With the year of 2015 almost coming to an end, we metalheads must keep on rockin’ as loud as we can, and in order to spice things up a little let’s talk about a stunning ebony girl full of attitude, energy and passion for heavy music. Hailing from Clarksville, Tennesee, United States, the fifth largest city in the state behind Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga, respectively, breaking down all gender and racial barriers comes the beautiful Alexis Brown, the electrifying frontwoman of American Metalcore band Straight Line Stitch and one of the most prominent black women in heavy music today.
Alexis started in music in her childhood playing violin and the cello, and of course she has always been a singer, with her background being from all kinds, genres and subgenres of music. Despite having such a hardcore attitude on stage with SLS, Alexis hasn’t been into metal music since the beginning: because she is a black girl, she thought she should be doing R&B music instead of anything else, but thanks to her stepfather and her brother she started developing her love and passion for Heavy Metal. Besides, Alexis herself thought that if she had continued with R&B, she would have become just one more black girl doing that. Not that she doesn’t enjoy the unique voice of R&B singers such as Billie Holiday and Stevie Nicks, but she truly wanted to do and be something different in her life and career, and metal ended up being the perfect fit for her vocal range and style.
Before joining SLS, Alexis was part of a Hard Rock band called FSN for five years, and she still remains friends with all original members. After FSN traded out some concerts with SLS, she fell in love with their music, and after some talks with the drummer for SLS she was invited to join the band. A couple of weeks later she ended up accepting the challenge and moving to Knoxville. Formed in 2000, SLS had just released a demo and an EP before she joined the band in 2003, which basically means there’s no SLS without Alexis Brown and vice-versa today. After her debut album with the band in 2006, entitled To Be Godlike, she has already recorded the EP The Word Made Flesh (2007) and the self-titled EP Straight Line Stitch (2014), two full-length albums named When Skies Wash Ashore (2008) and The Fight of Our Lives (2011), and more recently a new EP entitled Transparency (2015). Although she’s always on tour with SLS, mainly around the United States and some very specific dates in the UK, Canada and the Netherlands, our tattooed goddess mentioned she would love to take her music to completely different and distant places like Hawaii, Australia, Japan, South America and Russia.
Because Metalcore and Hardcore always have a huge focus on vocals, SLS were very lucky to find Alexis in their path and to be able to have her join the band. Not only her guttural vocals are amazing, as you can see in the powerful tracks Conversion and Remission, but also her clean singing is way above average as in the smooth One Reason. You can also take a listen at her awesome vocal range and performance in other excellent songs like Black Veil, Taste of Ashes and Never See the Day.
When asked about the increasing exposure and acceptance women in metal have been getting in the past few years, our high-minded diva mentioned that although this is indeed very positive, we shouldn’t forget women have always had a huge impact in heavy music, with names such as Wendy O. Williams, Joan Jett and Lita Ford being some of the pioneers, rocking our world for decades already.
Alexis has a very eclectic taste for music: her iPod contains music by Drake, Bee Gees, Barbara Streisand (by the way, she loves her voice), an English Rock band from the 60’s called The Zombies (famous for their debut single She’s Not There, from 1964), as well as many new and indie bands. In regards to her hobbies outside music, she mentioned she loves watching old horror movies and reading lots of Harlequin romance books.
And finally, when asked about the craziest thing that has ever happened to her on the road, Alexis said that she met and kissed somebody famous once, but she didn’t mention who that person was out of respect for his privacy. I guess the question here is not just who the guy was, because that’s too bland and do not represent how blessed he ended up being. We should scream the question, it has to represent what it is to be kissed by such an amazing girl, something like “WHO WAS THAT MOTHERFUCKIN’ LUCKY BASTARD?”
“To me every show is memorable be it good or bad. It’s memorable when the whole crowd is singing all the words to our music, and it’s also memorable when some stupid heckler tells me to show my boobs.” – Alexis Brown