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Standing outside Soho music venue ‘Lower Third’ I was approached by an enthusiastic Dutch guy. “Are you here to see Lexa?” he asked. “I’m actually here to interview her before her show.” I replied. It turned out that I was speaking with a Lexa Gates super fan; one of the top 0.1% of listeners on Spotify last year who had flown from Amsterdam for the night just to see the sold out concert. “As her biggest fan, what would you ask her?” I asked him. “When she’s going to release more music!” he replies instantly.

An hour later I was standing in the artist’s dressing room as she prepared for her show. For someone who was going on stage in less than thirty minutes she was remarkably calm. I mention the encounter outside and she laughs, reassuring me that new music is most certainly on the way. She is incredibly honest and down to earth, something that is unsurprising considering she began making music in a DIY studio in her bedroom in New York. Nowadays, the artist is often compared to the likes of Doja Cat and Kali Uchis and is selling out shows left, right and centre.

Watching her perform a mixture of rap, hip-hop and alt-rnb, all with a fierce attitude, it’s easy to be mesmerised. She embodies a sense of power that would feel intimidating if I hadn’t seen a softer (albeit straight talking) side to her only minutes before. During the show I’m standing next to a girl who’s singing along to every word and shouting “I love you Lexa!” between songs. Looking around, there are a lot of super fans in the room, and I’m certain that in a few months there will be a hell of a lot more.

Rachel Edwards: Hey Lexa! Let’s talk about your new single ‘Stacy’s Chips’! The lyrics ‘there’s never any time to cook, I’m eating Stacy’s chips’ are very relatable for someone like me who lives off crisps and hummus. What was the story behind it?

L.G: Well I don’t know if you know but Stacy’s Chips is not a person, it’s a brand of pitta chips in America! 

R.E: No way!

L.G: Yeah! Someone else thought it was my friend Stacy but it’s some half decent chips that you find everywhere. At the time I was just going to the studio every day and by the time I got out all of the restaurants were closed so I just had what was on set which was always Stacy’s chips.

R.E: [Laughs] Wow, I wonder how many people in the UK also think it’s a person! Do you find it difficult to juggle working with other parts of your life, like seeing friends?

L.G: Yeah it’s all to the wayside cos’ I don’t have friends. 

R.E: So Stacy’s 100% not a friend then!

L.G: Yeah, she doesn’t exist!

R.E: There’s a real realness to your lyrics. I feel like you’re singing candidly about experiences that others might cover up. How honest would you say you are outside of your music?

L.G: A hundred percent honest all the time, I don’t believe in lying or anything like that. Being authentic is very important. 

R.E: I don’t think a lot of people live by that! I think a lot of people are sugar coating things! You grew up with some strong feminine energy with your mum and sister. What was young Lexa like?

L.G: She was wild! She was being bad and doing things she shouldn’t do. But it all worked out!

R.E: What were you like at school?

L.G: I didn’t go to school! I would just be stealing, smoking weed, drinking Henny, having sex with strangers… But I’m totally reformed and proper.

R.E: Wow okay tell me what the turning point was?

L.G: On my 21st birthday I went completely sober, broke up with the person I was with and started taking everything very seriously, made Universe Wrapped in Flesh and it actually ended up being very fruitful for me.

R.E: Break ups can lead to breakthroughs! I think I read that somewhere… When you first started off you were making music from your bedroom right?

L.G: Yeah I would use Logic to record myself…

R.E: At that point were you like this is going to be a career or was it a hobby?

L.G: It was always going to be a career because I don’t know how to do anything else and I can’t follow instructions so this is all I can do.

R.E: It’s all or nothing!

L.G: I’ll die for this!

R.E: What can fans expect from the music you’re releasing this year?

L.G: It’s elevated, I’m a business woman now. I’m not a crazy girl.

R.E: What would you like women in particular to take from your music?

L.G: I guess be bold, and follow your intuition as a woman you know we have a strong one! Go for what you want all the way, no Plan B.

R.E: I like that a lot, it’s exactly how you live - no plan B!

L.G: You will be surprised what you can do!

R.E: How do you like being in London compared to being back home?

L.G: I love it, it's so cool here! It's like a squiggly New York. And I got some really nice clothes from Peachy Den who gifted it to me!

R.E: What are you most excited about?

L.G: The future! I’m excited to have money and keep the ball rolling.

R.E: The ball is definitely rolling! I’m catching you at a really good time because I feel like you’re about to explode. How was working on the track ‘Lately, Nothing’?

L.G: It was fun! I was working with my friend Alé [Araya] who features in it, and it was very calm. We met through Instagram because she invited me to her studio session in New York!

R.E: What was the biggest lesson life has taught you?

L.G: Words have power! Even if you’re joking, joke in a positive way. If you’re going to say anything you might as well reach for the stars!


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