Artists /Alex Di Leo
Alex Di LeoFriday, May 22 from 6:30pm - 7:30pm
Virtual Tip Jar
For singer/songwriter Alex Di Leo, 2019 was a nonstop whirlwind that radically altered his perspective as an artist. After moving to Nashville from his Southern Florida hometown, the 23-year-old musician found himself thrown into an endless cycle of eye-opening experiences and occasional bad choices, relationship struggles and wild new adventures (including one massively life-changing skydiving trip). While touring around the country with artists like Max Frost and Cody Lovaas, Di Leo created a new batch of music that channels all that chaos and self-discovery into beautifully detailed yet hard-hitting pop songs, ultimately offering up his most powerful work to date.
Made with producers/songwriters like Zack Djurich (Kanye West, Ty Dolla $ign, Thirty Seconds To Mars), Di Leo’s latest output echoes a certain tension within his emotional life, a conflict he refers to as “being torn between young and reckless and a hopeless romantic.” To that end, his new music adds a moody alternative flavor to the laid-back coastal-pop sound he’s long embraced—all while introducing an element of heart-on-sleeve storytelling influenced by his recent exposure to country music in Nashville. In building that dynamic, Di Leo brought a new level of spontaneity to his songwriting and performance, instilling each track with the same warm and electrifying energy he’s shown in sharing stages with such artists as Barns Courtney and X Ambassadors.
On the spellbinding single “Youth,” Di Leo reveals his newly heightened ability to capture complex feelings in perfectly crafted pop music. With its mesmerizing textures and heart-melting melodies, the achingly confessional track was largely inspired by a skydiving trip Di Leo took with Lovaas in June. “I’ve definitely had a different mentality since then,” says Di Leo. “I was so scared to jump, but it ended up sparking this sense of adventure in me, and I really took that to the limit.” Laced with dreamy electric-guitar riffs and lower vocal tones than Di Leo’s ever attempted before, “Youth” candidly examines how that shift in mindset impacted his relationship. “It was a really confusing and darker time in my relationship and all those feelings just came out in the moment as I was writing ‘Youth,’” he says.
Even as he pushes into entirely new sonic terrain, Di Leo’s latest body of work upholds the graceful musicality he’s honed since taking up guitar at the age of ten. Originally from Fort Lauderdale, he got his start playing in bands and spent much of high school recording and booking gigs around town, then dedicated himself to refining his vision as a solo artist. Arriving in November 2016, his debut EP So We Go landed Di Leo on the top 20 at more than 100 college radio stations across the country and also made him the first local artist to end up in rotation on Miami alternative radio station 104.3 FM The Shark. Over the coming years, he appeared at major festivals like Riptide, SunFest and toured around the U.S., then released his sophomore EP Strange Open Land in 2018.
Now at work on his first album, Di Leo notes that all the upheaval of the past year has brought on an intense period of personal growth. “I’m realizing now that it was important for me to go through everything that’s happened,” he points out. And as he’s gained a new level of self-understanding, Di Leo has begun following his instincts more boldly than ever—a move that’s profoundly impacted his artistry. “There were so many moments where I felt drawn to a particular sound or way of singing that was so different from what I’ve done in the past,” he recalls. “At first I held myself back, like, ‘Should I really go there?’ But then I decided to just go with it—if something happens that naturally and it feels good to you, you’ve got to trust that it’s right.”