Alex Lahey Gets the A Grade

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Alex Lahey Gets the A Grade

There are moments in a musician’s career when the idea of ‘I’ve made it’ can be thought of in earnest. Leaving a reliable source of income is one of them. It’s a decision that completely throws you into your music career and it’s one that Alex Lahey has just come to experience. “I actually quit my job,” Alex admits when asked what she’s been up to.

“One of the reasons why I quit was because whenever I’m not at work, I’m just doing this sort of stuff [press]… Something had to give and it was at a bit of a tipping point and I was like, fuck it. The opportunities that are coming at the moment, not many people get that, and I’d just regret it if I didn’t pursue it.”

Most notably these opportunities have led Alex to play the opening slot at Splendour in the Grass (on a stage she says was “five times the size of her house”), having never attended the festival before.

“I came out of the whole Splendour experience knowing the highlight of it for me was the performance itself. I think if you come away from it with that frame of mind then you did your job. And that was really fulfilling for me,” she says.

Another great highlight of the event was getting the chance to meet idols and fellow honest songwriters Tegan and Sara – who also featured on the Splendour bill.

“They’re heroes of mine and…I taught myself how to play guitar when The Con came out. That was a real formative record for me in terms of learning what song writing was,” Alex says.

The meeting at the festival led to an invitation to the duo’s performance in Melbourne and shortly after a shout-out on their Twitter account, confessing they “couldn’t be more smitten” with the musician.

Aside from her less-than-ordinary experiences of the past few months, getting shout outs from Tegan and Sara, heralded as the next big thing and likened to fellow successful Melbourne musician, Courtney Barnett, most of Alex’s success can be attributed to her relatable music.

A fine instance of her ‘normal-ness’ is her most recent single to be uploaded to triple j unearthed, ‘Let’s Go Out’, which arose from a night we’ve all experienced.

“I was home alone on a Saturday night, sitting with my cat watching Simpsons re-runs and I thought to myself ‘what are you doing? You’ve got the whole house to yourself, no-one’s going to complain if you make some noise, why aren’t you writing songs?'” Alex tells triple j.

Where there’s a great songwriter, there’s usually always a great producer. And luckily, Alex worked alongside producer, musician and Holy Holy guitarist, Oscar Dawson. A man who apparently lived a life parallel to Alex’s – just 10 years apart.

“We went to the same high school and we did the same uni degree just 10 years apart,” she says.

“We’re massive nerds who like podcasts and so we hit it off on a personal level and then just all of a sudden my songs met their match sonically.”

Her popularity on air has garnered her slots on festival line ups all around the country, including Rottofest, Sad Grrrls and Beyond the Valley. For Alex, however, it’s not all about the big stages and even bigger crowds, it’s how her music is received and understood by others.

“People relate to [the rejection in You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me] and say that, but they never say because I’ve also been rejected,” she says.

“It’s kind of this unspoken thing that everyone has been through but no one wants to talk about it because it fucking sucks.”

Something else we’ve all experienced is being the owner of a shitty, first car: “Rolls Royce was my first car, 99 blue corolla, rear spoiler. Beautiful beast. Unfortunately not I sold the car to pay for this EP. It was hard, very hard. There is a sentimentality with your first shitty car, and let me tell you it was a shitty car,” she says, before quickly adding, “It’s legacy will live on through B grade university.”

Written by Amanda Sherring

Release: B-Grade University is out now through Caroline Australia
When & Where: Bigsound, Brisbane – September 7-8, Karova Lounge, Ballarat – October 6, Birregurra Festival and Art Show, Birregurra – October 8 & Beyond the Vallery, Lardner Park – December 28 – January 1.