- Words Brittany Newman
- Interview Solly Warner
Rising singer-songwriter, Alex Frew, dives into the themes on his upcoming EP and how being kind to himself has kept him going in tough times.
Some may be young at heart, but Alex Frew really is just undeniably young. Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Frew struck his luck early landing a development deal with Warner Music at age 15.
Now at the ripe age of 19, Frew’s ready to break out into stardom with his gift of transforming unflinching self-examination into radio-ready pop gold with his debut EP. Starting out as a multitude of around 60 songs, it was eventually whittled down to six cohesive moody yet magnetic numbers that align with the collection’s title.
Beginning at home on his acoustic guitar, the songs transformed into an EP with growth and change, desire and dread, discovery and confusion, and the highs and lows of adulthood’s journey with notable empathy. Documenting personal moments mixed into the raw intimacy of his vocals lapped over transportive soundscapes births the sound of Alex Frew’s music.
In conversation with Notion, Alex Frew opens up about how his personal experiences influenced his new EP, ‘Something To Hold On To’, the importance of a creative escape, and much more.
Your upcoming EP grapples with change, discovery and confusion. Do you think expressing these emotions through music allows you to grow even further?
I think that I actively changed quite a bit as a person through the creation of this project, as it’s taken a few years to come together in its entirety. I’m honestly not sure the type of person I would be today without an outlet in music.
You explore some very personal issues such as depression and anxiety on the EP. What kept you going during these particularly hard times?
Being kind to myself. These are the exceptional times we’re living in, and I think it’s important to keep that in mind during our daily lives and act accordingly. That mindset has really helped me out recently.
What do you think has caused the shift in music where there are more young artists in their teens that are able to share and convey these types of emotions?
I think that we’re much more involved in each other’s lives with the advent of the internet, and the byproduct of social media. I believe this interconnectivity that we experience has opened up new avenues of expression, and thankfully, this constant connection has allowed people to be honest with themselves in new ways and create music that speaks to the intricacies of the individual on a deeper level.
How have these times changed your music, your approach to the creative process or as an artist as a whole?
I wouldn’t say that this period has changed my approach to creating art, so much as it has made me realize the value in the artistic process. Without the escape of creativity, I would be in a much different place right now. So, I would say it has simply changed my outlook on the value of my work, and how grateful I am to have the opportunity and ability to make music.
Can you talk to us a bit about your relationship with Joel Stouffer? How did that come about and why do you think you work so well together?
Joel and I have been working together for several years now, and I credit our musical productivity to his absolute passion and rock steady work ethic. He is very much the type of person that adapts to different projects to land on the right sound, instead of forcing his own “style” of production, which has been invaluable in the early days of my career when exploring sounds. We met through Warner when I was about 15, and the rest is history.
Are there any particular artists from Toronto or anywhere else that you would like to collaborate with in the future?
In terms of Toronto, I’ve been blown away by this artist name MorMor recently, so hopefully I’ll be able to meet him one day!
Are live shows something you’re excited to explore more in the future?
Like everyone else, I can’t wait until live shows are possible again. We’d been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to get that ball rolling, so hopefully things will open up a little more in the near future.
What would the perfect Alex Frew concert look like?
Honestly, at this point, any live show sounds like the perfect live show to me.
We understand that talking about “what inspired you?” can be challenging as it can come from anywhere and changes constantly. But were there any areas of influence you felt yourself continuously reaching towards when making this EP?
Throughout the creation of this project, I listened to a lot of alternative pop which greatly influenced the direction of the EP. Artists like the Killers and The 1975 were massive sonic influences on the sound of this EP, and hopefully, that shines through at different points.
Is there a track on the EP that you think will resonate the most with listeners and why?
I think “Get Out Alive” is the most relevant song in that regard! I think we’re all just collectively trying to get through this wild time.