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Catching Up with Alex Young: Excerpts from my Interview with her from East End Fashion Magazine

“It was a sweet bird,” she says, fumbling for words in the most endearing way possible. “I wouldn’t necessarily characterize birds before this particular photo shoot, but now I know they have a lot of personality. They’re really willing to pose.”

She’s ever a gracious soul, even to feathered co-stars unable to understand a single thing that comes out of her mouth.

It’s a good thing humans easily understand the effects of sweet, sonically seductive musical stylings is as easy as kicking back and switching your brain’s pleasure dial to the tune of “indulge.” It’s the essence of grace that makes indulging in everything about up-and-coming New York City-based pop singer Alex Young so unbelievably satisfying. One day her crystalline voice wafts through a set as the opening act for Cee-Lo Green, the next she’s modeling gorgeous vintage clothing alongside toucans and a python, poise and grace successfully intact for both.

So, let’s give her credit; she has actually far outgrown the generic label of “pop singer.” After all, you don’t make it to MTV’s airwaves without paying your dues, although it helps when talent is imbued at a young age. She says music has been a huge part of her life ever since she was a  child, with memories of her childhood involving parents who filled the house constantly with music, embedding it in her mind and forming a warm relationship that endures to this day.

Sentiment aside, her contemporary career was built upon electronic and pop sounds, but her latest single, “Don’t Play With Me,” threw a funky wrench into the musical machine, complimenting her signature quirkiness and flamboyant performing style.

“The song was just a natural evolution and progression. I’ve always been a lover of old-school Motown and funk music,” she says. “I wanted to incorporate funk somehow… and we took it from there. I’m really excited with the sound.”

The risk paid off. “Don’t Play With Me” garnered Young extensive airtime on MTV-U and the music video for the single (featuring Young in a dazzlingly stylish old-school red jumpsuit) now has over one million views on YouTube.

“You work so hard on putting music together and getting the right sound,” she says of creating the song. “Thankfully the fans were very receptive of the new style. I wanted to go in a slightly different direction, so I don’t think it’s a departure from my sound. It’s derivative of my music, but I always want to push the envelope and keep things new. When you start to concern yourself with what other people are thinking, your music is totally screwed. Your focus is external when it should be internal, and I try my best to concentrate on only that.”

If there’s one thing that’s clear about Young’s career, it’s that she harbors a deep appreciation for the fans that make her work possible. Always a present force on social networking sites, Young never misses an opportunity to interact with her growing set of followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook, 30,000 of which she’s netted on the former. Her page promotes her latest endeavors and projects while Young communicates with her fans, shining a bit of positive light on those who make her career possible.

Along with the new single, Young says she’s currently working on a killer follow-up album to her debut LP, “Amazing,” released in 2009. The album is a return to her roots in electronic pop, while moving in a new direction entirely less traditional than funk.

“Trap” music, as it’s known, is a relatively new stylistic subgenre incorporating elements of dubstep and urban dance, although infinitely “more listenable” than those, Young assures of the new style we can look forward to on the album.

“It’s really an evolution of dubstep. There are a lot of DJ’s playing it right now. It’s very, very new and a lot of people haven’t heard of it yet, especially from a mainstream artist” she says. “I really wanted to bring it to its full scope. It’s relaxed, it’s not as hyped up…it’s that groove that keeps you moving, listening, and involved.”

As for what’s inspiring these slight alterations to her music career, Young says it comes in the form of, well, typical everyday experiences.

“I take a lot of my creative process through ordinary things. The city is constantly inspiring me, and fashion on the street is a huge part of that,” she says. “In New York City you never know what you’re going to see. When you walk on the subway you’ll see someone in a bumblebee outfit or an outfit that’s pop art with a modernistic touch, huge headpieces, leggings and platform shoes… all kinds of style that’s always pushing and inspiring me.”

While we won’t be seeing Young take to the stage in costume as a five-foot insect in stilettos, her appreciation for unabashed confidence and fashion shines through in her clothing line, simply titled A Young Rose.

The line, a collaborative endeavor with her stylist, Arlinda McIntosh, is a minimalistic reinvention of the classic, funky styles of yesteryear.

“The next installment is going to be old Hollywood with a lot more funk,” she says. “I want to throw some fun colors in there and have some fun. Arlinda is in her 50s, I’m in my 20s and it’s an interesting dynamic between the two of us creating a line that speaks to everyone. There’s no age base, it’s style-based.”

Young also cites two very interesting inspirations for fashion and style in general. Audrey Hepburn, the classic film beauty who exudes class and regality. The other? Studio 54 legend Rollerina, a large-and-in-charge drag queen personality straight from the heyday of the club kid scene, whom Young recently had the pleasure of meeting.

Cranking out pieces for a fashion line isn’t the only way Young unleashes her inner fashionista. She creative directs many of her photoshoots, including the aforementioned shoot where she posed with various birds and reptiles.

“I love creating concepts and imagining a scene, whatever it might be, how it relates to my music, and producing it,” she says of the visual creative process. “This photoshoot was always a dream of mine, from the setting to the clothing to animals to the dark and mysterious, yet powerful tone, it’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do.”

But, there are some aspects of her career, found in the most glamorous of places, which test her fearless demeanor.

“Alright, I did have mixed feelings about the snake,” she admits.

Alas, the end result is gorgeous. The snake looks happy. She looks comfortable.

So, Ms. Young does have limits. Luckily for us, she isn’t prone to paying them much attention.

Xtina’s First Hit In Years? You Be the Judge…

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To preface, click here please.

2010 has just not been Christina Aguilera’s year. Bionic flopped. Her marriage failed. And Burlesque is already a bust debuted to lackluster ticket sales this past weekend. If karma is your game, perhaps you’d say the singer’s reportedly uber-bitchy, unabashedly-assholeish antics have come back to bite her in the ass (throwing gum on her fans at a performance on The Today Show as seen here ). But as much as Christina’s impressive level of asshole truly amuses me disappoints many, that voice undeniably still defines an entire generation of pop music fans, the iconic staple on a genre of music whose revival can be attributed to the likes of her and Britney back in the late 90s. But whereas Britney rules the charts based on beats alone (come on, can anyone deny that?) Christina’s success has always lied within the quality of what comes out of her mouth even in the midst of what her image suggest goes into it *cough* Stripped era *cough*, making her a much more individualized star asset than Spears can and ever will be.

But Christina’s fabulous return to form hopefully comes in the shape of a collaboration with T.I. entitled “Castle Walls”. Collaborations a rare thing to come upon in Christina’s discography, considering she’s only guested on a handful of tracks with other artists over the course of her career. If that’s any indication of how the rest of the industry feels about her, we might be able to put a little more weight on those rumors of, well, assholery that have been circulating since she landed on the scene. But “Castle Walls” really has the power to skyrocket to the top of the charts, something Christina desperately needs ever since Bionic‘s two charted singles failed to crack eveen the Top 20 of the Hot 100. The song itself comes hot off the trail of hits like “Airplanes” and “Love the Way You Lie”, a feminine voice adding a delicate and super-catchy balance to the hard-edged sounds of rappers B.o.B and Eminem respectively. “Castle Walls” is nowhere near as cheesy as “Airplanes” and lacks the pretentous douche baggery of “Love the Way You Lie”, finding a home nestled comfortably in between the two extremes.

Expect to see big things happening to this one on the charts. Click here to listen to the brilliance.

Mac Miller “Knock Knock” Music Video Premiere

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I’m going to break from my usual pseudo-reporting bitchiness here and announce that the new Mac Miller music video premiered today…and I’m more or less super pumped because it stars none other than yours truly. And when I say stars, I mean I was casted as a “1950s model” and am literally focused on screen for about two seconds, but I’ll take mine where I can get them. See me flaunting my booty and generally being a mess throughout the background of the video as well. The shoot was absolutely amazing, and Mac (“Malcolm” as his darling mother kept referring to him as) was a freaking blast to be around and the energy on the shoot was incredible. I tend to like photoshoots better, but after the fantastic experience I had with the Rex Arrow Films crew and everyone I met on the set (holla Lauren McKool and Hannah Hager Phenicie and the AMAZING makeup artists!).
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Click here to watch the uber-exciting video. And click here to follow my beautiful ass on twitter.

Kelis’ New “4th of July” Video is Fire, Fans Flames for “Flesh Tone”

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Please please PLEASE click here to see Kelis’ freaking amazing new video for the brilliant single “4th of July (Fireworks). Kelis’ new electronica/dance makeover is the epitome of artistic reinvention and I’m wholly impressed with the dramatic shift in genres that only a true icon in music is capable of. It’s a shame these singles aren’t tearing up the charts, this is honestly Kelis best work since the Kaleidoscope days. The buzz for this thing absolutely NEEDS to build, visionary aesthetic (and phonetic) artistry like this should never go unnoticed.

The new album, Flesh Tone, bumps it’s way into stores on July 6th (an eternity away, if you ask me).

New Musical Obsession: Maluca’s “El Tigeraso”

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Click here to have your mind blown. The ever-fabulous Diplo and relatively new underground artist Maluca collaborate on what is arguably the most intense, pulsating, I’m-gonna-shut-shit-down-when-this-comes-on-at-the-club song I’ve heard in a really long time. I need say nothing more…listen for yourself and thank me later.

New Music: Alex Young – “Government Name”

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Electropop/R&B Heaven sounds a little something like the brilliant musical stylings of Alex Young, a former Sesame Street child star turned club-banging indie songstress. Here’s a sample of how Alex is taking the indie electropop world by storm; her latest single “Government Name” features underground rapper Don P and is quickly burning up the dance charts in major radio markets (it’s getting heavy rotation on New York’s Z100). Check back soon for PopSmut’s very first celebrity interview with Ms. Young herself!

Click here to get caught up in finding out just what Alex’s “Government Name” is.

New Music: I Blame Coco’s “Self Machine”

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 Fresh off the indie trail blazed by the incredible single “Caesar” (feat. Robyn), I Blame Coco (the stage name of Sting’s daughter, Coco Sumner) takes another shot at breaking into the mainstream with the electropop/alternative track “Self Machine”. The song is pure bliss, but don’t expect to see them performing at the VMA’s anytime soon…rumor has it Island Records is dropping them before the album can be released due to the abysmal performance of “Caesar” (feat. Robyn) on the mainstream charts. Oh well, as always, true art is shoved aside in favor of success. Blah.

Click the link below to watch the video.

I Blame Coco – Self Machine