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VIDEO UPDATE: From politics to pop, a Q&A with Alyssa Hegwood
Video by ALex Wilking
Before Alyssa Hegwood got into music under her stage name, Paige Alyssa, she wanted to go into politics. She wanted to be a lawyer and work her way up to the presidency. Although the dream has changed, Hegwood said her ease in front of a crowd has remained.
Hegwood released the first single “Amen” from her EP The Wait is Over on Nov. 10, which is available for free on SoundCloud. She is also a college student at Webster University, currently in her senior year working toward a BA in music with a focus on jazz vocal performance.
She sat down with The Journal to discuss her life now, her dreams for the future and her album, that came out on Dec. 9.
Question: What inspired you to go into music?
Answer: I’ve been around music my entire life. My mom has been playing piano and organ for over 40 years and she’s a minister of music in church. And that’s kind of where I got my first glimpse of music. I’ve been singing my whole life because of church; I’ve been playing drums since 3rd grade, that started at church too. So I’ve always been around those types of things. And I don’t know, I’ve always sort of loved it and had a love for the stage and performing.
Q: Who do you draw inspiration from?
A: In jazz, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. A lot of their music inspires me, especially when it comes to soloing. As far as popular music goes, I draw a lot of inspiration from people like Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Janelle Monáe, Prince. I listen to a ton of different people so they kind of just all make their way into my style.
Q: What’s the hardest thing about making music?
A: Time to really dedicate to my music. Because I’m a student here, I’m working at Apple, I play the drum set at my church still, trying to focus and throw myself fully into a project when I need to throw myself fully into school work and other things. It’s been hard finding that balance and deciding if there’s something I need to sacrifice to make something else be great. That’s been the hardest thing. I know it’s gonna pay off some day.
But I am human, so there are moments when I am laying in bed, I have to get up in five minutes and it’s eight in the morning and I’m just like “why am I doing this?” Or I get off work and I’m going from work to the studio and I’m just so tired; I just wanna go home and eat. I wanna talk to my mom. I wanna see my sister. I wanna hang out with my friends. I have those moments because I’m human and I’m 21.
Q: Do your friends understand your dedication?
A: My friends absolutely understand. All of us are in really tough majors that take up a lot of time when you’re a senior. Half of us have internships, and if we don’t have internships we have a really strenuous full-time or part-time job. We’re all busy, so if I tell someone I can’t come because I’m tired or I’m in the studio, there’s never any malice because we get it. All of us have some type of artistic job and with arts majors you have to take time to devote yourself and throw yourself into it. So everybody gets it.
Q: What do you do to relax?
A: I like to bake. Hang out with my friends. Getting together with my core best friends and having some queso. Eating, watching Beyoncé videos, talking about music, talking about current events and just hanging out. That’s a good day to me. Me and my friends still play the Gamecube; that’s been the constant system throughout out our entire life.
Q: So you like to play video games?
A: I used to play a lot of video games. I used to play Madden and Halo and Call of Duty. I used to be a huge video game head. When I was in kindergarten my mom bought me Sonic 3 and I started playing it before I went to school that morning. I’ve been a huge video game fan for the longest.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: If I’m working as hard as I’m working now and continue on that I’d like to be signed to a major record label within five years. I’d love to be signed to Columbia Records because Columbia is one of the oldest record labels we have out there and they’re known for having really great artists. But, it’s not necessarily about the label, it’s about the contract that they’re going to give you and how much creative freedom they’re going to give their artists. So, when that time comes I’m going to definitely take my time to look at every option I have and look at contracts and pick the one that’s going to be most suited for me as a musician and artist. Creative freedom is definitely a must-have when I get signed.