Introducing: Anthony Lexa

Even in my insomnia-ridden brain, I definitely have enough space for big dreams.

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Get ready to dive into the captivating world of Anthony Lexa, a trailblazing artist who demands your attention. Originating from the picturesque countryside of Devon, this 23-year-old sensation burst onto the scene in 2019 with her debut single ‘Movin On Up,’ setting the stage for an extraordinary musical journey.

Beyond the realm of music, Anthony Lexa has gracefully ventured into acting, leaving an indelible mark on LGBTQ+ history. Earlier this year, she took on the role of trans teen Abbi Montgomery in the final season of Netflix’s Sex Education. A beacon of creativity and an advocate for positive change, Anthony is poised to revolutionise the entertainment industry, breaking barriers with each endeavour.

In this interview, we had the privilege of delving into Anthony’s world, discussing her latest single ‘Sleepy,’ her foray into the Sex Education universe, the roots of her musical journey, and much more. Join us as we uncover the multifaceted talent and inspiring spirit of Anthony Lexa in this conversation. Read on for the full interview below.

Hello Anthony! How does having your new track, ‘Sleepy’, out in the world feel?

‘Sleepy’ is a single that is especially close to my heart. It’s one of my favourite songs I’ve ever written musically and particularly raw and honest in tone, so I feel super vulnerable sending it out into the world. Hopefully, this vulnerability will help others to relate to the song and see themselves in the content. That’s all I can hope for as an artist.

‘Sleepy’ is an experimental electronic banger, that creates different new sonic universes; it reminded me of going through the 4 stages of sleep. How would you describe the universes within this song?

I love this comparison! ‘Sleepy’ follows on from my previous single ‘Early Nights’, and I wanted to highlight that sense of restlessness and avoidance juxtaposing the feeling of wholesomeness and peace in ‘Early Nights’. The almost creepy timbre throughout the verses reflects the discomfort of being stuck in bed as an insomniac, with your brain rushing to dark places. Then I wanted the bridge to be in a major key, and highlight those cheesy, pop-inspired vocals to mirror the feeling of forced peace; the “please can my brain just shush and let me sleep now” feeling. The heavy production and more hip-hop-inspired chorus just emphasises that feeling of desperation and isolation whilst being awake, alone at night, just wanting someone to distract from my brain’s chaos. Hearing that those universes translate to my listeners is a real compliment.

‘Sleepy’ is for you a space to process insomnia and your busy mind. How are you sleeping these days?

Sleep? I don’t think I’ve heard of her. All jokes aside, I think being a queer music artist takes a lot of work and with a busy schedule, naturally comes longer days. But now I think I’m starting to vibe with my lack of sleep. Who needs more than six hours? Not me!

You have been experimenting with electronic sounds for this release. How was the creative process and where did you look for inspiration?

Writing for music is therapy, for me. Being able to creatively explore the complexity of mental health and queerness through music is cathartic, and honestly, I have a selfish creative process. It involves me, a keyboard and a microphone… that’s about it. ‘Sleepy’ was one that started with the haunting sample I downloaded from an old sleep playlist I had when I really struggled with insomnia. Taking it to the studio is always a much more fun experience, though. I had the pleasure of working with Mark Elliot, again, on this single. We just had two days in Orla Gartland’s London studio, where we experimented with different timbres and played with the contrast between the verses and choruses. It led to some super cool guitar riffs and new heavy beats being created between the two of us. I’m so grateful for his input.

Who are some of your music influences?

‘Sleepy’ was first written in the midst of my Willow Kayne obsession. I believe you can hear her influence; the delicate balance between hip-hop, Brit-pop and chaos helps create a unique sonic landscape to tell the story. BENEE is also a huge inspiration of mine, particularly ‘Bagels’ and ‘Green Honda’ made me go… “I want to make music like that”. Other artists I loved most then were Tkay Maidza, Hamzaa, SG Lewis and Miraa May, which I can tell impacted the writing process of ‘Sleepy’.

In ‘Sleepy’ you sing, “I don’t wanna sleep, I don’t feel like dreaming, I don’t wanna talk about how I’m feeling…Too much in my head so I let you eat it”. The song is a space to vent, but not a space to dream. Anything you want to vent about?

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it’s taking an especially large amount of strength to stay positive at the moment. When there are people who fund genocide and use trans people as scapegoats, it doesn’t exactly instil huge amounts of hope in society. But I’m glad I have art as an outlet to vent, and hopefully give others a sense of catharsis, too, so that in life, I can protect my energy and focus on the small things that bring me peace. Remember, happiness is resistance. No one can take my smile from me.

Although the song is not a space to dream, what are your dreams?

Even in my insomnia-ridden brain, I definitely have enough space for big dreams. Music and acting have always been the methods by which I process life and explore myself, so it never even crossed my mind that I could be doing something else. My dream is to continue being as inspired by art as I am now. With new bands like Fizz, and new music from my favourite artists like Olivia Dean and Fred Again.., I just keep being pushed to take my own art further. That’s all I can ask for in this industry, to keep evolving, learning and being filled with passion.

The last months have been huge for your career, and with Felix Mufti, you made history as the first trans couple in the final season of Netflix’s Sex Education it has been a monumental moment for the trans community, and especially for trans women. How does it feel to be able to represent the trans community and trans women on such a wider scale?

Being part of an already established series, with as much gravitas as Sex Education, it certainly can feel overwhelming. All I focussed on was my attempt to embody the representation I would have wanted to see myself growing up. I am, by no means, a role model, but if my commitment to honesty and vulnerability in acting has helped people feel seen, understood and normalised in any way, then that’s all I could ask for.

How did you prepare for the role of Abbi in the series? What traits do you have in common with her?

I am the actor who believes that you can only ever really play yourself. There will always be others who can play someone else better, but you’re the only person who can play yourself the best. So, I definitely took parts of myself to bring Abbi to life. I also think that a lot of us can relate to her fear of abandonment, worrying that if we’re not “perfect”, then we will lose the ones we love. But I don’t think I have the energy to be that positive all the time, and certainly not to medal in other’s lives like Abbi does, bless her.

You mentioned how visibility is so important to you; how do you think the character of Abbi and you being a representation for the queer and trans community have impacted the media and the popular perception?

Abbi is trans. But more than that, Abbi is human. I think that’s what felt so empowering about being part of ‘Sex Education’, as I wasn’t just playing a character whose only purpose is to be queer in a straight story and show how traumatised she is. It feels hopeful to be part of a moment in mainstream media where trans and queer characters have depth and complexities. Like Abbi’s religious storyline made a wonderful impact on LGBT+ viewers, and I, too, related to her desperation to knit together her queer identity and commitment to her faith.

You are an eclectic artists – both as a singer and and actor. What do you hope for people to take away from listening to your music and watching you act?

All that I can hope for is that people feel seen within my art. I want my music, especially, to be like a warm hug to those in the LGBT+ community who feel isolated, and just to remind them that they’re far from alone. I believe in them and appreciate them more than they could ever know for listening to my songs. I also want to be a reminder of all the queer creativity out there. I hope people see my name or hear my songs, and it encourages them to discover more LGBT+ artists, attend local queer shows or start creating their own art as a result. That’s my ultimate dream.

Listen to Anthony Lexa’s ‘Sleepy’ on all streaming platforms. Watch

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