ALEXA WILDING SKYE PARROTT DOUBLE OR NOTHING

ALEXA WILDING

INTERVIEW

PhotographED IN NEW YORK CITY
by Skye Parrott

 

LITTLE IS KNOWN ABOUT ALEXA WILDING, THE 19TH CENTURY MUSE TO PRE-RAPHAELITE ARTIST AND POET DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI — EXCEPT THAT SHE FORGED A DEEP, SEEMINGLY PLATONIC BOND WITH THE PAINTER, WHICH STOOD APART FROM THE EXPLICIT TRYSTS ROSSETTI FAMOUSLY FORMED WITH MANY OF HIS OTHER MODELS. NEVERTHELESS, THE WORKING-CLASS WOMAN, WITH HER AUBURN HAIR AND ENIGMATIC GAZE, WAS THE PROTAGONIST OF MORE OF ROSSETTI’S FINISHED WORKS THAN HIS MORE RENOWNED SUBJECTS. 

 

Over a century later, the New York-based singer-songwriter Alexa Wilding appropriated the storied moniker, substituting her namesake's poignant stare with haunting lyrics and vocals. We first met the contemporary Alexa soon after, in 2009, on a fantastical photoshoot that saw her channeling another bygone character: Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, “Orlando as a woman, that is.” She had just debuted her eponymous EP and spoke of using music as a kind of companion, for herself and others. Today, Alexa is releasing her third album, titled “Wolves,” written at the bedside of one her infant twin sons as he was — ultimately successfully — undergoing cancer treatment. And while the harrowing experience and seven years of life that have transpired since that initial collaboration have undoubtably transformed Alexa's spirit, she speaks of her new music in analogous terms: “Strangely,” she says, “the songs kept us company, and we both made it out, happy, healthy and free."

 
 
 
ALEXA WILDING SKYE PARROTT DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 
ALEXA WILDING SKYE PARROTT DOUBLE OR NOTHING

 

 

 

IF YOU COULD RELIVE A DAY OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I'd relive the minor ones: days off on tour, when a new city laid itself out before me, or idle days of losing myself in a book or recipe. Mostly I daydream about lazy days past, now that life is so full!

WHAT IS A DECISION THAT CHANGED THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE?
Becoming a mother snapped me into focus as an artist, a woman and a person.

WHAT'S ONE DECISION THAT YOU WOULD GO BACK AND CHANGE IF YOU COULD?
There isn't one  mostly a handful of blunders where I didn't speak up for myself and, as a result, doors closed when they could have opened.

 

 

ALEXA WILDING SKYE PARROTT DOUBLE OR NOTHING

 

A SUMMER MORNING SONG

 
 
 

A SONG FROM THE FIRST ALBUM YOU OWNED

 
 
ALEXA WILDING SKYE PARROTT DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 
ALEXA WILDING SKYE PARROTT DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 

YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD PICTURE
 

 
ALEXA WILDING DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 

 

 

A QUOTE YOU LOVE?
"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in"
  – Leonard Cohen "Anthem"

YOUR FAVORITE BOOK?
MFK Fisher's "The Gastronomical Me"

 

 

A LOVE STORY

 
 
 

YOUR MOST PRECIOUS OBJECT

ALEXA WILDING DOUBLE OR NOTHING

 

 

 

A PICTURE OF FREEDOM

ALEXA WILDING DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 

A SONG YOU HAVE LISTENED TO 10 TIMES IN A ROW

A SAD SONG

 

 

A SCENE THAT IS MADE BY THE MUSIC

 

 

WHAT DO YOU WISH WE TALKED ABOUT MORE?
Fear. My son, Lou, is a cancer survivor, so as a family we have stared fear in the face. Fear is a gift for it shows us what parts of ourselves need love. We should spend more time talking about what we are afraid of, what we have seen and what we hope to never see again. Fear, like love, connects us to every human that ever was. 

IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ANYONE ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE?
Joni Mitchell.

 

 

A PERFECT STYLE MOMENT

ALEXA WILDING DOUBLE OR NOTHING

 

 

YOUR FAVORITE NEW SONG

 

 

 

YOUR FAVORITE BODY PART

ALEXA WILDING DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 

 

AN IMAGE THAT WAS ON YOUR WALL AS A TEENAGER

ALEXA WILDING DOUBLE OR NOTHING

 

 

A SCENE FROM A CHILDREN'S MOVIE THAT MAKES YOU CRY

 

 

WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST KISS? WHO WAS IT WITH?
On Barrow Street, with my first love. I don't know what I loved more  —  him or the fireplace smell of the Village at night, probably both the same.

WHAT WOULD YOUR 16-YEAR-OLD SELF THINK OF YOUR LIFE TODAY?
I think she would be happy that I'm doing all that I hoped to do, albeit with some crazy twists in the road. 

 

 

SOMEONE YOU LOVE

ALEXA WILDING DOUBLE OR NOTHING

 

 

WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT PARENTING BOYS?
Encouraging their softness and quieting their innate aggression, without wounding their spirit. The physicality of boys is something so foreign to me, and I am always, as their mother, caught in the crosshairs. Lots of ripped hems and busted toes.

WHAT IS THE BEST PART? 
When they are still, boys deeply love their mamas. I was told this, and it is true. 

 

 

 

 

WHAT THE FUTURE LOOKS LIKE

ALEXA WILDING DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 

A PICTURE YOU WISH YOU'D TAKEN

ALEXA WILDING DOUBLE OR NOTHING

YOUR LAST GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH

 

 

A SONG YOU'RE EMBARASSED TO LOVE

A SONG YOU WISH YOU WROTE

 

 

WHAT DOES THE WORD "FEMINIST" MEAN TO YOU?
I believe in a woman's right to choose in every sense of the word  —  how she lives, acts, desires and loves. Hopefully this choosing will continue to change how we move in the world. 

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE FEMALE ICONS?
Patti Smith, Stevie Nicks, Nico... singing mystics with style.

 

 

 A PLACE YOU HAVE CALLED HOME

ALEXA WILDING DOUBLE OR NOTHING

 

 

THE LAST THING ONLINE THAT MADE YOU LAUGH

 

THE LAST LINK YOU SENT

 

A LINK YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE

 

 

HOW WOULD YOU HOPE YOUR SONS DESCRIBE YOU WHEN THEY GROW UP?
I hope they will describe me as brave and ever-loving.

WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?
Every breath my children take. My husband's love, my family, my brilliant friends. The music that keeps coming. Mother Earth.

 

 


PERFECT COOL

 

HOW DO YOU SAY GOODBYE?
I love you.
 


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