Alexandra Savior’s emergence has been as mysterious as it has been acclaimed. When she played a small show last May at Hotel Café in Los Angeles, Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys joined her for two songs. It became clear that this girl had major backing, and that big things were to come of her.
The 21-year-old’s knack for original desert rock—something she executes with unexpected but charming melodies—validates her working with such big names so early in the game. There’s still a cloud of mystery around Savior, but the public has become more familiar with her as she’s begun opening up to the press and playing more live shows. Her stage presence is regularly described as magnetic; she tactfully manages to give listeners a taste of her artistry and forthcoming album without giving everything away, leaving guests hungry for more.
We sat down with the blossoming artist at MoMA in New York for our most recent rendition of Style Record.
Paste: When did you start singing, and when did you choose to do it professionally?
Alexandra Savior: Well I always did musical theater, from the age of like eight or something until I was about 14. When I was 15, I started singing and writing songs. I put a song on YouTube and then when I was 16, I started doing it professionally. It happened super quickly. Somebody was like, “You should try to make money doing this.” It just kind of happened. It wasn’t really like, “I’m going to be a singer. That’s my passion.”
Paste: Do you ever wish that you’d chosen a more traditional career?
Savior: Last week I called my mom crying. Well like, every week I call my mom crying. Like, “What the fuck am I doing!?” I was supposed to go to art school in San Francisco. I even signed up for my dorms. I don’t think my friends really get it. They’re going to hippie colleges and are like, “What are you doing? “ I also feel like people think it’s not work because it looks like a lot of fun, or like it’s glamorous, but it’s really not. It’s work.
Paste: Why do you think there’s such a prominent connection between music and fashion?
Savior: Most likely because of the performance aspect of music. It’s opera costume with more freedom than theater actors may have.
Paste: What movie or TV show do you think has the best fashion?
Savior: Rosemary’s Baby is like, my jam. I’m extremely empathetic to innocent characters in film and literature. Mia Farrow always evokes that innocent boyish charm, so I’m drawn to her as an actress overall. And if you tie a bit of witchcraft into anything, I’m in. Her dress in Rosemary’s Baby has all of the items in fashion I’ve been naturally drawn to since the beginning of time: ballet flats, baby doll mini dresses, cutting all of your hair off in an emotional frenzy…pretty much sums me up.
Paste: Where do you look for fashion inspiration?
Savior: Always in film. I find solace in movies. I would spend my entire life in a fantasy of color and sound if everyone else would just let me. In film you’re able to tie emotional connections to characters with visual stimulation. So I think I get obsessed with characters in film—and actors—because in a way, I see them as versions of myself (who are far better curated). So I start to add parts of them into who I am and I feel a bit like I’ve got myself figured out.
Paste: What do you do for your tour merch?
Savior: I just wanted it to be special. If I’m going to have downtime, I’m going to make something. And I wanted to make something that had relevance. So I made a bunch of pairs of these little undies. I sewed them and then I did these hand painted little boxes. And then I just made t-shirts.
Paste: How do you approach music videos and styling yourself in them?
Savior: I’ve made two of the videos where I was actually the one recording. With those I just winged it. But for this video, it was like a proper thought out process. The director did the visuals and then I did all the clothing. So for that, I usually just go to Goodwill or a thrift store and get something cool. I wore this vintage sort of little girl’s dress from the early sixties or fifties. I’m just wearing that and I’m barefoot, because I’m chasing after this girl and trying to find her.
Paste:How do you dress onstage in comparison to your day-to-day life?
Savior: Onstage, I dress the way you would dress if you were going to a choir recital. Day-to-day I’m like, overalls, boots and sweaters. Onstage I usually wear long, flowing dresses. I usually try to wear black. I don’t wear a lot of it in my daily life—I’m a little bit more colorful.
Paste: Do you dress for yourself or for others?
Savior: I’m totally dressing for myself. I think everything I do is for myself. I’m a horrible person [laughs].
Paste: What is the worst trend that ever existed?
Savior: I feel like if I say this, one-day I’ll be wearing it and contradict myself…but maybe like apple bottom jeans?
Paste: If you went on a date with somebody, is there anything that they could wear that would be a deal breaker?
Savior: I’m in the citizens against fedoras club. I’m actually the founder. Actually, when I met my boyfriend he was wearing these really bad strappy sandals. I was like, “Oh, we can’t be together.” And now we’ve been together for like two years.
Paste: How would you summarize the weather in Portland?
Savior: Rain jackets, grey, dark greens, and black.
Paste: How would you describe your own style?
Savior: I’m slowly becoming boho chic and I’m trying to fight it so hard.
Alexandra Savior Tour Dates:
1/15 – The Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ
1/16 – Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA
1/17 – Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA – SOLD OUT
1/18 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA – SOLD OUT
1/20 – Star Theater – Portland, OR
1/21 – Tractor Tavern – Seattle, WA (2 shows)
1/23 – The State Room – Salt Lake City, UT
1/25 – Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
1/27 – Constellation Room – Santa Ana, CA
1/28 – The Casbah – San Diego, CA
Supporting Hamilton Leithauser