DUBAI: R&B singer-songwriter and producer Alexis has released her sophomore album “This Is Me…” on Universal Music MENA — her first record for the label and almost a decade on from the release of her debut album, 2010’s “Speak Love Life Lessons,” which was released by EMI, and which spawned an album of remixes — “Speak Loud” — in 2014.
Alexis told Arab News that she comes from a family with “roots in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula” and that she remembers growing up with the music of Umm Kulthum playing in the house. She found herself drawn to female vocalists.
“There was something about powerful women and the effect of song that really resonated with me, and it stuck with me,” she said.
Her mainly self-produced album (“Love Will…” is a collaboration with Grammy-winning producers Carvin & Ivan) is, according to the label, “a suite of material that gives an unambiguous and candid view into her life,” imbuing “her signature R&B vocals across Middle Eastern rhythms, trap beats, bluegrass banjos and symphonic string arrangements.”
“This Is Me…” was released last Friday, and Alexis said she has already received feedback from people in the US, Africa, the Middle East, Spain, the Far East, and Russia. Audience response is one of the things she most appreciates about her music career, she explained.
“It’s a communion that is like nothing else. I love that something that comes from just a dream or a thought can affect people that I don’t know from such diverse backgrounds. That still amazes me. And I don’t think I will ever become jaded about it,” she said. “That’s powerful.”
Another Universal MENA artist, Dubai-based teenage singer-songwriter Saffron (Collins) recently released her latest single, “I Liked You.” Musically, Saffron told Arab News, the track was inspired by Colombian-American artist Kali Uchis’ “Dead To Me,” particularly that song’s “catchy drum and bass line.”
As for the lyrics, she expained: “The song delves into the reality of rejection and how having a crush can make you feel so good and so awful at the same time.”
Both “This Is Me…” and “I Liked You” are out now on all major digital music platforms.