Alexander Glantz, better known as Alexander 23, discussed his upcoming EP “Oh No, Not Again!” at a virtual press conference hosted by Universal Music Group’s °1824 last Thursday.
The triple threat — singer, songwriter and producer — candidly talked about his creative process, advice and goals with music-making during a pandemic.
His singles “IDK You Yet” and “Cry Over Boys” have garnered major attention on TikTok, with over one million views on the first teasers he posted. Now, both songs have millions of plays on Spotify.
These two songs seem to resonate the most with listeners, as both explore similar themes of feeling attached to someone they haven’t even met. Though “Cry Over Boys” seems to call out his listeners, Glantz explained how he saw himself in the lyrics.
“I can kind of fall into a cycle of really romanticizing romance in a way where I put my want for love or a partner ahead of my actual happiness,” Glantz said.
The young and talented artist established himself so quickly in the music industry that fans may not know he was once a mechanical engineering major at the University of Pennsylvania before dropping out to pursue music full-time.
After dropping out of college, he played in bands and learned more about the music industry, himself and his own sound. During that time, he was also finding and developing his own songwriting voice and production style.
When choosing between engineering and music, Glantz said he asked himself, “What’s going to give me the most fulfillment? What’s going to make me the happiest?”
His answer: music. He knew that only music would give him that freedom to be his own person and express himself however he wanted.
Glantz has found becoming a solo artist to be a double-edged sword as the highs are higher and the lows are lower. His accomplishments are fully his, but, on the flip side, when it’s not going so well or not as he had hoped, that’s also on him.
“When you’re in a band, it’s a little bit more comfortable because you have that diffusion of responsibility,” he said.
Even though Glantz only started putting out his own music around two years ago, he has been playing the guitar since he was eight. From a young age, he aspired to “shred like Eddie Van Halen” on guitar, but also realized his passion for songwriting.
He started writing songs at the age of 12 and credits his parents for always supporting him in his musical endeavors.
“I would play three-hour bar gigs by myself when I was 17 and they would have to accompany me to them ‘cause I wasn’t 21 yet,” Glantz said. “They were just so supportive and never made it feel like it was impossible.”
Glantz also explained the significance behind the number 23 in his artist name, breaking it down into three main reasons.
He was born on the 23rd. He grew up in Chicago and played basketball (Michael Jordan’s jersey number was 23 when he played for the Chicago Bulls). Lastly, he started writing music for his solo career at the age of 23.
His singles “IDK You Yet,” “Caught in the Middle,” “Brainstorm,” “Nothing’s the Same” and “Cry Over Boys” were all written, recorded and released during the pandemic.
The young musician also divulged his struggles with songwriting when the pandemic started.
“It’s kind of ironic because I usually write by myself in my house … for some reason, once that was the only way I could do it, it got immensely harder.”
Because of the coronavirus and tours being on hold, Glantz acknowledged how much touring would serve as a break from writing, giving him new experiences and a chance to reset his perspective.
Despite that, he welcomed this time as a time for growth and experimentation, to find his next wave of sound.
The way this EP came about was “almost like an accident,” Glantz said. The 26-year-old hadn’t planned on writing an EP, but as he kept writing throughout the past year, it was clear to him that the songs he’d written belonged together.
These songs as a body of work chronicle “the lifespan of a relationship — from yearning for someone, to finding someone, to there being some turmoil, to it maybe not working out, to trying to recover, and then, to finally moving on.”
Glantz describes “Oh No, Not Again!” as “sad, but hopeful.” Though he’s generally a happy person, all his songs are sad. He expands on this by saying that when he feels happy, he lives with that feeling, but when he’s sad, he has to work through those feelings.
Through the EP, he wants people to feel reassured that they are not alone: “I want people to listen and hear another human that is just going through very similar stuff to them.”
Alexander 23 carefully crafts his music to express universal, sorrowful feelings that sound so beautiful listeners may forget the lyrics are sad. With the songs that are already out and how painfully relatable they are, “Oh No, Not Again!” is set to make people cry, but in a necessary, cathartic way.
“Oh No, Not Again!” drops Feb. 19 on all platforms.