Nashville singer/songwriter, Alexa Shea found comfort in music. Alexa began singing at the age of four with her sister Natalee, who was two. The sisters loved to sing and harmonize together. Initially, their paths in music would be intertwined. However, not long after moving to Nashville, the Falk sisters would begin separate musical journeys. Interestingly, Alexa and Natalee are at a similar place concerning what they want their music to mean.
A Childhood Filled with Music and Pain
In an earlier post this year, I featured Alexa’s sister, Natalee Falk. The story of their youth, while similar, is also different. Alexa said, “It is interesting how siblings experience the same technical facts of their childhood but have a different perception.”
Alexa Shea grew up in a Mormon community in Utah, but her family was not Mormon. The singer/songwriter said, “I felt isolated in my community, but I found comfort in music. Music became a way to communicate to others that I didn’t have relationships with.” Alexa continued, ” I wanted them to know I wasn’t a bad person because I believed the differently than them. I believed in love and forgiveness that was at the heart of all these religions.”
“It was hard to be an outcast and misunderstood. Initially, the pain drove my purpose for music; it was a way to find a release,” the singer/songwriter said.
Alexa’s Musical Journey
Alexa began her musical journey with her sister, Natalee. They began singing together as toddlers and would soon start voice lessons and entering competitions. Alexa wrote her first song at eight years old, and she would win a songwriting competition for the Utah Songwriters Guild. People did not believe she had written the song, so she had to prove that she did.
Alexa caught the attention of a producer. Jason Deere produced SheDaisy, another Utah based sister group. Alexa said, “Jason was a role model and a mentor for me. He taught me how to write with structure. I am thankful Jason took a chance on an eight-year-old songwriter. Jason and Alex would write a lot of songs together, including five platinum hits in Brazil. The singer/songwriter signed a publishing deal with WarnerChappell Publishing at thirteen years old.
Alexa and Natalee experienced success and failure at the same time. Alexa said, “Every six months we had to reinvent ourselves because they were growing. The industry didn’t know what to do with us. We would sign record deals and lose them to mergers when the labels were combining under pressure from digital downloads. At this point, I wanted to escape Utah, where music gave me comfort. However, music became a source of pain because of all the things that fell apart.”
Alexa and Natalee started a band with Azoff Management called “Faces without Names.” Faces without Names would release an album, tour Europe as well as the East Coast. Even with the attention, they were receiving, Alexa was falling apart. Alexa said, “I would decide to save my life.”
Struggling with the Pressure
Alexa struggled with the pressure of being what everyone wanted her to be. The singer/songwriter said, “Looks, image, marketability was always changing, and the pressure from labels, management, and her parents to be thin led me to develop an eating disorder. It nearly cost me my voice and my life; I am lucky to be here. At sixteen, it was not looking good for me.”
“Deadly Beauty” is a powerfully moving song Alexa wrote about the struggle with her eating disorder. She became an ambassador for NEDA, the National Eating Disorders Association. She would continue to struggle until she went to Berklee College of Music. Alexa said, “Going to Berklee changed my life; it was here that I discovered who I was. I decided I finished with my eating disorder, which I believe was due to getting away from my parents and the pressure. My life, to this point, had not allowed me to make many of my own choices. At Berklee, I reinvented myself and made lifelong friends.” Alexa would join Natalee at Utah State after her time at Berklee, where they decided to push the reset button on their music. Alexa said, “We just wanted to have fun with our music.”
Pressing the Reset Button
After College, Alexa and Natalee spent some time in New York but eventually would move to Nashville. They had decided to pursue music on their terms. They formed the duo Falk in 2009 and released an album “The Ride” (I love that album) in 2014. Shortly, after releasing the record, they would have more disappointments. Alexa and Natalee filmed a reality show documenting all the drama, but the show never aired. Alexa said, “In some ways, I was relieved the show didn’t air. I was also a little sad because our alter egos, Karl and Wilfred, made an appearance. We dressed up in mustaches, mullets, and American flags and interviewed fans at CMA fest.
The sisters would eventually go their separate ways, as they began to have creative differences. Alexa said, ” I wanted my music to matter to me and not worry if it mattered to an executive. If your process is not joyful, then what is your product going to be.” Learning to be a solo performer was difficult for Alexa. The singer/songwriter said, “As an adult, we were cut off from the money we made as kids if we were no longer a duo. Booking my shows was a big change since I never had to do any of that for myself.”
What is Alexa doing now?
The singer/songwriter said, “I love making music now because I love music. I want my music to help empower people to be themselves. Now is the time to be happy because life is now.” Alexa is currently writing a book with a soundtrack. She said, “Every chapter of the book coordinates with a song. I am trying to complete it by October.” She also has started “Music Mondays.” Every Monday evening, Alexa shares one song per week, which could be an original, a cover, or a theme song of the day.
The singer/songwriter also wants to work with a team of empathic songwriters to start “Healing through Music.” Alexa said, “Everyone has a song inside them, but we are not all songwriters. I had the idea to use music to allow people to turn their pain into power.” Music was a source of comfort to Alexa for many years; she wants others to feel the same support.
Thankfully, Alexa and Natalee are collaborating again. Alexa wrote Natalee’s recent single “Diamond.” This writer was happy to hear this news. Undiscovered Nashville looks forward to the next chapter in Alexa’s story. Regardless of how the rest of Alexa’s story unfolds, we are confident she will leave a lasting impact those she meets.
A Personal Note on Alexa Shea
Alexa Shea is a bright light in a world that can sometimes be dark. The world needs more people like Alexa so that we can have more love and understanding. Undiscovered Nashville would not exist without Alexa or Natalee; their music helped get me here. Her song, “The Other Side” gave me hope at a time in my life when I needed it most. I wrote down a line from this song and placed it on my desk. The line in her song says, “I’m enough, worthy of being loved for who I am.” Alexa played this song at a writer’s night at The Bridge Bar in Nashville, and it helped to change my life. I am thankful for Alexa and her music for making a positive impact on my life. Just as Alexa Shea found comfort in music, I hope those who hear her music can find the same comfort as well.
Follow Alexa on Instagram @alexasheamusic
Find her on the web at alexashea.com