There’s A Reason In The Season: Interview With Alexz Johnson

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Alexz Johnson isn’t new to the music world. After her 4 season run on Instant Star, she gained a loyal following that has followed her since, but she’s faced her own problems in the industry and battled with labels her whole career. Now, as an independent artist, she found her voice. Her new album Seasons focuses on her growth as an artist and facing the challenges that life has thrown at her head-on. 


The album was written and recorded remotely at Johnson’s home studio during the pandemic. She also became a mom, giving birth to two kids and losing her sister to cancer. At its core, this project was about healing, with the mantra coming from the title track, “There is a reason in the seasons of your life.”


She said, “I wanted to make an album that felt hopeful, even throughout some of the most painful parts of living, like loss and grieving, similar to how the seasons give and take. My writing mirrored the seasons happening around me.”


One thing she emphasized was that this season of life is about freedom. “I’ve had so many corporate chains placed on me and my music since the beginning of my career,” she explained, “Releasing this album independently, writing, tracking it.. it allowed me the freedom to really create the album I envisioned.” 


Johnson spent so much of her career and her creative years waiting for the approval of her label, but her found freedom has given her the opportunity to really explore the depths of her music. The songs feel so raw and diaristic, with her voice going from soft to soulful. 


On “Hurt,” she feels so hopeful, “I’ll take the tears from your sadness and turn them into gold.” The slow build really emphasizes the emotion. The gospel accents in this album add to the richness of the production, and there are hints of country vibes in songs like “Tomorrow Will Be Gone” and “I Need You Like You Need Me.” It feels like she really is breaking free. 

Adding to this layer of seasons, Johnson became a mom over the pandemic, and it’s added a softness to her songwriting. She says, “I remember that these songs and words will be left with my children long after I’m gone. They deserve to hear my truth.” The authenticity in her music really bleeds through. It feels so intimate. 

Being a mom also gave her the courage to believe in herself after so many false promises. “I have become very allergic to the major music industry formats and completely inspired by alternative ways in sharing art,” she says, “We have everything we need to create now. We don’t need anyone’s approval or permission to shine.” And where she really shines is in finding meaning in a loss. 


In “Otherside,” she explores her grief and musings on death, and she so beautifully sums up the feeling of losing a loved one and the questions that arise. It’s the knack she has for diving deep into an emotion. She moves through these intense feelings with grace and discipline. She explains, “I treat my independent career with the same respect as if I were to be showing up to film as the lead of a TV show. I’ve learned discipline is an important skill, along with the freedom of creative expression. I just get up and get it done.” 


If there’s one thing Johnson wants her listeners to takeaway from this album it’s simply hope. “Nothing about this album is trying to be anything. It’s just existing in this time and place,” she muses, “I hope listeners feel inspired to live their own creative dreams, silencing the negative mind talk, and just allowing themselves to be exactly where they are in their pain and joy. Just as the seasons are exactly where they’re supposed to be.”

Story: Emily Treadgold

Photos: Mallory Turner

MUA: Debra Macki

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