Singer-songwriter Alex Stern is all about venerability and honesty in her raw and emotional new single “Somebody,” out today!
The New Mexico native is known for pouring her heart out and sharing her truth through her powerful lyrics and this one is no exception.
Celeb Secrets Country had a heart to heart with Alex about the inspiration behind her latest single “Somebody,” the relationship that inspired her tell-all song “The Choice” and unreleased EP, her viral Tiger King-themed TikTok, and what she’s learned during the current global chaos.
Take a read at the full Q&A below and let us know if you’re digging “Somebody” by either leaving a reaction at the bottom of the post or by sending us a tweet at @CS_Country. You can keep up with Alex by following her on Instagram at @alexsternmusic.
Celeb Secrets Country: Your new single ‘Somebody’ is out now and tells the story of how tough the to achieve your dreams and make it in your career.
Alex Stern: “I want to make sure that it’s explained in a way that it’s not a song about me complaining about how hard it is but it’s more so about a truthful perspective in realizing that it’s not worth being somebody if you’re not somebody that you’re proud of. I wrote that weirdly enough 4 years ago with my friend Brian Donkers and even revisiting it four years later I’m still like, ‘Yeah…that’s the truth.'”
CSC: Was there any specific event that inspired you to write the song? What was the writing process like?
AS: “I remember it was a day I was just feeling really down and I was really missing my family. I just kind of had this song idea and I was driving to my buddy Brian’s house and this phrase just came to mind, ‘It can be really ugly trying to be somebody. What does it mean to be somebody?’ I think I just felt so discouraged that day and I had just had a publisher meeting and was like, ‘What have I done with my life? I just picked up and moved to Nashville, TN. I’m a thousand miles away from my family. I don’t have all my friends here from home. I don’t have a conventional career or life. What is all of this worth, you know? Why am I doing this?’ It was this moment of coming to Brian and being like, ‘Why am I doing this? I’m saving face while I’m running out of money.’ That night I had an event to go to and I was pretty sure my rent was due and I couldn’t even afford it. I didn’t even have enough money to pay my rent. I just felt like such a fraud and thought about all the people from home. I just want to make them proud and they don’t understand that I’m nothing that they think that I am. The only reason I started this is because, like the lyrics said, I wanted to find the truth on a set of strings and I wanted to write something that a stranger would want to sing, and bring joy to people and be with them in their darkest moments. That’s why I’m doing that. Not to be somebody and walk into a room and pretend to be something that’s not real.
Especially right now, this song feels really prevalent because regardless if you’re a creative or you’re a songwriter, people are literally forced to define who they are without their careers and without normalcy. This song is so much more universal than just songwriters and musicians. It’s hard being a dad, or a mom. There are people right now who are suffering and don’t have jobs and they’re having to look their children in the eyes and pretend like everything okay when it’s not. They’re saving face and they’re running out of money. That’s what this song is about. It ain’t pretty trying to be a mother, or a nurse, or someone who works at a bank. It’s hard to be a human. This song just gives people for 3 minutes the permission to acknowledge that it’s really brave just showing up.”
CSC: You’re originally from New Mexico. How long ago did you move to Nashville and are you still struggling with things you previously talked about when first moving here?
AS: “I’m originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico and I moved here fall of 2013 so I’ve been here for quite awhile now. I think for me now I’m pretty well adjusted to being on my own and being away from family but I think at the end of the day it’s an inherent biological need to belong and to feel like you’re apart of something. I’m super grateful for the community in Nashville that I found like my co-writer Brain, and his wife Trisha, they’re like family to me. There are people here who although I’m not blood related but they’re like my brothers and sisters. I still miss my family so much. My big sister, Taylor, is my best friend and I’m so close with my parents and super close with my grandpa, and it’s never easy being away from the people you love. It’s always something thats going to be hard but knowing that none of this is permanent. It’s about growing. Just apart of being alive and an adult is finding a way to cope.”
CSC: You also released ‘The Choice’ earlier this year. Was it a personal relationship or just a general concept that inspired the song?
AS: “It was about a relationship of mine that I had and it was honestly terrifying to release because the chorus is literally some of the last words I said to that person when we broke up. First off writing it was the most cathartic, healing, hard thing that I’ve done thus far as a creative or a songwriter because when I wrote it I was so heart broken still. Then the day before when we went to record it in the studio I called my co-writer and I was like, ‘Jake I can’t do it. I can’t record it. There’s no way I can put this out in the world. This is too raw and vulnerable. When my ex-boyfriend hears this I don’t want it to hurt him but it’s just my truth and I feel like I have to do it because there’s somebody else out there who is in this position but I’m so scared.’ And Jake was like, ‘Alex, you’ve got to do it. This is an opportunity to make something that has helped you by creating it but can help others by people by giving it away to them.’ And that was the thing that gave me enough courage to do it. But oh my gosh I was so nervous to put it out. I literally called my ex-boyfriend a boy, like ow!! I was also really worried because I don’t ever wasn’t my art to be a weapon or for my music to hurt anybody because the reason I make music is to heal myself and to heal other people. So that was something else I really had to come to resolve with and I hope that person knows my heart is never to hurt but to tell the truth and it was my truth.”
CSC: Are there any other exciting things coming up like new songs or an EP later in the year?
AS: “I’m super excited because I have an alternate performance that will follow this for ‘Somebody’. It’s a performance we did in my living room and it was so special. It was the best day. My friends Sam and Noah filmed it and that alternate version will come later. And then there’s going to be a third single which I’m so excited about. That one I’m going to be filming a music video for in the next 3 weeks.”
CSC: Can you tell us about the new single?
AS: “I want to keep the title a surprise because it’s part of the story but it’s another song that reveals another layer of my story and my truth. Basically the song is about ‘Imposter Syndrome’ and it was somewhat inspired by that other relationship where I felt like I was playing parts that he liked about me but at the end of the day did he really like the person I was when I wasn’t playing the parts he saw me as? I’m so excited about it. It also really helped me heal from that relationship and not in a vindictive way but it just feels honest.”
CSC: You put out a hilarious TikTok that went viral of a Tiger King themed dinner. Can you tell us about that? Who’s idea was it?
AS: “I was in quarantine with my big sister and my parents and papa in Denver in March when everything started. Just one day me and my family were feeling so down and heavy because all of the news unfolding about the pandemic and how bad it was going to be and how everything was shutting down, and even though in my music I show more of a serious side, I’m an absolute goober and goofball and I love being silly with my family and so my sister, Taylor, was like, ‘Oh my gosh we have to watch Tiger King!’ So we binged watched it and Taylor was like, ‘What if we dressed up as the characters? Wouldn’t that be hilarious?’ and I was like ‘Yeah it would be hilarious!’ I was in musical theater growing up so when anybody asks me to do a costume I go hard or I go home, so the sad and really embarrassing part is that all of the clothing belongs to my family.”
@alexsternmusicFamily bonding ##catsoftiktok ##tigerking ##joeexotic ##stayathome ##fyp ##ThisIsQuitting @taystern♬ Boss Bitch – Doja Cat
CSC: Speaking of quarantine, what else have you been doing during this down time?
AS: “Being totally transparent, not being able to go tour and do any sort of march or create anything, I have a part time job so I’ve been working from home doing that. In-between working I’ve been co-writing as much as I can over Zoom writes and pretty much just planning how to navigate a release cycle during a pandemic and global chaos. It’s really been tough trying to figure out what’s been appropriate right now and I don’t ever want to make noise when everything is so deafeningly loud. If I’m going to release anything from this point on, I want it to bring goodness to the world. I want to say stuff that matters, and tell the truth, and have integrity. But the biggest thing this time has taught me is, ‘Who am I without a stage? How do I want to use my voice when people aren’t clapping for me? What really matters?’ What really matters is getting to talk to the people I love, calling my friends and family, people matter. I feel so fortunate to be healthy right now and the people I love are safe.”
CSC: Since we’re Celeb Secrets, can you tell us a behind the scenes secret or interesting fact about you that fans wouldn’t know just by listening to your music?
AS: “I really really love painting. If I didn’t do music I would probably be a painter. I love painting desert landscapes in New Mexico because the Southwest is my biggest inspiration. Who I am as a person is just rooted in being in the Southwest.”