Alex Rapp Main Press Photo

Alex Rapp Chats New Music, Her Upcoming EP, and More

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Alex Rapp Main Press Photo

Rising experimental pop artist Alex Rapp is making waves in Berlin’s contemporary music scene. Building upon a musically nurtured upbringing in the Maryland-Washington, D.C. area and an academic foundation from Berklee Valencia Campus in Spain, Rapp masterfully merges bold electro-eccentricity with nuances of hip-hop, R&B, and soul, tracing back to her childhood influences.

In her latest release, “Hated The Way,” the musician embarks on a courageous exploration of anger and personal revolution stemming from a past relationship. She lays bare raw emotions, revealing the toll of desperation and insecurity while acknowledging her agency in the relationship. The tumultuous journey of self-discovery and empowerment blossoms into a powerful narrative, with the recording session serving as Rapp’s playground of self-assertion as she sheds layers of victimhood.

The emotional richness of the record also finds a visual echo in a live video shot in Berlin’s neo-Gothic Zwingli-Kirche. Outfitted in a futuristic wedding dress, Rapp portrays a playful yet potent critique of traditional marriage conventions, a reflection of her complex relationship with Catholicism. I was so desperate for validation, so insecure, and never being good enough for this person that I’d built up to be a savior in some way,” she explained regarding the song.

Currently, the artist is gearing up for her third EP release, Monya, this October. Below, we spoke with the emerging singer-songwriter about her evolution, putting together “Hated The Way,” and songwriting.

Let’s start with where it all began for you. It’s been a few years since you debuted Valencia — how do you think your music has evolved since then?

I think my music has become a bit more intense and technically better produced. It’s nice to see my growth as a songwriter and producer. Also, Monya, my next EP, I have included more people in the songwriting and production process, which has made it way more fun as well. 

Prior to releasing that project, what were some of your early memories of music?

Some of my earliest memories of music for me is probably playing with GarageBand on my mom’s iPad as a teenager, making beats for my friends to rap and make silly songs over. And also singing, always singing to hopeless romantics in my room. 

Your new single, “Hated The Way,”  is coming out very soon. How would you describe the song for people not familiar with your music?

I like to describe “Hated the Way” as a little temper tantrum, a song that really helps me release anger in a healthy way. Genre-wise, it is fairly different than my other tracks. This one is a bit more of a rock ballad that gets destroyed and, vocal-wise, really raw. In most of my songs, I am adding lots of effects to my vocals, and here, it’s just the basics.

The accompanying visuals are equally as compelling. What was the inspiration behind the live video?

I have really been trying to imagine myself and my music in more interesting spaces as a performer, I love a good bar gig when the crowd is nice, but starting to want a bit more intention and for the space to match the vibe of my tracks. “Hated the Way” is especially grand and visually wanted a place to match.

The other element of it being a church is linked to one interpretation of the lyrics, growing up catholic and dealing with a lot of guilt and shame as a kid screaming “I hated the way you made me” was a nice way to rebel.

Could you talk us through the creative process of making the new track?

I wrote “Hated the Way” very fiercely during a time when my ex and I were in this toxic space of not fully letting go. Every time we would meet again after breaking up I became a bit more destroyed, I wrote this song as a sort of warning to myself to try to stop the cycle and have a marker that this is not going to make you happy. It worked eventually.

Production-wise the base of the song was done in one night but it took months to figure out I needed live drums, guitar, and cello in addition to the electronic elements. This was one of the first times for me inviting people to play on my tracks, and it was really the most fulfilling.

This particular record, “Hated The Way,” arrives ahead of your forthcoming EP, Monya. What can you tell us about the project so far and the meaning behind its name?

Monya is the journey of finding freedom after letting go of a romantic loss. How messy and painful it is, but how beautiful to have had these intense emotions. Monya is still keeping with my very maximalist production style, but I like to think the songs are a bit more balanced and refined. Lots of surprises and something new to hear each time you listen.

Monya is the name of my late grandmother, a woman whose strength always inspires me.

At this early stage, what are you excited for fans to hear, and conversely, do you have any reservations about bringing the project out, being that it is such a personal piece?

I don’t have any reservations about the content of my songs, I have really removed most of my shame of being a hopeless romantic. Every time I perform, I see the value in being completely vulnerable because so many people have the exact same feelings and experiences.

I am really excited for people to hear this one, particularly because it is so raw and because it was so helpful for me to write and let these feelings out.