Alexander James Rodriguez wants you ‘California’ dreaming – INTERVIEW
One of our favorite teen stars to interview is back with a new release! As the State of California gears up to re-open on June 15th, 13 year-old LA-based singer Alexander James Rodriguez drops a feel good, blue-sky and fun-packed California anthem to celebrate all things California! And of course, its called “California!”
Written by the British teen, the sun-drenched track is based on his own experiences and one could say it’s a California love song!
Choose how you Listen: https://ffm.to/california_letsgo
Official Music Video:
Singing his heart out all over California, the modest music video, one camera and the teen, was filmed in Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, Hollywood Boulevard, and the Hollywood Sign. The teen also selected some of his favorite California tourist spots to incorporate including Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Big Sur, Alcatraz, Lake Tahoe, and other noticeable landmarks.
“California’ is all about my favorite things to do in the State of California. From Vans and skateboarding to surfing on Sundays. I love to get outside and explore and have been so lucky to experience the drive from Venice Beach to San Francisco, with the breathtaking views of the Big Sur and the salty air on the ferry to Alcatraz. I wanted this song to be a celebration of all things Cali. From star-spotting along the Hollywood Walk of Fame to its amazing outdoor experiences. I really hope Governor Newsom gets to hear and loves it!” said Rodriguez.
Scroll down to find out more in AJ’s latest interview with TWK!
Hello AJ, great to chat once again!! You’ve a lot of great news so let’s get right into it: first up is your “Rising Star” award at the HMMAs – tell us what that is and what winning that award represents to you?
Hi, thank you so much for having me back! I follow you guys on IG and Twitter, and love reading everyone’s interviews and stories.
Ok so in January, I was awarded the Rising Star Award (male) at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. The show has been going for, I believe 10 years now, with some really amazing talented musicians and singers nominated each year. This year, Diana Warren received an award and then went on to be nominated for an Oscar!
The Rising Star Award recognizes young upcoming talent that the industry should keep an eye on. I won my award for my debut single ‘My Crew’, released July 2020, which gained a lot of momentum and press. To me, winning this award gave me hope that, although I am predominantly known as a voice actor and actor, my progression into music during lockdown wasn’t a complete disaster – that there is room for me in the music industry and that I can make a difference even at 13. It spurred me on to write more music and now I have released 7 songs and have 3 more ready to go.
When you finally got it and held it in your hands, what was it like?
Well, a lady knocked on the door randomly. When my mum opened it, she was handed a box which was addressed to me. We had no idea it was the award; it came with no advance notice. It was super heavy. When I opened it, I was in shock how beautiful it was – and heavy!! I was just so happy and felt like I was on the right path and that people liked my music. I am incredibly grateful for the recognition so early on – but I think what people don’t realize is, I have been acting and singing since I was 4, whether in Europe or Los Angeles. The award definitely gave me the boost I needed to keep going.
Just in time for everything opening up very soon, you just released a new song and music video called “California,” which you filmed at several iconic spots. What were some of the highlights when making that video?
I think creating ‘California’ as a song was my favorite part because this was really the first song I pretty much came up with the melody and wrote most of the lyrics based on my own time living in LA. I was given the freedom to write and get involved more than any other song so far. I wanted the song to represent everything I love about California. With the music video, we originally wanted to drive from Venice Beach to San Francisco, because since living in Los Angeles, I have been really fortunate to road trip everywhere – we explore all the time. I have taken the drive up the Pacific Coast Highway, stayed in Cambria and along the Big Sur, met some cool seals along the way by Hearst Castle and taken a bike ride over Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito. I wanted the viewer to have that experience with me, but what with COVID restrictions, and online school, we decided to keep my performance shots in and around LA and Hollywood and then use some of my favorite places in California to showcase as much as we could of the State.
What does the “California spirit” mean to you, if you could put it into words?
Wow, I am British so for me California means all sorts of things – beautiful weather, surfing, skateboarding, fun, outdoors, hiking, waterfalls, deserts, mountains, the wild west, more great weather, happiness, laughter, the great outdoors, exploring, adventure and Disneyland! The spirit of California is the freedom to explore with nature.
If you had to pick only ONE spot in all of California that you would say is your all-time favorite, what would it be?
One place I love to visit all the time is Mission Bay in San Diego. I can ride my bike or skateboard around the bay. I paddle board a lot too, and kayak with my dog on the bay – my dog Bosley is pretty famous for swimming in the bay. He jumps on everyone’s board and people let him. I love to surf down there, and, in the summer, there are outdoor movies on the grass. I like to order pizza and watch a movie outside. We have also spent a lot of time in the Old Town of San Diego – the food is really good!
What are you most looking forward to doing once things open up and get close to “back to normal” in California next month?
I am looking forward to exploring again. Long weekends driving somewhere and as it’s almost summer, I am really looking forward to beach days and I am excited to go back to in-person school in August.
I understand that you have sent the video to the Tourist Board—any word back from them?
Oh my gosh, no. I keep tagging them on Instagram and Tweeting. My mum even called Governor Newsom’s office and they had the song way before it was released. The ladies in his office shared it on a group chat. We just want people to share our love for California – that there are so many things to do. I am not originally from Los Angeles, so for me it’s even more exciting. I have adopted everything California. I really hope the Governor loves it and you never know, maybe Visit California or Discover LA would like to use it to help bring back visitors. Either way, I just want people to appreciate the wonderful things California has to offer.
Tell me about your partnership with Ghost Long Board.
I LOVE Ghost Long Boards – Russ and his team are terrific. The boards not only look cool but are a real smooth ride. The board absorbs so many bumps and cracks. I had been admiring the boards for some time and then I was doing a TikTok with Matts World and he had a Ghost Long Board. Right there he called the owner and within a week we had a partnership. I can’t rave enough – I get to ride the coolest board!
Favorite food your mom cooks?
She makes the BEST spaghetti bolognaise. She adds a twist of British into it, Bisto gravy!
Favorite subject in school?
English as I love to read books. My favorite books to read are anything mythology and medieval. I love the Rangers Apprentice by John Flannigan. Director Paul Haggis has got the rights – I really hope to get an audition for the main character Will. That would be a dream come true!
What’s one bad habit you would love to improve upon?
Hahaha – depends on who you are asking. I think cracking my fingers – I really need to stop that!
If you could choose one superpower, what would it be and what’s the first thing you would do with it?
Teleportation – so I could move around quicker and more efficiently. My first thing I would do would be teleporting to all the cities and places I want to visit – I’d never have plane or train delays, or traffic. I would just teleport, arrive and order lunch!
If you could go back in time to personally witness one event in history, what would it be?
I thought long and hard about this question – it would be 46 BC Rome. This was the beginning of the reign of Julius Caesar which marked the golden age of Rome. All the architecture was incredible, Rome was thriving, and the Gladiators were the celebrities. I love Italy. Rome and Florence are my two favorite cities. The pizza is incredible! – although I don’t think 46 BC Rome had pizza – just saying!
What else are you working on or have coming up next?
I am really hoping people love my new song ‘California’. At the end of June, I am releasing ‘Bella Loquita’, it is my first Spanglish song. My grandad who is 85 helped write the Spanish chorus. I also have British merchandise launching and more songs coming out. I am grateful to be going back out again on auditions, and my voice over work as the character Cardamon on ‘Bee and Puppycat’ is headed to Netflix!
Anything else you want to tell our readers and your fans?
Just thank you for reading this interview and following my journey. I hope they love my music and some of my quirkier moments on my Instagram. I reply to every DM if people want to tell me what they love about California or even their city or state.
Merchandise will be available via www.iamajrodriguez.com – that’ll be announced soon. Oh, and please get outside and explore – Let’s go!