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Chicago Singer/Songwriter Alex Banin On Why She Listens To Everything …

Written by on April 8, 2020

Photo by Lauren Washington

Born in London and raised in New York, Alex Banin found herself in Chicago at 18 years old, where she first began to make music.

If you’re a frequent Vocalo listener you’ve probably heard her music in rotation. We first added her song Hollywood (No This Isn’t) in December of 2019, and since then she’s appeared on the station twice more. Most recently with her absolute bop Nightmare.

With inspiration from artists such as Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, and Frank Ocean, Alex created her own unique and unfiltered sound that resonates as a new and authentic voice. We got a chance to ask Alex a few questions about her sound, her story, and how she’s coping in unprecedented times.


Photo By: Ben Schmoyer

Tell us about yourself… How would you describe your work to someone in a few sentences? 

I’m a singer and songwriter! I have an R&B sound that bend into pop melodies & I write about anything that’s on my mind, mostly my relationships.

Are you from Chicago originally?

I was born in London, raised in New York & then came to Chicago for school.

How has Chicago’s music scene influenced the work that you do? 

I really only started making music after I moved here, so while I draw on experiences that I had in other parts of my life, Chicago’s sound and culture has most directly influenced my work. This is the only place I’ve really experienced in a creative capacity, so I feel very at home here as an artist.

Who are your biggest influences musically? 

I usually cite Amy Winehouse, Frank Ocean, and Lauryn Hill as my biggest musical influences. I’ll never get tired of listening to anything they have put out & their music has gotten me through rough patches at various points in my life. But I’ll honestly listen to anything & I believe everything I listen to impacts my sound.

What other mediums, genres, or art forms make up part of your creative identity? 

While I am primarily a music artist, I’ve always had a visual idea for the songs beyond the music. I just co-directed my music video for Hollywood with my friend Lucia Agajanian. I either design or direct my cover art & I mess around with graphics for promotion (on my Instagram). I wish I had the technical skills to carry out a lot of visual ideas I have, but I’m lucky to have talented friends help me create those.

Photo By Lauren Washington

What’s next for you?

I’m always making music, so definitely be on the lookout for some releases & cool collaborations on their way!

How has the covid-19 situation affected you as an individual and as an artist?

As an individual (and I’m definitely not alone in this) it’s brought levels of uncertainty & stress. But as an artist, I finally have the time to sit down and write for extended periods.

I’ve written a lot & I’m pretty proud of that. It’s definitely different not having other people in the room with me while I’m writing, but it’s also been nice to strip that down and just try to focus on myself. I’m already very introspective when I write, but I feel like I have to hone in on that more now than ever.

How is creativity helping you to cope during this anxious moment?

I don’t know what I would be doing if I wasn’t writing or recording or drafting visuals right now. I’d be pretty bored.

Can you leave us with a playlist of music that resonates for you? 

Follow Alex Banin

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