Musician Alexandra Hampton was born in New Jersey and excelled in music. At an early age, her talents revealed themselves after being trained in Drums and Piano. Her proficiency in drumming earned her a scholarship from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts where she was able to continue her musical evolution. Her works have been influenced by the British downtempo scene, Motown legends, and the brilliant Paul Hardcastle and it definitely shows in her soulful, yet meditative productions. Her ear for creating expansive soundscapes has earned her the opportunity to produce for news networks and reality television shows.
Infused with gorgeous jazz horns and melodic, scat-like vocals from the likes of Ahbee, beautiful stylings from singer Jaidene Veda, and soothing piano compositions from Ayako Higuchi, Alexandra is consistently releasing quality content for connoisseurs of Deep House and Chill-out Lounge orientated flavors. Her releases Origin and Meraki (under the moniker of Aandra) are perfect examples of how her now signature style manages to provide varied, yet reflective productions throughout. She continues to expand her repertoire, clientele, and it brings me nothing but joy to provide an interview with such a beautiful talent.
Prox: Let’s hear your story. Where are you from and when did you discover your love for music?
Alex: I was born and raised in central New Jersey, very close to the beautiful Jersey Shore. I’ve always had a love for music and I vividly remember my family playing records ranging from Michael Jackson to George Duke, Paul Hardcastle to George Gershwin and so many more.
Prox: Who were some of your favorite artists (musical or otherwise) growing up?
Alex: I listened to so many different artists growing up and I can’t really choose a favorite. I love all genres and when I was younger, I remember listening to radio pop artists like the Spice Girls, but then I would also listen to underground artists like Sweetback and Amel Larrieux. I had a pretty eclectic CD stash, which I loved.
Prox: Was it surreal when you found out that you had received a performance scholarship to attend Berklee College?
Alex: When I auditioned for Berklee College of Music, it was one of the best experiences of my life. Not only was I awarded a performance scholarship for drumset, but the first person who greeted me before my audition was Esperanza Spalding. At the time, she was just beginning to work on her first album. A couple years later, she was awarded a Grammy and I just felt so honored to know she was one of the first people that welcomed me into the Berklee community and wished me good luck on my audition. That was a really special moment that I will always remember.
Prox: What was the musical culture like in London? What kind of an influence did the environment have on your education and productions?
Alex: When I lived in London back in 2008, I was introduced to Downtempo music. I listened to some mixes back in the states that I found on the internet, but my love for the underground chill music scene grew when I was in Europe. I found out about different artists and most of them were from Europe and it seemed like Europeans had such great taste when it came to music in general. Underground artists like Merge of Equals, Lemongrass, and Naoki Kenji definitely influenced my musical journey.
Prox: Describe your process for us. What does a typical studio session look like for you when you’re producing tracks for your Aandra project?
Alex: A typical studio session for me would be sitting at my studio desk with a cup of green tea and just listening to different sound pallets on my computer. As a base for my tracks, I usually begin by choosing a plush sounding synth and then I play different chord progressions. Composing a track for me can sometimes flow very easily and then other times it can be a bit challenging. It truly depends on what type of mood you are in. Sometimes, I feel like all I want to do is write deep house music and then other days I just want to write ethereal electronic material.
Prox: How much did your sound evolve from the release of Origin to the release of Meraki? What were you trying to say with each release and what is the significance of each title?
Alex: As a musician, you are always trying to improve your sound and your creative process. After Origin was released, I knew that I was writing music that I enjoyed, but I also knew that I wanted to work on my sounds and the way I expressed my emotions through my music. Meraki was produced during an incredibly busy time in my life. I was working on building my career and seriously considering a move to New York City. This is one of the reasons why I decided to name the album, Meraki; which is a greek term for doing something with all your heart, love, and soul. Music is something that comes from the heart and soul when you truly give your creative process time.
Prox: What are some of your favorite tracks from your catalogue? Which are the most personal?
Alex: I can’t honestly choose a favorite track from my catalogue, but I really do enjoy the collaborations with my extremely talented vocalist friends, Ahbee and Jaidene Veda. It is always a pleasure working with fellow musicians who bring a new element to my tracks.
Prox: How great is it to be producing music for so many respected television networks like MTV, Bravo, and VH1?
Alex: I am very happy and blessed that I was able to turn my love for music into a career. I compose original music for television networks and it’s definitely a wonderful and rewarding experience. I mainly compose original music for reality shows and news specials on major networks. Now that I live in NYC, I definitely look forward to expanding my business and write music for commercials and advertising agencies.
Prox: Who are some of your favorite contemporary artists?
Alex: Some of my favorite contemporary artists include Erykah Badu, Disclosure, Miguel Migs, The Internet, Emily King, and Esperanza Spalding. There are so many more but these are definitely my top faves!
Prox: What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Alex: Music is my favorite hobby of course! But outside of music, I enjoy learning about different cultures, trying new foods, traveling, and taking long walks. I also love going to comedy shows. There is nothing like being entertained and having a great laugh!
Prox: What are some tips you’d give to aspiring producers about improving their pieces and breaking into providing music for networks and other clients?
Alex: The main tip that I have for aspiring producers and anyone who has a passion for something, just continue to keep pushing and never give up on your craft. You have to believe in yourself in whatever you do. There are still many career goals I would like to accomplish, so it is important for me to always stay motivated. Elevate yourself!
You can learn more about Alexandra, here.