Get To Know Lexa Gates

Born and raised in Queens, New York; Lexa Gates’ sound is as unique as it is relatable. Centred around everything from finding love to finding beauty in the mundanity of the everyday, Gates’ music effortlessly transports you into her world.

Gates’ 2022 track ‘Angel’ gained traction online quickly after it was released, and was the artist’s first interaction with viral fame. Relatable storytelling fused with an experimental production style that blends hip-hop with various subgenres has proven to be a winning combination, and her fanbase continues to grow thanks to standout tracks like ‘Lately, Nothing’ and most recently ‘Stacy’s Chips’, a casually intimate track that feels like a voice note from a close friend.

No matter how global she becomes, Lexa Gates is at her core a true bedroom talent. She’s a singer/songwriter, rapper and producer that works from her own basement studio; and this DIY attitude seeps into her music. Following her first sold-out London gig at The Lower Third, we took a minute with Lexa to discuss her career so far, her inspirations and where she’s headed next.

Tell me a little bit about how your new song ‘Stacy’s Chips’ came about. What inspired it, and what kind of mood were you in when you wrote it? 

 I was in LA staying in a hotel and by the time I’d get back to my room every store and restaurant would be closed so all I could eat was Stacy’s Chips that were leftover on set.   

Your music always feels like it comes from a deeply personal space, is creating it always a solitary experience or do you have close collaborators you work with? 

 I always write by myself even in a room full of people. I can collaborate with others if I have to but I prefer to be alone. I think it comes out better that way.   

Your sound is pretty otherworldly, but your lyrics are always relatable. Where does most of your inspiration for them come from? 

 They come off the top of my head. When I say it, it usually doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s later on that I get emotional about my lyrics. 

Your mixtape ‘Universe Wrapped in Flesh’, in particular the track ‘Angel’ is what brought a lot of attention to your music. How do you think you’ve evolved since then? 

 Angel is just a single.. I think I’ve evolved from new experiences and new work environments. I feel pretty blind to my own sound, it’s very accidental. So I wouldn’t even really be able to tell you.   

Culture from New York has a global reach, and your music has a real NYC vibe to it. How do you think growing up in Queens has influenced your sound? 

 I think it’s just the way we talk, the things I’ve heard outside, or from people I’ve met. The way people interact in NYC is very peculiar.   

You’re one of the rare artists who’s as good at singing as they are at rapping. Do you have a preference, and do you use a particular method when you’re trying to get a certain message across? 

 I started out playing piano and singing. The rapping came from just saying what was on my mind over the music. I don’t have a preference. I think the best method is authenticity and capturing a current feeling to the best of my ability.   

You’ve been drawing comparisons to everyone from Amy Winehouse to Mac Miller. Are there any artists that you feel have had a real impact on how you approach your music? 

 Probably everyone.. I feel inspired by everything I hear, see, touch, feel. 

I want to ask you about your approach to performing. Is it something that comes naturally to you, or have you had to work at it? 

 I try to let it happen naturally. I have been performing since I was really young but don’t take it too seriously. It’s supposed to be fun.   

I live in London, and I’m really excited for your show here at The Lower Third! Is there anything in particular you want to see/do while you’re here? 

I feel so uncultured because I literally don’t know anything about London, it’s my first time here in Europe in general. I’ll probably just try to find some fresh fruits while I’m out here.   

And lastly, on to the future. What does the next few months look like for you, and what do you hope to achieve?

 I want to sell out more shows, produce more merchandise, put out the music I’ve been working on. I think it’s all in the works so I hope to keep my head up and make the best out of every opportunity.

Follow Lexa Gates on Instagram

Words: Tom Keown