for me to sort of come full-circle and return to doing cabaret on the Carlyle. I like the whole lot classic and old-world, and that’s the Cafe Carlyle. It is this iconic, old-world establishment with all these stunning classic murals, and I assumed it was inspiring. I used to be fortunate sufficient to have the ability to do a showcase there, and it did nicely. I believe I’ve performed there now eight showcases or 9 showcases now, and it truly is my musical residence away from residence. I’ve to thank the Café Carlyle, as a result of they sort of picked me again up on my toes and jogged my memory that I’m an artist at my core and that I should not run away from that.
So now that you simply’re again, will we be getting extra new music from you quickly? Hopefully we received’t have to attend one other 10 years!
I do not wish to give an excessive amount of away, however sure, I have already got the tune; I simply should get into the studio. It is the polar reverse of “Seven Years.” It’s totally attractive and gritty, just like the unhealthy woman to my good woman! [laughs] … It is actually simply all about being sincere as I become old, and with my artistry. Once I was youthful, even doing interviews like this, I used to really feel like, “Oh gosh, there’s sure issues I can’t say, as a result of it doesn’t matter what they are going to decide me aside.” And now, all I can do is be myself. I believe a variety of ladies lastly attain some extent the place they’re simply sort of over no matter been thrown at them they usually’ve labored by it, they usually acknowledge the significance of simply being sincere and being themselves. I’ve tried to do the identical in my work. And that is what it is actually all about.
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This above interview has been edited for size and readability and is taken from Alexa Ray look on the SiriusXM present “Volume West.” Full audio of that dialog is offered on demand through the SiriusXM app.