Queens-bred singer-songwriter Alex Weksler knows a thing or two about the constant process of evolution that occurs as a person goes through their twenties. Though her folksy 2017 EP Air was released under her full name, her latest EP, 20 Something, introduces her pop-oriented persona WEKS to the world. Out last week, these six tracks thoughtfully reflect on Weksler’s professional and personal growth – dating, going out, navigating identity, and feeling that crushing weight of responsibility during what’s been portrayed as the freest period of your life. Her down-to-earth lyrical style (and its laid back pop packaging) encourages a relatable discussion of what being in your twenties really means.
We chatted with Weksler about the inspiration behind the EP, the evolution of her sound, and what’s in store for WEKS next – stream 20 Something and check out her interview below.
AF: “Two Faced” is definitely a standout track – can you tell me in your own words what the song is about?
AW: For me, “Two Faced” is really literal. It’s about a real-life situation that I went through. I was casually dating two people at once and I feel like, for me, it’s really odd to have that type of feeling—or the same feeling—toward two different people. So, it was really just me navigating that and trying to do the right thing and try not to hurt anyone’s feelings, but also try to listen to how I was feeling. Of course, it ended up being a mess [laughs] but it was sort of me sorting out all those emotions.
AF: And the title track, “Twenty-Something,” can you tell me a little bit about that one?
AW: Yeah, it was basically sort of this polarizing expectation of what your twenties should be like. You have like these amazing highs—you’re young, you’re going out. It’s like you feel all the responsibility and no responsibility all at once. You kind of crash down from the highs after a while, so for me it was the contrast of emotions of feeling super stressed out and also feeling really free. That’s kind of what inspired the whole EP, but definitely that song in particular.
AF: What are some other themes we can find in the EP?
AW: I think a big issue that I never really sang about is the aspect that mental health plays in our lives, especially in your twenties. We’re faced with a lot of impossible-to-overcome circumstances… I feel like everyone was kind of giving me unsolicited advice on how to face those emotions, but sometimes it’s okay to just be sad. So mental health definitely plays a role [on the EP], especially in that song.
AF: And this is your sophomore project – what was different for you in the writing and recording process on this one and what can we hear that’s different from your debut project?
AW: I feel like it’s different in every sense of the word. So, stylistically, I wrote these songs as they were being recorded, whereas the last concept I kind of had five songs set aside and was like, okay, this is gonna be an EP. I felt like this was more of a natural process of developing the songs. They were all also very much influenced by a change in musical style, because [Air] was definitely a lot more folk-rooted and a lot less pop-rooted, but I feel like that also attributed to the change of scenery. Because the last one was about a breakup and this one’s more about navigating life in a different way, so I felt that the musical style, like getting more production, befitted the newer style.
AF: Do you see yourself continuing with the pop style or going back to more a more folky sound?
AW: I don’t know. I think it kind of depends on the things that have happened to me this year. The songs I’ve been writing lately have been in a similar style, so I see myself kind of staying on the pop route. Another reason for that is I feel like I’ve just been so inspired by so many pop artists lately and pop music is such a broad genre. There are so many areas I really want to explore, so I feel like if I keep writing in that ballpark, I’ll be able to explore a little bit more.
AF: Who are some of your favorite pop artists right now?
AW: First and foremost, The 1975. I just love them. I’m also really into Lorde, especially the Melodrama album – that had such an impact on me as a songwriter.
AF: Are you thinking of doing any visuals for the project?
AW: Yeah, definitely. We discussed videos for a couple of the songs. I have some concepts in mind that I would love to see us do, but we’re still trying to figure out which songs we want to do that with. I think, right now, the ones that are sticking out in my mind the most are “Bayside” and “Twenty-Something.” I can imagine a lot of really cool video concepts for those.
AF: And “Bayside” is about your hometown of Queens, right?
AW: Yeah, Bayside is the neighborhood I grew up in. It’s a really weird feeling to live as an adult in the community you grew up with, just how your view has kind of changed.
AF: What other ways has Queens influenced your music?
AW: There are so many amazing artists in Queens. There’s so many small venues, and especially for acoustic-rooted artists, there’s lots of spots you can go. You’re obviously influenced by the environment—it’s very diverse, there a lot of different people. Queens definitely plays a big role in—not just my accent—but the way I write my songs!
AF: Anything else to add?
AW: I’m also in the works to plan some shows, so stay tuned for that!
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