EXCLUSIVE: Meet “California” Singer Alexander James Rodriguez
Alexander James Rodriguez’s latest single may be called “California,” but the multi-talented teen was actually born in another oceanfront spot: Marbella, Spain! And whether he’s lending his voice to a Netflix series or recording his own music, Alexander is most definitely one to watch. In this exclusive interview, he opens up about his background, hobbies, and more. Check it out!
Q: For our readers seeing you for the first time, can you tell us a little about yourself?
A: I was born in Marbella, in southern Spain. It’s a very small community where everyone knows everyone. It’s also close enough to all of the other European cities, so my mom and I would zip to London or France, Italy or Madrid all the time. I adore traveling and experiencing new places. I am big on that. I love discovering new foods or things to do. Our itineraries are insane. My mom plans everything out so we can fit it all in!
As a kid, and still now, I am a prankster with my friends, doing the usual dares, and always being the one to get caught talking. I just graduated middle school, which was tough as most of that was online – so I haven’t really seen anyone for nearly 18 months.
I am also a big reader. I read everything Greek mythology, dragons, magical books, and adventure stories like The Hardy Boys. I love everything from Rick Riordan and JK Rowling to John Flanagan. Fun fact: We wanted to option the book series Ranger’s Apprentice, but director Paul Haggis got there first. Maybe I will get to audition for the role instead. Putting that out there!
Q: How old were you when you discovered your love of music?
Music is very much a part of my family – and something played to me from day one. My mother is a singer-songwriter, my grandmother an opera singer and my great grandmother, I’m told, had a belting voice. I got my first drum kit at age 8. Everyone would come over to make some noise. I have a keyboard, a guitar and we have a family karaoke machine. As instruments go, I have stuck with the guitar though over the years. I like to play chords and figure out music – it’s very relaxing.
Q: When did you start performing?
A: Hmm, well there is video footage of me around 18 months bopping to Michael Jackson’s “PYT” on the coffee table if that counts! And of course, many school plays during elementary school. I performed at the Sherman Oaks Street Fair one year with the choir group. As an actor, we are always performing in one capacity or another. I booked my first professional Equity play at age 8 for the Centre Theatre Group. We performed at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles for the play Appropriate. Grace Kaufman and I were siblings in the play. It was a grueling schedule for us both – we were only dark on Mondays. We celebrated Halloween at the theatre and went trick or treating on dressing room doors. That was great fun!
Q: How did your passion evolve into a professional career?
A: I officially began my music career during the California statewide lockdown in March 2020. All filming productions had to stop and go on hiatus, and I am the sort of person that has to stay busy. I went into the studio in May 2020, and recorded my first three original songs: “My Crew,” “Your Smile,” and “Up To You.” I started releasing them in July, so almost one year ago now. I have recorded nine songs so far with one more on deck this month. I am still acting, things are just getting going again now, so I plan to do both acting and singing.
Q: Congrats on the success of your single, “California.” What do you want listeners to feel and take away from the song?
A: Thank you so much. The song “California” is my favorite song so far to record, mainly because I wrote most of it, and had a lot of creative say. I want people to listen and feel like they can sing along to it, whether they are from California or not. The lyrics represent everything I love to do in Los Angeles, like surfing, skateboarding, being on the beach and basically getting outside. I do have video game consoles, but I’d much rather be active outside. When people hear the song, I hope they feel like summer has arrived and it’s time to get outside.
Q: Will you be releasing more music in the new year? Would love to hear what you’ve got planned.
A: Absolutely! My next single is “Bella Loquita,” out on July 9. It’s my hybrid Spanish-English song, that my 88 year old granddad from Madrid helped me write. Plus “Cherry Bomb” and “Alright” brings me to October. I haven’t told my mom yet, but I want to do another holiday song this year, too. Last year I released “Holiday in LA” in November for UNICEF. I’d like to do another holiday song for the charity this year, too.
Q: Finally, YSBnow stands for “You’re So Beautiful Now.” What advice do you have for our readers when it comes to loving and believing in themselves and their dreams?
A: I have so much to say on this, where to start. In short, please stay you. Don’t let anyone change you, your accent, your smile, your way of thinking, your sense of humour, just because the way you are doesn’t suit them. I know what it is like to arrive sounding different and being bullied, but you are unique as you are – and that’s what makes you special. Stay special, by staying you, because you are special. If you want to do something, go for it. Try your hardest to make your dreams come true. Find your way as if it’s what you truly want, it will find you. Embrace your inner dragon.
Watch Alexander’s music video for “California” now!