The discovery of singer-songwriter Alex Maxwell and her musical talent reads like a the story of a Hollywood starlet. Under the streets of Madrid at Tribunal metro station, after leaving a jazz music class one evening, she came across a busker playing the blues. Excitedly joining in, she sang improvised melodies to his lap steel guitar, a moment that was captured by her friends and shared on social media and which led to her being scouted by Hollywood Records.

This week, GIGsoup have had the chance to catch up with this emerging new talent and chat to her about her second EP ‘Lie To Me’, released on May 19th.

We love the story of how you were first discovered! Do you do that sort of thing all the time – join in, improvise, with other musicians – or is it one of those organic flukes that just happened?

At the time I was a student at a Jazz school in Madrid, so I had an idea of scat singing and improvisation… I love joining in with other musicians, it’s so much fun. However, it definitely takes some guts… I didn’t really think too much about it when it happened. I was partying with some friends and we were on our way to the next bar when we got the tube… The lap guitarist just happened to be there and my friends just happened to challenge me to improvise with him. So I thought “why not?”, jumped in and did it.. and I’m glad I did!

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It sounds like you have a whole mix of influences as the backbone to your music – what are your main inspirations?

I grew up to a lot of 70s and 80s music. I’d say bands like Fleetwood Mac and U2 were big inspirations. I remember listening to the Joshua Tree over and over again as a teenager. I’ve never gotten over those massive electric guitars and Bono’s ground shaking vocals. Although old-school artists are my go-to, I’m always on the hunt for new music to keep me going. This past year’s obsessions would have to include artists like Father John Misty, Cigarettes after Sex, The Lemon Twigs, Grimes ……..

What are you looking forward to most in the music industry – writing your own songs? Live performances?

I’m always writing music and I love it – it’s my day to day. But I’m really looking forward to live performances. It’s the moment when your songs really come to life and if you’re lucky enough to share it with a good crowd…. well, what more could you want?

Has music always been your main passion, or has this developed over time?

Music has always been a big part of my life. I never really thought I was good at it as a child but I still listened to all sorts of music: my mothers flamenco CD’s, my fathers rock CD’s and whatever was going on in the pop scene…. I wasn’t accepted into my primary school choir, I never made it past Grade II Piano and the only time I’d get an applause when singing was when I’d do karaoke impressions of Shakira…. When I moved to Madrid aged 13 I remember my school was holding auditions for “Chicago” the musical. My sister was the singer of the family and wanted to audition, so my mum basically forced me to go with her. I auditioned for the role of Roxy Hart (ambitious, I know) and a week later they gave me the role. After that I really started to take an interest in music: I started writing songs on the piano and a couple of years later I went to Jazz school. At the time I left school, music was definitely in my plans.

You’ve expressed before your huge admiration for artists who go out and do whatever they like, and how you’d like to inspire others. Is there any advice you can give for young people who’d like to follow their dreams?

If you’re passionate about what you do I think you’ll always find a way to do it everyday, even if getting there is tough. I’d say that determination and discipline is key for whatever kind of dream it is you’re chasing. I’d also say not to define success by how others define it: strive towards your own goals and be driven towards your idea of being successful. Be yourself because being someone else is just a total waste of time and effort and won’t work out.. so trust your gut. But most importantly, have fun with it and don’t take yourself too seriously.

Thanks so much to Alex for taking the time to chat to us at GIGsoup! Her full EP is available to listen to on Spotify:

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