Interview: Get To Know Alex Schechter

Alex Schechter, an up-and-coming rapper, was nice enough to answer some of my questions that will hopefully help you get familiar with him and his music. Listen to him on SoundCloud here

Alex Schechter at his first headlining show

Alex Schechter at his first headlining show

 

G-Posters: You’ve had a pretty unique beginning to your music career. Can you talk a little about how you got started?

Alex Schecter: So, the beginning to my music career definitely is unique. I was born in Boston, MA, but when I was one, my family moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta was/is arguably the center of hip hop. I grew up minutes away from B.o.B, Andre 3000, Akon, Soulja Boy, and T.I. I grew up listening to these guys. My music career didn’t actually start in the ATL though. When I was 13, my family moved back to Boston due to the recession and economic downturn. I was 13 at the time and I was in 7th grade. It wasn’t for 3 years that I would start my music. My friends at my high school encouraged me to do the talent show, even though I had never performed for anyone in my entire life. I took the risk, though. and I did a cover of Macklemore’s "Otherside". I ended up winning $100, and I was psyched. Even at this point though, I hadn’t really begun my music career. It wasn’t until my senior year that I would start writing. When I started writing, I couldn’t stop. It took over my life. That’s when I knew I found something I loved and wanted to do.

GP: Who are some artists that you look up to and have influenced your music?

AS: I’d say the biggest artists that I have looked up to are Lupe Fiasco, old school B.o.B (Bobby Ray), and Eminem. Maybe Macklemore could be thrown in that mix as well. These guys are all so lyrical, and are such talented writers. The way that they convey their messages through music is amazing. It really is art. So, hopefully someday I’ll have as much success as they’ve had.

GP: So you’re at Dickinson College right now—how has your experience there helped you with your music and how do you balance the schoolwork with making music?

AS: Being at college and doing my music definitely is tough. This is what I signed up for though. To me, the music is a hobby. Instead of taking naps after finishing my classes and homework, I write music, send emails to promoters, and connect with fans on social media. I love it. I wouldn’t trade it. I also have a part time job. So to anyone who says that they don’t have time to chase their dream...it’s not true. You can do anything you want as long as you really put your heart and soul into it. 

At school, I’ve done some open mics here and there, and even did the school talent show. Everyone here is really supportive. On campus, people come up to me and say, “Hey are you the rapper??”. It’s really funny and cool. I always tell them to just call me Alex. I probably did 50 freestyles the first few weeks of school for people haha. I really love it. 

GP: Your first album, Outlier, came out in 2014. What was the process of creating and recording it like?

AS: Outlier was one hell of experience. Having never created any form of music before, I learned everything on the fly. The writing, the production, the recording (Cybesound Studios in Boston), and distributing the music. I learned so much in such a short time. I honestly expected to sell 20 units of my album based on the fact my only fan base at the time was my friends and family..I ended up selling more than 200 units. It was incredibly mind-blowing. Also humbling. Outlier was definitely my baby. The 7 songs on that album (narrowed down from 30 finished songs) were really personal. I put everything in those songs. For example, my song If I Could is about the perception of mental illness and depression. These feelings come straight from family and personal issues. It was really cool to see that If I Could was the best selling single on the album! 

GP: I understand a mixtape is coming soon. Can you talk a little bit about that and what people can expect from it?

AS: I am hella psyched for my new mixtape, Broken Hearts. This mixtape is going to be free for everyone. It’s not a mixtape with an “intro” “outro” or 20 second “songs”. This is a full length album with 12 complete songs for free. I am really excited for everyone to hear the full thing. The first single, You Don’t Get My Love hit 1,000 plays within a matter of weeks. Meanwhile, not one song on Outlier came close to 1,000 plays. So, the response has been fantastic. It’s dropping Valentine’s Day. I definitely am getting good vibes. My fans are really digging the new sounds which makes me happy.

GP: You’ve opened for guys like Cam Meekins and SonReal before. I was at your first headlining show, which was awesome. What’s next in terms of shows planned in 2015?

AS: As of right now, I have one show confirmed. It is on February 23, and I am opening for Cam Meekins again on his first headlining tour in Springfield, VA at Empire Nightclub. I do have some exciting news planned for the summer...maybe a headliner at the Middle East in Boston? Who knows? ;)  Although my first headlining show was intimate, I’m excited to see what we can do for the second go around. Three weeks ago I had 250 followers on Twitter. I just passed 1,200. So people are joining the movement at a rapid pace. In terms of other shows, I was asked to perform at the first annual Rollingloud festival in Miami. The headliner is Schoolboy Q so it was an honor to be asked. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out with my school schedule and all, but things are happening. Hopefully, I can maybe hop on a tour this summer!

GP: Where do you see your music taking you over the next few years and what are some of your long-term goals?

AS: As of now, I’m not sure where my music will take me. Like I said, I am a full time college student. That is my first priority. If people really start digging my music, then we will see what happens in the future. As of now, I’m very happy doing shows whenever I can and putting out new projects. I guess one big goal I have is to hop on someone’s tour. That would be pretty sweet. It’s up to the fans where this really goes. 

GP: Finally, how would you describe your music and what message do you try to convey through it?

AS: I hope my music makes people think. It’s tough. There is a balance between making songs that are catchy, but writing lyrics that actually matter. I’m never going to put out a song where I don’t think I put my heart into the lyrics. That’s the truth, and that’s just how it’s going to be.

 

Make sure you download "Broken Hearts" dropping on Valentine’s Day (2/14/15). Also follow him on Twitter (@SchechterMusic), Instagram (@AlexSchechterMusic), SoundCloud (Alex Schechter) and like his Facebook page (Alex Schechter)