One of busiest and talented men in show business, Cort?s Alexander, a musician and performer, has released his debut album ?Swell?, a collection of songs with smooth vocals and a mixture of jazz and R&B, winning much praise and acclaim by critics and fans.
Currently the accomplished artist is preparing to present his upcoming ?Swell Show?, a live show featuring the performance of songs from his debut album at Barre Vermont in Los Angeles, on Nov. 14.
In this interview with Queer Me Up Cort?s Alexander talks about his experience working with the legendary Liza Minnelli, his debut album and his upcoming ?Swell show?.
Tell us about your debut album ?Swell?
“Swell’ is really a compilation of music and sounds that I’ve always loved.
How would you describe your music?
Touches of lounge, jazz, R&B, and even country.
Where do you get inspiration for your songs?
I get my inspiration for the songs I write from personal experience. For example, “The Parade” is based entirely on a moment when I literally bumped into my brother who had fallen on hard times and was living on the streets. And “Pilot Bird” is my love letter to my mom who eventually succumbed to Alzheimer’s. I’d say those two tunes are the most personal.
What criteria did you use in selecting the tracks for the album?
I realized when I started recording, that I was going to have an issue with cohesion. Maybe the mix of styles is the cohesion. I think it’s like the “Sophie’s Choice” of song. How can you just choose one?
The CD has 16 tracks and the only reason it’s so long is because I have a problem editing, plus I wanted my fans to feel like they’re getting a lot for their money. I have enough “rejects” for another CD.
Tell us about working with Liza Minnelli? What did you take away from that experience?
Working with Liza is like being shot out of a very glamourous cannon. I’ve known her for 20 years and what she’s taught me as a singer and performer is immeasurable. I’ll never forget my first show with her years ago. I was so nervous, I thought I would collapse. It was at Foxwoods casino and we were in the wings just about to make our entrance together and she turned to me and said “OK baby, take no prisoners, and fuck the wounded.” And we were off and running and never looked back.
What is the greatest thing about working in the music industry? And what would you change if you had the opportunity?
I think the greatest thing now about working in the music industry, is that anyone now can do it, with the advent of social media. It’s also kind of bad because the technology has made it that you don’t really need to be able to actually sing anymore. Making a great record and performing it live are two separate things. That’s where I’m old school I guess. If you can just get in a room with a guitar or piano and grab them… that’s the ticket.
Share with us your proudest moment in your music career so far?
Winning the Tony for “Liza’s At The Palace” was one of the proudest moments. We worked so hard to get every detail just right, and I’m so happy that people got it. A close second in most memorable moments was when “Swell” came out and the first great review was printed. It was a huge relief.
Tell us five interesting and unknown facts about yourself?
I’m a three-time singles champion at my tennis club and my team came in third place in the country. I have three Brussells Griffons (Scout, Lily, and Babette) and a long-haired Chihuahua named Lupe (she only speaks Spanish). I have terrible insomnia and haven’t slept since 1992. I eat way too much candy (I believe peanut M&M’s are a source of protein). And, I don’t dye my hair.
What can you tell us about ?The Swell Show? at Barre Vermont in Los Angeles on Nov. 14?
“The Swell Show,” like my CD, is a mix of all kinds of songs, from standards to originals. I’ve said, if anybody else were singing this show, I would totally love it and I only hope people have as much fun as we do performing it. I’ve got Ross Kalling as musical director and harmonically, he’s just as sick as I am, which is a good thing. And I’ve got my “Swell Girls,” Melissa Bailey, who I met in my first Broadway show (Marilyn-An American Fable) and Jennifer Rappo, whose voice is just stupid! They’re heavily featured here, just because of my love for group-singing. When we first started, I told them I just wanted some “ooh’s & aah’s,” but that lasted about 30 seconds after I heard them together. They’ve got a duet halfway through that stops the show.
Do you have any other events coming up or new projects going on right now?
Right now, we’re concentrating on touring “The Swell Show,” but soon, I’ll get back in the studio and start the next one. I’ve got ideas. 🙂
For more details about “The Swell Show,” or to purchase tickets, please visit:? http://showatbarre.com/
Visit CORTES ALEXANDER WEBSITE for more info.