We chat with 23-year-old rising star, singer songwriter Alex de Vries, who last month, released his track Take Me For A Ride in a video featuring two male lovers.
We love your video for Take Me For A Ride. What was your thought process in bringing it into creation?
I just wanted to show something that was authentic and from a perspective that isn’t really seen.
How has it been received?
Generally well. There has been trolls but there always will be. There was someone who told me to go and kill myself, which sucks, because online there’s not as much accountability so people can get away with anything. He had a picture of Hitler as his profile picture, and you know the saying: “The biggest sinners make the loudest cries”.
What’s the interest been in the track?
It’s quite a slow song, so it’s perhaps not as marketable as something like tropical house. But people are saying it’s catchy. And my cousin, who is a DJ in South Africa, is working on a remix of it – he loves it.
Have your parents been supportive of your music?
My parents have been very supportive, sharing it with their friends and telling everyone about it. I’m not sure about the new music because my family is very religious. When they heard the new song for the first time it was like, “Your Dad’s not very happy with you,” and I thought, “Oh no, what’s wrong?”
The response was, “Your song’s very sexual, do really you want to be known for that?” and I thought to myself that it’s all part of life, so who really cares? We haven’t talked about it since. I’m just gonna live my life whether anyone is okay with it or not, I’m just going to live my life.
What would you say to young people who are being challenged because of their sexuality or gender, particularly those pursuing their creative passions?
Be authentically yourself. Your own experience is what makes your story worth telling.
You describe yourself as “a gay mixed-race African of European, South East Asian and Jewish descent, raised in a distinctly Pacific setting”, how do you think this imprints itself in your life?
I see myself as a DNA marker of all humanity in that culturally, I do feel I belong everywhere. I am really interested in my own cultural history and I adopted New Zealand as my home. I’ve also done research on Māori culture, so I have come to appreciate the diversity here.
Do you feel unique and special?
It’s nice knowing that even the way I look is quite vastly different. There is this idea that there’s only one valid queer experience, and that’s the young white man who’s attractive and muscley. I think of myself as the direct opposite of that. In my Grindr study, this attractive, muscley aspiration sets off a negative dialogue, where saying “no fats, no fems, no Asians” is an alright thing to say.
What’s next in your music?
I have written the album and am in the process of recording it. It’s called Gloriana, which is exploration of self, generally told through love songs, through the eyes of someone else and through the experience of being in love.
Check out Take Me For A Ride below: