INTERVIEW: Alex Porat on All Things Music, Her New EP ‘bad at breakups,’ Songwriting, and Sound

Pat Ryder

Catch up with Alex Porat and get all the details on how she went from posting YouTube covers to releasing her own new music, as well as what inspired it.

Pat Ryder

The talented Toronto singer-songwriter released her four-track debut EP, bad at breakups, back in October. Her single “forgot to forgive” was the final single off her EP.

Porat’s debut single and music video “only hanging out cause i’m lonely,” earned her a spot on Amazon Music’s “2020 Artists to Watch” list. On Spotify, Alex had a total of 29.6M streams and 5M listeners for 2020 alone. 

Alex first started on YouTube and Instagram and became known for singing covers, which led to her being featured in Glamour Magazine’s video series “You Sang My Song.” Shawn Mendes reacted to the singer’s cover of his hit song, “In My Blood,” calling the singer “incredible.” Mendes also went on to say her voice was “awesome,” and that she, “sang it perfectly.” Read our exclusive interview with Alex Porat below to find out more about her inspirations, creating her music videos, Shawn reacting to her cover, and her motivation when it comes to songwriting.

Pat Ryder

GLITTER: Where did you grow up, and where do you spend most of your time now?
ALEX: I grew up mostly in Vancouver, Canada, and then when high school started was around the time I moved to Toronto, which is where I am now.

GLITTER: When was the moment you truly fell in love with music? 
ALEX: Growing up watching Disney movies was when I found my love for music. I remember loving it when they would play movies on TV with the lyrics to sing along so I could learn the lyrics of all the musical movies.

GLITTER: Who are your music inspirations?
ALEX: There are so many, but Whitney Houston is one of my biggest inspirations. She kind of got me into all of this because I was so stunned by her talent. Christina Aguilera is another one I found from watching Mulan growing up. I really love them both for teaching me early on that music is about telling a story or sending a message.

GLITTER: What was the first piece of music you heard that moved you?
ALEX: I remember watching The Bodyguard for the first time and hearing “I Will Always Love you” being sung by Whitney Houston, and it was a huge moment for me because I realized that I am a super emotional person. My friends always make fun of me because I cry watching almost any movie, and I think my first time experiencing that during a movie was during “I Will Always Love You.”

GLITTER: Who was the first person you shared your music with?
ALEX: My parents. They were so supportive of me growing up – taking me to dance lessons, taking me to malls to sing karaoke. They’ve also put up with hearing me sing through the walls at home for so many years; it was really nice to show them that it was all for something in the end.

GLITTER: Your new single “forgot to forgive” came out on October 21. Tell us the story behind it, and why did you decide to make it the final single from your four-track debut EP?
ALEX: “forgot to forgive” is inspired by the idea of holding grudges. Forgiveness is something I’ve always struggled with, so capturing the concept of becoming victim to my own thoughts was something I wanted to explore. It was actually the most recently written song, and it just felt right to help tie the whole project together.

GLITTER: What inspired the theme of the music video?
ALEX: This video is inspired by an episode of sleep paralysis where your demons that you couldn’t forgive come back to haunt you. Iris Kim, the director for my videos, is so amazing. The three videos for the other songs off the project have such a different feeling than “forgot to forgive,” they’re all very light and fun. For this video, she wanted to take a darker turn, and I absolutely loved that.

GLITTER: What is your favorite part about creating a music video?
ALEX: It’s the days on set that are my favorite. “Forgot to forgive” was an overnight shoot, from 7 pm-7 am, and initially, I was worried, but then I quickly got over that the moment I got to set. I feel so lucky because the crew is always so amazing, and they are such fun people to spend time with. It’s so cool seeing everyone in their element and things coming together to create a project that I’m always so proud of.

GLITTER: You had a YouTube Live Performance and Q&A on October 23; what is your favorite part about doing events like this with and for your fans?
ALEX: I love interacting with my audience in any way I can, and because shows couldn’t be a thing this year, it was nice to have my first live show for my audience delivered to wherever they were.

GLITTER: How excited are you for fans to hear your full Debut EP bad at breakups and what is the journey you want to take fans on with it?
ALEX: I’m so excited and happy to have it out now! It helped me get through different phases I tend to go through in different relationships, so I hope that it can do the same for someone else who’s listening.

Pat Ryder

GLITTER: What is your favorite thing about releasing new music and how do you prepare for a release?
ALEX: I feel so stressed every time I’m about to release. I try to turn my brain off and distract myself until it’s out. When it finally comes out, it feels like a party, and I feel a huuuuuge sense of relief.

GLITTER: You were named one of ‘Amazon Music’s 2020 Artists to Watch.’ What was your reaction to that news?
ALEX: Unreal!! It felt unreal to hear that news. I’m super grateful – thank you Amazon Music!

GLITTER: One of your cover songs was featured in Glamour Magazine’s video series “You Sang My Song,” where Shawn Mendes reacted to your cover of “In My Blood.” How did that make you feel, and what would you like to say back to Shawn?
ALEX: At the time, it was honestly such a surreal moment for me. It was the first time I felt like being a musician was possible, and it sparked a fire under me. Shoutout Shawn for that motivation!

GLITTER: What motivated you to take that leap and post your covers on YouTube in the first place?
ALEX: I was having a really difficult time right before I started posting in 2018. I remember being in school and nothing felt rewarding or satisfying to me. In reality, I’d actually been posting covers to YouTube for a long time, but I remember January 2018 feeling super down all the time because nothing felt good, and singing was really my only escape, so I put everything into that.

GLITTER: What is the best compliment you’ve ever received about your music?
ALEX: The best compliments I’ve received are actually when people cover my songs. I take that as such a compliment because the songs that I chose to cover were my favorite songs in the moment and the songs I would listen to the most.

GLITTER: What is your songwriting process like?
ALEX: It all starts with something on my mind, and the order sometimes varies, but for the most part, I go into the studio with a producer who can capture that thought in production, and then it’s followed by melody and lyrics.

GLITTER: How would you describe your sound?
ALEX: I would say it’s somewhere in the pop world – I don’t really know where, but somewhere fun. 

GLITTER: Where does your motivation usually come from when writing a song? 
ALEX: It usually comes from life experience, which is great because there is still so much life left to experience.

GLITTER: What do you hope fans take away from your music?
ALEX: I hope fans find some comfort in relating to my music. I turn to songs to feel comforted, so for someone else to find that in my music would feel the most rewarding.

GLITTER: What is on your playlist currently?
ALEX: “Adelaide” by Johnny Orlando, “Fake” by Lauv & Conan Gray, and “Sofia” by Clairo.

GLITTER: Dream music collaboration?
ALEX: My dream collaboration is Conan Gray, Lauv, or Blackpink!!

GLITTER: Someone who you look up to?
ALEX: My parents! <3 

GLITTER: Glitter has a celebrity #SelfLoveCampaign. What does self-love mean to you?
ALEX: Self-love, to me, means feeling good about yourself. We’re our biggest critics, and it’s easy to be hard on yourself but developing some key things to help you feel better is so important. I used to be the most dehydrated person on the planet, and I started drinking water, and I automatically felt ten times better than I did when I was a raisin.

GLITTER: Do you have anything else you can share with fans or tell them to look forward to?
ALEX: Thank you for all your support on my first EP, and I can’t wait to share more with you.

GLITTER: What are the best social media platforms for fans to follow you and keep up to date on your music? 
ALEX: I’m the most active on Instagram and Twitter! Both are @alexandraporat 🙂