It’s 90 degrees and sunny as Korean-American solo artist AleXa looks over New York City from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. In a way, the location and the weather is a fitting metaphor for her career to date – from winning NBC’s “American Song Contest” with her single, “Wonderland,” presenting at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards, and making her acting debut in the Korean anthology-horror film Urban Myths, AleXa is on top of the world and blazing her own path.
In her first official visit to New York City, AleXa performed at City Parks Foundation SummerStage’s 3rd KOREA GAYOJE in Central Park on July 10 along with Brave Girls and Golden Child. In association with the Korean Cultural Center New York, the concert celebrated 140 years of friendship between Korea and the United States. In the week following the show, AleXa took the time to attend meet-and-greet events with her fans, known as A.I. Troopers, hosted at Mandu K-Pop Store and Grace Street Coffee & Desserts.
Kpopconcerts was able to catch up with AleXa at the Empire State Building, an iconic NYC landmark, to chat about her “American Song Contest“ win, the importance of Asian-American media representation, and her incredible year.
KPC: How are you feeling about being in New York?
AleXa: Oh my gosh, I love it. My dad’s from Queens, New York, actually, so I came here a lot as a kid back and forth but I haven’t been since I was like, 10 or 11 or something like that. So it’s been over a decade since I’ve been back.
KPC: And this is a completely different part of your life now!
AleXa: Completely different! I’m here to perform, not just say hi to family. It’s so cool. I’ve never been in this area before so it’s super cool.
KPC: So you’ve had this insane year. With the last three years of your career and you’re coming up on your debut anniversary (Note: She recently celebrated her 1000 days!), how are you feeling about how fast it’s been moving?
AleXa: Time has gone by so fast. It’s so crazy because I feel like I debuted yesterday – I blinked and now here I am on top of the Empire State Building and performing in Central Park [for KOREA GAYOJE].
KPC: You were amazing, by the way. I was starstruck watching you perform!
AleXa: Thank you! I was starstruck watching Brave Girls, the “Rollin’” queens. It was so loud for them that day, I was so happy for them.
Through “American Song Contest,” I’m really hoping that more of the American audience became more aware of what K-Pop is, maybe looking into it a little more and finding some amazing groups.– AleXa
KPC: With “American Song Contest,” you came in and blew the audience away. It was so unlike what a Western audience has seen before. What was that like?
AleXa: Yeah, while K-Pop is a super global genre right now, there are still some Americans who aren’t familiar with it. Through “American Song Contest,” I’m really hoping that more of the American audience became more aware of what K-Pop is, maybe looking into it a little more and finding some amazing groups. You know, of course, there’s the legendary BTS, Blackpink, and everyone else that’s blowing up abroad as well. But hopefully the American audience enjoyed what they saw and would like to see more.
KPC: For sure! How are you feeling about Asian-American representation and how does it feel for you personally, being an Asian-American winner of “American Song Contest”?
AleXa: In this timeframe that we’re sitting in now, it’s a good time for Asian-Americans [in the media]. We had Parasite last year, we had “Squid Game” this year, the “American Song Contest,” and I mean, everything that BTS has done to bridge the gap between Korean culture and American culture. I mean, right now, I feel like Asian-Americans are thriving. It’s an honor to be a part of it.
KPC: Absolutely! Even with the increase in representation, it’s definitely a bit of a scary time for Asian-Americans, especially in New York.
AleXa: True. But I mean, hey, the good thing is we have a solid area together. As a community we stick together and fight for what’s right. We have good camaraderie with each other, and that’s so important.
KPC: Of course. And speaking of community, we’re really close to K-town right now. Every time I’m there, it’s always nice to be around other Asian-Americans – you feel less alone.
AleXa: Yes! You know, I haven’t explored K-town in New York yet, but I want to.
KPC: It’s a lot of fun! But I’m sure your schedule is packed.
AleXa: It’s definitely packed, but I’m sure I’ll have time to escape and run away and maybe they’ll just have to find me in K-town later. (laughs) Maybe take a taxi, don’t tell them anything, just hide.
KPC: Have your Roman Holiday moment!
AleXa: Not the Roman Holiday moment! (laughs)
KPC: What are you most looking forward to in the K-Pop industry?
AleXa: Oh shoot! Honestly, seeing how many more diverse concepts and diverse artists are going to debut. Nowadays, there’s so many new artists bringing so many new and exciting elements to the table. It’s just really cool to see what the future generation of K-Pop is gonna bring. Like we’re at Thanksgiving dinner and we have the current spread and somebody’s bringing some kind of unique cranberry sauce that we have never tasted before.
KPC: That was the perfect metaphor. Thank you so much! Finally, what do you have to say to New York A.I. Troopers?
AleXa: New York A.I. Troopers, I had such a fun time meeting some of y’all yesterday at Central Park and today during my fansign! But I will be back in August, and I’ll be super excited to see y’all then. It’s been a lot of fun, a lot of good memories made in my less than a week of time here so far, but I cannot wait to come back and keep coming back to see y’all. So stay safe, stay healthy, and I love you!
Thanks to AleXa and her team for taking the time to speak with us and congrats on her 1000 Days! There’s more to come in AleXa’s worldwide journey, so be sure to continue supporting her projects to come.