INFLUENCER: Providence singer-songwriter Alexus Lee

The musician talks about her creative process, Federal Hill nightlife, and her early years of DIY studios


When did you first start making music?

When I was eight I started taking piano and violin lessons with my mom, but even before that I was writing songs. We had this little Mac laptop with GarageBand on it and a tiny USB microphone, and my sister and I would sit making beats and recording for hours at a time.


Do you think having musician parents contributed to your path?

My parents encouraged both my sister and me to go after whatever we wanted, in whatever field, and went to some crazy lengths to provide us with the tools to do so. They let us build music studios in the basement, recording booths in closets, photo studios in the garage, you name it. Any creative project we wanted to explore, they were there to help us. That level of support, I think, is a bit unheard of, and I’m blessed because it’s definitely given me this drive that I can do anything with anything. We’ve been DIY before DIY was a thing, and it wasn’t always easy. We definitely had to get creative with what we had, but it taught us to be resourceful and tenacious in going after what we wanted. I think the greatest gift my parents gave me as it relates to my career is a crazy work ethic and the ability to see possibilities anywhere.


You’ve been on stages all over the world but is there a performance that stands out?

My favorite show to date was definitely at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA. Back in November of 2019, I had the amazing opportunity to open for Mac Ayres. It was the largest crowd I had ever played for. I think the venue held something like 500 and it was sold out. I played a 40-minute set, entirely of originals – the crowd was alive and singing my songs with me, my parents were in the balcony – it was just a perfect night.


Describe your songwriting process.

I almost always start my songs on the keyboard. I start by fiddling around on the keys, just noodling around, and once I come up with a progression I like, I start to sing. If/when I land on a line I like, I jot it down on paper and build the song out from there. More recently I’ve been collaborating with other musicians. They’ll send me a guitar progression, or a track, and I’ll apply the same process of freestyling over it until I land on something I like. From there I throw it all into Logic to make a rough sketch of the song and we build it out from there. It’s a really low-key honest process. I love it.


What are some of your favorite venues in the state to perform?

I recently started performing at a late-night cocktail bar called Nightowl and I’m loving that. It’s actually Capri Seafood [in DePasquale Square] in the daytime and at 9:30pm it turns over into Nightowl; it’s a really cool vibe and the staff is awesome. I also love anything to do with PVD World Music. I’ve done a few shows with them downtown on the Grant’s Block Stage and it’s always a vibe. I don’t get out to listen as much as I want to because I’m usually performing at the same time as everyone else, but there’s so much going on in the city I’d love to support.



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