Growing up in Portland, Oregon, 21-year-old singer-songwriter Alexandra Savior first started painting to escape the banalities of suburban life and spent her childhood attending after school programmes in performing arts, oil painting and figure drawing. Later when her interest in music developed, she trained for three years as a jazz singer at a local school where she would often perform in jazz clubs and office building to practice and strengthen her voice, crowds often filled with "a bunch of old people and my mom", she says. Her cover of 'Big Jet Plane' by Angus & Julia Stone set the internet world ablaze when it graced YouTube in 2012 and since then, Alexandra's smoky vocals, atmospheric melodies and antagonistic lyrics have been honed on her striking debut album Belladonna of Sadness, released this year.
Alexandra performs at Scala in London on May 30th.
The strongest emotion for me when writing is longing.
I feel a lot of longing, sometimes for nothing in particular, other times for people, fantasies, dimensions that no longer exist. I think evil is an interesting subject so I often write from a vengeful perspective because I'm interested in the psychology of a villainous character. I love the contrast of human nature found in the film Harold and Maude; it's dark, mundane and aggressive but then it also shows why it's important to live without boundaries and the two characters explore all of these things. They really learn a lot from each other.
I want to understand people more than anything and painting is my way of attempting to do that.
I strictly paint portraits which for me, is more about trying to emulate the dilemma of each subject by really trying to look into a person. I used to do a lot of figure drawing classes and recently I’ve been having my friends sit in so that I can do proper portraits of them. It’s interesting because with portraits, I find it easier to look beneath my friend's surface and find out what colour they are in their lives right now.
The artist Alice Neal is a big inspiration to me.
She had the ability to really look deep into people's souls and she created so many raw and beautiful paintings and for most of her life, spent her time just painting and living on welfare. She had a lot of tragedies happen to her and didn’t get any credit for her art because she was a woman until finally the women's liberation movement came about in the early 70s, but this didn't happen until the last ten years of her life when she too was in her 70s.
I have an exact list of decades I'd like to visit.
France in the 18th century when Marie Antoinette ruled, the Victorian era, the early 1900s, the 1930s and then of course the 60s. I just feel like those were all really strong times for the things I’m drawn to aesthetically. I love Jane Austen too - she made pleasant literature that has a strong perspective without being complex so I'd love to experience the era she writes about.
The desert Death Valley National Park in California takes my breath away.
Growing up in Portland with forests and rivers, deserts are totally alien to me and at this one, there's a really strong energy and so many unusual colours. I first went when I was living in Los Angeles for three years and shot the video to my song Shades there with a friend. There are so many National Parks in California so I pretty much went to a different one every weekend and as soon as I'd visited them all I was like cool, I'm out.