By: Victoria Moorwood//
From being a YouTuber with millions of fans to becoming a worldwide star, Alex Aiono is making a name for himself as the next big thing in pop music. His newly released single, “Does It Feel Like Falling,” already has over two million listens on Spotify, accompanied by his fun music video, released jut last week. He’s currently gearing up for his first headlining US tour, kicking off in January and going all over the country.
Last year he toured with fellow YouTube star, William Singe and brought energy and passion to the stage. His other original songs, “Work The Middle” and “Question,” will also be on the setlist, accompanying his new song (and maybe some unreleased music)!
Fans have been highly anticipating his tour, and Alex says he’s spending these three months making sure each show will be the absolute best it can be. Here, Alex reveals his heartbreak that inspired “Does It Feel Like Falling,” tells funny behind-the-scenes stories from the music video, hints at new music coming soon, and reminisces on what his whirlwind journey from YouTube star to tour headliner has been like.
So, what was your idea for your new music video? What did you want the story to be?
You know, I was just talking to my A&R, we brainstormed the video together and we had an amazing team who helped put it together. With “Work The Middle” and “Question” we told stories and we kind of had like a set and we had fun and there was dancing and choreography and everything, and I felt like with this video we’ve already given the fans that kind of view of who I am. And we thought it’d be really cool to give a video that shows the real side of– well not the real side of me, but a day in the life, you know?Partying at a house and kicking it with my friends, and then you know sneaking off with the girl that I’m really, really into, and then coming back and going to the beach. That’s something that I really do. That’s who I really am. And dancing and doing the sets is something that is so much fun, we have such a good time shooting those videos, but for this one I just wanted to have kind of a feel-good, easy—a day in the life of me having fun and enjoying life.
Yeah, that’s perfect, just a real life view rather than just the choreography and stuff. Where was it filmed?
We shot it in the Valley here in Los Angeles and let me tell you, it was the hottest day—I think it was the hottest day ever on Earth. We shot the whole thing almost outside and the sun was blazing. We had like medics there to make sure that nobody fainted. It was just so hot. It was ridiculously hot.
And then you had to set that piñata on fire!
Yeah, I still don’t know whose idea that was. I still don’t know why, like maybe we do that in a winter video? But when it’s already 100 degrees outside and then add more heat—I don’t know if that’s the right move necessarily [laughing].
Did that guy really have to get his head shaved?!
He did! He really did, and he was like a total champ about it, I really appreciate him.
And your tour is coming up. Are you pumped about that?
Yes! I am so excited. We just put [tickets] on sale literally, when this interview started, I was still on Twitter tweeting about how excited I was for the tickets to be fully on sale. But, you know, I love touring. I love being out with the fans and touching all of them and hugging them and enjoying like a night together with them, and I’ve done it for the last year with other people and with other people’s tours– or like co-headlining with William Singe, opening up for Sabrina Carpenter, and I had a couple of headlining shows over in Europe, but I’m so excited to bring my headlining shows over to the States. I thought it was always great to come back to my home country and share nights with the fans here.
So what do you think will be different about this tour than the touring experiences in the past?
Man, this is my tour. And it’s funny, because when we were thinking about tour names, I almost even wanted to call the tour, “My Tour.” When you’re on other people’s tours, and I have so much love for the other artists I’ve toured with—William Singe, Sabrina Carpenter, and I’ve learned so much from them as a performer on stage—but this is my tour. This is my rules and there is nobody else who has any say in what goes on for this night that you’re about to come to except for me, and I want to have as much fun as I can. I want to make the show as electric as possible. I want people to leave the show and I want them to think that was the greatest show that [they] have ever seen. And so that is something that I have been working on. The tour doesn’t start for another three and a half months and so I have been working every single day, even today, and we’re gonna be working for these months to make sure that that show is as great as it can possibly be.
That’s great! Is there anywhere that you’re going on your tour that you haven’t been before and that you’re really excited to go for the first time?
I’m going to Brazil! I’ve never been there. I’m flying out to Brazil, doing some opening shows, or opening dates with Fifth Harmony, and I’m super excited. I have friends that have been to Brazil. I have a couple friends who lived in Brazil for a little bit and so they told me that it’s such a beautiful country with beautiful people and so I’m just really, really excited to get out there. I just finished a show in Hamburg, that was in Germany about two weeks ago, and it reminded me how fun new places are. So I think after we do the US tour, I wanna find more places that I haven’t been to and then go out and tour there.
And you’re bringing Trinidad Cardona with you on your tour—so what was it like working with him on the song and now you’re going to be touring together?
Yeah, I mean I feel like Arizona kids just have a vibe to it, you know? I mean, we’re both from Phoenix and he’s just so cool, he’s so easy to be around and so much fun. He has like an amazing energy. We were laughing like nonstop on set. And I’m just really glad to extend that and build that friendship into even more.
What was your inspiration for “Does It Feel Like Falling?”
So, earlier this year, I’ve been in like a cool, limbo state when it comes to my personal life with girls, and I usually like to keep it pretty private because, you know, it’s something that is pretty personal to me so I don’t like to talk too much about it. So when it comes to “Does It Feel Like falling,” it was like earlier this year, I met somebody and I was like super electric, all about it, like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the greatest feeling, I can’t believe it.’ I literally felt like I was getting knocked out by a boxer every single night because of the overwhelming emotions that I was feeling. And then I went on tour and I was gone, and then—boom—it just disappeared. It was like that feeling, that electricity and everything was just like gone. When it came to “Does It Feel Like Falling,” it was just like all of those emotions that came. It was just first meeting somebody, that love-at-first-sight mentality, that puppy love turned into honeymoon phase turned into, you know, a budding relationship, and then all of a sudden—it’s just gone. And so I wanted a song that kind of incorporated every feeling, the questionability of asking somebody, “When I’m with you, do you feel like you’re falling in love with me? Because it feels like I’m falling in love with you.” And so it was kind of that whole range of emotions and all of those stages of falling in love with somebody kind of wrapped into one.
That a really relatable message, I bet that’s why it’s been so well-received.
I feel like a lot of people fall in love and that it’s not everyone that has a ‘story-book’ love thing. A lot of people fall in love with people they’ve never even talked to more than three times. I mean, a lot of people fall in love with their childhood best friend. And all of those feelings can be found in “Does It Feel Like falling.” That’s why I love it so much.
Was the recording process different than your other two singles?
I recorded it actually in Toronto, for the first time, and I had a massive headache. I remember I did not want to go into the studio. I was so upset. It was the last day of the tour I was on with William Singe and I was like… I did not want to go into the studio. And I got there and we ended up recording that song and I’m really, really happy obviously, looking back.
It’s cool that you still have time to make some YouTube mash-ups. What do you think you like more, making original mash-ups or making original songs? Or what do you like about each?
As much as I love recording mash-ups and making videos, there’s nothing better than telling somebody or telling the world how I feel, and not just singing about how somebody else feels. But my favorite thing about mash-ups is that I can just be creative with somebody else’s art. They’ve already created it; the art has already been done. And so I could just copy and paste it, but it gives me the creativity to make my own version of it. If it’s a trap song, I can slow it down. If it’s a slow song, I can turn it into a trap song. And so it’s that full range of creating something new, so that fans who may have already seen a certain song or heard a certain song, like they’ve obviously already heard Drake’s “One Dance,” but it was so fun that I got to show them, like, if you like Drake’s “One Dance” then listen to “One Dance” plus a Spanish song. And so I love that about making mash-ups. And obviously with originals, you know, people express themselves differently. People write in journals, people dance to express themselves, people draw pictures, some people even just write letters to people, or some people are actually brave enough to tell somebody how they feel at all times. Which, if you are one of those people, I applaud you. But, for me, I write songs. I write about how I feel. If I’m sad, you’re going to hear a sad song come out of me. If I’m happy, you’re going to hear one of those giddy love songs come out of me. And so the way that I express myself is by writing original music and that’s why I love releasing original music, because it’s almost like I get to share a piece of who I am—who I really am—with anybody who listens to it.
So you have little bit of time, a few months, before your tour, are you going to be working on any new music? Are you going to be playing anything unreleased on tour?
In the next couple of months, I want to prep for the tour. It’s something that is so special to me. This is my first headlining tour in the United States. I get to play shows like back home in Arizona, I get to play shows in cities that I love like New York City and Boston, and then I get to come back home to Los Angeles where I currently live, and play a show. So that all means so much to me because a lot of people who I love, a lot of people who love my music, the amazing fans who are going to come out, I feel like they all deserve the best possible show that I could give them. So I’m thinking of every possible way that I could make this show amazing and so for the next three months I’m going to be doing just that. In the meantime, I’ll probably end up working on more new music. We have so many awesome songs that are unreleased and so when it comes to what I’m going to perform, it’s up in the air. If I could perform all of the unreleased songs for you guys it would be so much fun, but it would probably be a seven-hour concert [laughing]. There is just so much music, but I know for a fact that I will not rest until this show is absolutely amazing.
So after the tour are you looking at releasing a full project? Like an EP or an album? Or just kind of keep dropping singles?
You know, an album eventually is definitely in my sights. I personally love listening to full-length albums and other people’s bodies of work, but there’s something fun about kind of releasing one at a time—teasing everybody to come in and listen. But there is definitely going to be a body of work, whether that’s an album or an EP, who knows—even a mix tape—that will come out, definitely.
Who is someone that you would love to collaborate with in an upcoming project? Like either a YouTuber or just another artist?
I always say Pharrell [Williams] because Pharrell is like the GOAT. He’s like the greatest. He’s so amazing and I don’t want to give you that same answer so I’m going to give you someone else. I’m going to go with Jon Bellion! He’s super current, he’s super forward-thinking with his music and I love his drum patterns, and I love his honesty he writes with. He writes from such an honest and real place that I totally admire it.
So not too long ago you were just on YouTube and now you’re now like a couple tours down the road, singles out, I mean how has this felt? It’s been kind of a whirlwind hasn’t it?
Yeah, you know it’s just been crazy to think that all of this amazing stuff happened in two years. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for eight [years], and I worked for these eight years to—we make this joke with my team and my family—I worked eight years to become an ‘overnight success.’ You know? People always look at me and they say, ‘Oh Alex, you came out to Los Angeles two years ago, after the ‘One Dance’ video and started working with producers and got signed to a label!’ But nobody really realizes that I’ve been out here for eight years and I’ve worked with John Legend and Baby Face and I’ve tried to find my way to represent myself to the world and put myself on the biggest platform as possible. And so it’s so fun to look back and see that even though people may be like, ‘For the last two years Alex has been working hard,’ and my team and my family and myself can all look at each other and we all know that that’s not true. That’s not the reality behind the music industry. That’s not the reality behind building a fan base. The reality is that you work for such a long time before that, and then an opportunity will present itself and you step up to the plate and then everyone will then say, ‘Oh my gosh, what an overnight success, he came out of nowhere!’ I think the biggest thing is just knowing yourself. I don’t need anyone else to know that, I just love to say it because it’s true, you know? I love that people think that I came out of nowhere because it makes me feel like I’m fresher than I actually think that I am. I mean, I feel like an old man [laughing].
What is something that you want to tell your fans that have been with you since day one and are going to come out on your tour?
Heck yeah, pass me the microphone! Man, my fans are the greatest. Wherever you are, whether you live in Brazil, I’m coming to you next week. Whether you live in the States, I’m coming to you in January. Whether you live in South Africa or South Korea or Australia, I’m gonna find a way to get to you guys because you guys are the greatest fans on Earth and I truly believe that and I can’t wait to come and see every single one of you!