by Yas Akdag
This story was originally published on New York University’s Washington Square News.
Alexander 23 is notorious for writing sad music. His song “IDK You Yet” — written about a difficult period in his life — is certified gold and recently went viral on TikTok. In a TikTok video, Alexander 23 joked about a popular fan-created slowed-down version: “y’all really took my sad and slow song and made it sadder and slower.”
The artist is currently in the middle of his North American tour, having just performed in New York on Friday. Phoning in from Philadelphia, we talked about his music and tour.
Yas Akdag: What’s your creative process like? Do you consider yourself more of a songwriter, producer or a mix of the two? Did you learn one first?
Alexander 23: I think definitely a mix of the two. But I try to wear specific hats whenever I can — it makes the process easier. For me, it usually starts with songwriting. I’ve learned through a bunch of trial and error that I’ve had the most success when I just start with a lyric that I really love. Obviously there are exceptions, but I usually start with a lyric and then pick up the guitar and workshop it a little bit until I have enough where I’m like, ‘OK, this feels like I’m going to start putting it down into the computer.’ Then I’ll go into producer mode a bit.
Yas: You worked on “good 4 u” with Olivia Rodrigo, right? How was that experience, and do you enjoy producing for other people?
Alexander: It was an incredible experience. Olivia is one of the most brilliant artists I’ve ever worked with. It was an honor to help her vision come to fruition. For me, working with other artists is kind of imperative. It’s a nice way to feel creative and useful without the comprehensive pressure I put on myself when it’s for my music. Not only do I enjoy it in a vacuum, but it’s also become an important part of my own process as far as making my own music.
Read the rest of the story at Washington Square News.