Musician Alex Blue changed her name from Alex G earlier this month. It was a big shift for someone who has been publicly branded as Alex G for an entire decade; Alex started posting covers to her YouTube channel in 2010, when she was a high school student in Colorado. Now, she has over 1.5 million subscribers.
“I have been making music for the last decade. For a large part of that I had other people telling me what kind of artist I needed to be, what kind of songs I needed to cover, how I needed to present myself, and what my priorities needed to be. My name wasn’t even chosen by me,” Alex, 28, explains to me. “The frustrating thing is that this actually worked. It gave me a music career.”
fun fact on alex g: I was alex g only because someone who shall remain nameless couldn't pronounce my last name.
at least Blue is easier i guess…?
— Alex Blue (@imalexbluenow) April 1, 2020
“But as I become more aware and more proud of who I am, an introverted bisexual Mexican Jew who is at her heart a songwriter first, I am empowered to respectfully and gratefully step away from Alex G, and into Alex Blue,” she says.
She just released her new song, “Noise,” and the video is premiering right here on Alma:
Over e-mail, we chatted about her rebrand, finding her Jewish identity, and what she’s doing to stay calm during the pandemic.
I have been sort of transitioning artistically for the last handful of years. When I started music I was 18 and barely even knew why I liked it, let alone who I was. I am basically a completely different person than the one who built a music career on the internet. I have just grown up and out of “Alex G.” After years of a lot of major personal change and growth, I have grown into my identity as an artist and songwriter. A rebrand is the perfect way for me to step into that identity.
Why Alex Blue?
I got married two years ago to my wife, Torri. We decided to take her grandma’s maiden name, Blue, because she is one of the most special people in our lives and has been such a support and gift to us. Turns out “Blue” is a really cool name. It just all feels right!
How did you rediscover your Jewish identity?
I have had a pretty weird experience when it comes to my religious and ethnic identity. I always knew I was Jewish, but in a detached sort of way. I was raised in a right-of-center fundamentalist Christian home, led by my Jewish dad (he converted to Christianity when I was 7). It never really clicked for me and I left Christianity a few years ago.
I got really curious about my Jewish identity after doing 23AndMe and finding out I’m 50% Ashkenazi. This was right in the wake of a really difficult conflict with my parents that led to a sad but necessary distancing. This, for reasons I’m still learning, propelled me into a deep dive of my Jewish ancestry.
Ok so I don’t know a lot about my Jewish family (because unfortunately most of them are gone and I don’t have easy access to more info), but I just got these photos from my Aunt (who walked me down the aisle!!!!) of my grandma/grandpa and I’m SHOOK 🤯 pic.twitter.com/RxzosZKF7W
— Alex Blue (@imalexbluenow) May 24, 2019
It started as a quest for understanding and connecting to my familial roots, and turned into embracing my Jewish identity and finding deep meaning in Judaism. I converted less than a year ago and I am loving it.
What does being Jewish mean to you?
It means taking care of people and leaving the world better because of the life we lived. It means resilience and hope and having autonomy. It means having so many holidays that every other week I don’t know if I’m going to walk into synagogue underdressed (sorry for wearing light jeans on Rosh Hashanah).
I love this quote from you: “Stepping into our temple with my wife for the first time felt like a coming home. It felt like remembering a place I have never been, and finally getting to exhale.” Can you talk a little more about that? What was it like going to synagogue?
Thank you! I honestly felt such a strange other-worldly experience walking into the temple for the first time. The smells, the way people looked, just the atmosphere in general felt so familiar even though I had never been there before. I just felt so at home there and no one was even trying to make me feel that way (in a respectful-of-my-space sort of way. They are the loveliest). After leaving a religious experience that emphasized performative spirituality, I felt actual tangible freedom in our synagogue.
Do your queer and Jewish identities overlap? If so, how?
I think they overlap all the time. I don’t really see them as being that separate, ya know? I guess I don’t feel like I have to think about it too much because of how completely I’ve been embraced and celebrated within my Jewish community. I feel integrated for the first time. My queer experience and my Jewish experience go hand in hand, no questions asked.
How are you holding up under quarantine?
Not bad, really. Torri and I have been staying inside and away from people long before the pandemic. Anxiety comes and goes, but we are trying our best to embrace the new normal. Therapy and sunshine help! But for the love of all things sane, someone force me to stay off Facebook!
What are you doing to keep calm?
Every morning, I go on a 4-mile walk with my wife. It’s been so good. We also play a lot of video games. I love my meditation app and also my therapist!
What are you most excited about right now?
To get back to work on all of my new music. Because of the pandemic we had to stop right in the middle of some really exciting production and I have been so eager to release new music as Alex Blue!
Okay, some quick questions: Favorite Jewish food?
Favorite Jewish holiday?
Favorite karaoke song?
I am not one for the fine art of karaoke; however, I do love singing “I’m Shy” from Once Upon A Mattress too loudly for my wife.
Favorite song to perform?
All the new songs I’ve written but haven’t actually performed yet, lol!
Header image and all other images courtesy Alex Blue.