Interview with Alex & Sierra
Think quick! What was the most exciting thing you and your boyfriend or girlfriend did together last year? How about the year before? Did you say “Get mentored by Simon Cowell and win The X-Factor”, “Write music industry giants like John Legend and Jazon Mraz”, “Produce a debut album that lands in the Top-10 on the Billboard Charts”, or “Go on a U.S. concert tour with one of your former idols”? If not, it’s a pretty good indication that you aren’t Alex Kinsey &
Sierra Deaton (a.k.a. Alex & Sierra). Don’t beat yourself up though, if that kind of thing happened to everyone, it’d just be the norm and not a fairytale come true.
Come to think of it, you and your significant other probably didn’t do an interview with Independent Philly either. We think we’d remember that sort of thing. Alex & Sierra might have accomplished more since 2013 than most people do in a lifetime but they haven’t let it go to their heads. They are just a couple in their mid-twenties, still in awe of what has transpired over the past two years and loving every minute of the ride.
Independent Philly: Describe the feeling you experienced when your names were first announced as the winners of ‘The X-Factor’.
Sierra: It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe. At that point we were on like, no sleep, and it definitely just felt surreal. I know that, speaking for me, I thought they were announcing us as the runners-up, so I didn’t really think that we won. If you watch the video too you can see my mouth saying “What? We won?”.
Alex: Yeah it was definitely a crazy feeling.
IP: What do you two think you’d be doing with yourselves right now if you’d never auditioned for the X-Factor?
Alex: I probably would have found a way to extend school an extra few years so that I didn’t have to grow up and get a real job. I probably would have been studying something and playing bar gigs still, trying to make it.
Sierra: I think my plan for after college was if I didn’t find a job, I was going to dance on a cruise ship, and go on to perform as a dancer, not a singer. Maybe I’d be doing that right now, out in the middle of the ocean.
IP: You guys are currently out on the road for your ‘The Good Guys & A Girl’ tour with Andy Grammar. How is the tour going so far?
Alex: It’s awesome. We’re having so much fun. The shows are great. I mean, we get to play music every night and that’s always amazing. The best part about it, I think, is not only meeting new people in every city, but the crew that we’re with. Andy and his band are some of the nicest guys I’ve ever met in my life, that we’ve ever been around. The same goes for Paradise Fears and their guys and Rachel Platten and her guys. That really makes it for us because it’s definitely a grind, and tiring, and it’s a lot of work. But, if you’re around people that you really, really enjoy being around, it makes it all way, way better.
Sierra: It’s also really cool, especially for us, because we’ve been going to Andy’s concerts for a few years now. We went from waiting in line to be front row at his concerts, to now we’re sharing a tour bus with him, and being on tour with him. So it’s a super surreal thing and also we’re really grateful that someone we’ve looked up to is exactly what we wanted him to be, which is just a really nice guy.
IP: You’ll be heading into Philly for a show at the TLA on Saturday, March 21st. What can your fans here expect from a live Alex & Sierra show if they’ve only ever heard your recorded music or seen you on TV?
Alex: This show is a little bit different for us because it’s an all acoustic set-up for us every night. Sierra and I, and then our keyboard player, Nick, it’s just the three of us every night up on stage. I don’t know, there’s a lot of aimless banter that we have no idea what we’re saying ever, each night, at any point in the show, but I just hope that people can have fun with us. We just want to have fun. The way we look at it is the way we used to kind of look at it back when we played bar gigs and restaurant gigs: we’re just there to have fun and to entertain people and if what we’re doing works, great. Hopefully it does.
IP: Your debut album, ‘It’s About Us’, has been out for about five months now. Are you happy with the reaction that it’s received from fans? What was it like working with so many different, talented artists while producing it?
Alex: We’re absolutely just stoked with the response that we got. I mean, the fact that we were able to release an album and anyone bought it, is amazing, let alone that it made it to #8 on Billboard. That’s a crazy, crazy thought that we have a Top-10 album. Working with the people that we worked with, we got to write with Jason Mraz and John Legend, and we got to write with some amazing producers who have written some of the best songs you’ve heard over the last 5-10 years, it’s just really surreal. We were talking to one of the guys from Paradise Fears who was like, “The fact that you wrote with those people in your first writing session is crazy because we’ve been working for years to write with those people”, and I think that sometimes we have to get other points of view to really hear how fortunate we’ve been.
IP: Being that you aren’t just a musical act, but also a real life couple, how has your relationship changed at all since winning The X-Factor and having a Top-1o album?
Sierra: Honestly, it hasn’t really changed. We started as best friends and went through a really crazy experience. When you consider our jobs, which is, you know, not sitting in an office or anything like that; we’re doing something amazingly fun, traveling the world and playing music together. So we don’t really consider working together as a strain on our relationship or whatever. It’s kind of like taking a bunch of mini vacations together with your best friend.
IP: Sierra, we know you’re originally from Philadelphia. How old were you when you moved away?
Sierra: I think I was like 1 or 2 because my dad was in the military, in the Navy. He was stationed in Philly for a while and we moved around a lot. I’ve visited a lot and they always take me to see the apartment that they lived in when I was born, which is pretty cool. Philadelphia will always have a special place in my heart.
IP: Do you have a favorite memory from one of your trips back here?
Sierra: I think when I was 10 I went back and that was that first memory of seeing that house where I was born. I don’t know, it was just really, really cool going back and seeing old videos of myself when I was a baby with my sister and my parents. That’s my favorite because it’s the first time I can remember that apartment.
IP: If we were to pit you two in battle in a few contests, who would win the following? The first one is a cook-off…
Alex: That would be close.
Sierra: We both really love to cook.
Alex: It depends on what we’re cooking. I don’t know, we both actually really like to cook. I think we’re about even on that one, it’d be a draw.
Sierra: If we were cooking meat, I’d win.
Alex: I’m pretty good at cooking meat, even though I don’t eat it.
IP: The second contest is a dance-off…
Sierra: Oh, me.
Alex: Definitely, not even close, you’ve got it.
IP: The final contest is a triathlon or similar sporting competition…
Alex: I don’t know, that one would be pretty close too. It depends on what it is. If we’re playing tennis, I’m gonna win.
Sierra: A triathlon is running, swimming, biking, right?
Alex: Yeah. I’d probably be better at the swimming.
Sierra: Yeah, and I’d be better on the running, and probably even on the bike.
Alex: I don’t know. We’re pretty evenly matched.
IP: What’s the most embarrassing thing we could find on your tour bus at the moment?
Sierra: I sleep with a bottle of garlic powder. I really love garlic powder and there’s not a lot of storage on the bus so I have to sleep with some of the things that I really like.
Alex: You make it sound like you keep it like a stuffed animal, like you hug it at night. It’s just in her bunk. I don’t know, I don’t really have anything that embarrassing, do I?
Sierra: There’s twelve of us on the bus, plus our driver, so when you consider the amount of things everyone has, you kind of have to pack light. I feel like there’s not even space for embarrassing things. We have some funky t-shirts that we bought from Wal-Mart.
Alex: I’m pretty proud of those shirts actually. I’m not sure, I’m sorry that we don’t have a better answer.
IP: While on The X-Factor you guys did a lot of amazing covers of everyone from Britney Spears, to Marvin Gaye, to Destiny’s Child. Who would you most like to see cover an Alex & Sierra song?
Alex: Man, honestly? Anyone. If anyone thought it would be cool to cover one of our songs then that’d be the coolest thing ever. It’d be really neat to see Jason Mraz or Ed Sheeran play one of our songs.
Sierra: Yeah, honestly if anyone wanted to cover us that’d be cool.
IP: If a zombie apocalypse started tomorrow, how long do you think the two of you would survive? Who do you think would get eaten first?
Alex: We would be the people in the movie that live all the way through the apocalypse.
Sierra: You sure?
Alex: Damn sure. I think about it all the time. I already know my plan. I’ll even tell it to you. I’ll tell you the sure fire way of how not to be eaten in a zombie apocalypse. Alright so, in Florida, a lot of people will abandon their sailboats because they can’t afford to dock them because of the expenses, so a lot of time you just have sailboats that are floating in the middle of the river. So what I would do is, me and all my friends would go, and we’d take these sailboats, and get a couple of fishing poles and some tying stuff, and we’d just go off into the middle of the ocean and tie them all together and hang out. We’d be good to go. Game over, the end.
IP: It sounds like you’ve put more thought into it than I have.
Alex: You could even desalinate the water if you had all the right equipment. There’s all kinds of way to survive the zombie apocalypse.
IP: Finally, please tell us something about yourselves that would surprise or even shock our readers.
Alex: One of the funny byproducts of being on a reality show is, they kind of leave no stone unturned. So, we feel like any fact that might be unknown, doesn’t exist anymore. We’ve sort of just told everybody, everything now. We have no privacy…just kidding. We’re kind of open books though, honestly.
Sierra: I’m trying to think of anything shocking. Oh! You can list the Presidents.
Alex: Oh yeah, I can totally list the Presidents in order, really quickly. I also know how many years that the first 23 were in office.
IP: That’s impressive.
Alex: Well, thank you. Sierra can list the alphabet backwards, perfectly, really quickly. I guess that’s good.
IP: That’s good if you ever get pulled over for an alleged DUI incident. Then you’d have to recite it [the alphabet] quickly, backwards. Hopefully that never happens.
Alex: Right, because we don’t do that, at all. That’s what Uber’s for.
If you already scored tickets to catch Alex & Sierra, along with Andy Grammar, Paradise Fears, Rachel Platten when they play the TLA tomorrow night (Saturday, March 21st at 8PM), then consider yourself lucky. The show is completely sold-out. We wouldn’t be surprised if there were some freezing cold kids standing out on South Street right now in the snow, waiting to score those coveted front row spots in the general admission, standing room only venue.
[Interview by David Miller]