As the State of California gears up to re-open on June 15th, 13-year-old LA-based singer Alexander James Rodriguez releases a feel-good, blue-sky, and fun-packed anthem to celebrate all things, “California.”
Written by the bubbly teen, the vivacious essence of this track is based on his own experiences; an ode to California if you will. Embodying all of his favorite activities to do on the West Coast, his heightened urge to explore is showcased through the visuals at hand.
The manner in which “California” produces sun-kissed instrumentation that taps into infectious grooves sure to have you moving is quite remarkable. You’re immediately invited into the warmth of not only the Golden State but the optimistic energy that is propelled throughout the sonic and visual pairing. Belting out a charismatic reveal of the unmatched persona he buoyantly exemplifies, you can’t help but get lost in the vocals of Alexander James Rodriguez, as he takes you on a tour through Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, Hollywood Boulevard, and the Hollywood Sign.
Incorporating his personal beloved hot spots, we feel his love for California thrive in this upbeat showcase of celebration. For us, the brilliant color schemes take over the cinematic component as the bright hues match the energy portrayed by the emerging artist himself. Eagerly embarking on his positive outlook and journey to show off his home, Alexander James Rodriguez has us cashing in on the breathtaking views and undeniable talent.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Alexander James Rodriguez, we absolutely love the energy that “California,” gives off. When writing about a place that you love so much, how did you find the writing process for this song? Could you please take us into a bit?
Hi guys, first off, a huge thank you for having me, and for supporting my journey. I am British so was not born in California. I have basically adopted the State of California and all that it offers since being in Los Angeles. Of course, I love London and my Spanish roots – I’m able to appreciate them all. When I first heard the music, or beat, for the song it was really tough coming up with the melody. It was high energy, had a big high hat in the opening and there wasn’t much room for us to find something – so I actually used computer software to slow the music down a little, then from there, I found the pre-chorus melody, “Coz this life’s a party…” – then sped it back up to the original BPM. Once I had that melody idea, I shared it with my mom, and we started piecing together the rest of the song on Voice Notes. The hook was the easiest, “It’s California!" In the first verse, I wanted to showcase everything I do myself in California. For my 13th birthday last year, my mom bought me a surfboard (which was so awesome she hid it at our neighbor's house), I have a few skateboards, including a cool Ghost Long Board and I love to wear Vans. With those notes personal to me, came verse one, and some of the bridge. Verse two is much shorter, and more of a comparison for Miami and New York, with LA having it all. It took 2 hours to write in total. The fastest song to write and the longest to musically finalize! I recorded the song, November 11th, 2020 in North Hollywood, but it wasn’t fully ready until February 20th this year.
You hit up so many amazing places in the Golden State! How long did it take you to film the music video for “California?"
I wanted to showcase more! When we finished the song, which went through two different producers, multiple mixes, and two versions of mastering before the song you hear today, we wanted to take a road trip from Venice Beach all the way up to San Francisco. With COVID still raging, we opted to use just one small camera and stay local around Los Angeles.
Day one of filming, it was a Saturday, we arrived at Venice Beach and it was so overcast. There was no “Sun is out and the waves are high” per the lyrics. We ended up having to re-shoot another day but more 12pm once the sun had burnt off the Pacific Ocean mist. We grabbed footage over a few days and around my school schedule. I’m in 8th grade. We just filmed bit by bit weather and school permitted. Once we had my performance shots in Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, and the Hollywood sign we started to piece, with my mom’s editor in England, the B-roll, and the rest of the California footage. I have been so lucky to have driven with my mom up the Big Sur, stay in Cambria, visit Hearst Castle, and bike ride over Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, to Sausalito, so selecting the footage was easy. The drum roll over the Hollywood Sign was all our editor Steve in London and the bag scene coming out of Bijan Boutique on Rodeo Drive was our nod to the movie “Pretty Woman” - the lyrics are “like a scene from the movies…” The music video is really a visual of the lyrics.
Could you please share a bit about the team that helped you bring this vision to life? What was it like working with them?
My team is super small. My mom and I mostly write the songs, plus Brian on camera in LA and Steve in the UK on editing. The record producer who really helped finish the song was Gemini Muziq and he is amazing. I am working with him on a few more songs coming out this year – including my hybrid Spanish–English song, ‘Bella Loquita’ out next. I enjoy working with this small group because my voice is heard. I have a say in what I write about, how the music goes, my input has value, and I am very much part of the process. My opinion is considered every step of the way. I may not always get a unanimous yes, but I am heard. So many artists my age, and even older, aren’t given that much freedom. It’s important to me though, as I am the one representing my music and out there promoting it. I have to feel proud of what I am singing, and I am proud of the final product of ‘California’.
What are you hoping that your listeners take away from the music video and song for “California?"
Oh my, it would be incredible if my song was the new State of California anthem. I would love it if the music video encouraged people to visit California, and road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway. I am a huge supporter of getting outside and exploring. The Big Sur is incredible, the water is so blue, and I guess I would want everyone to feel they should either visit California or if they live here already, get out there and explore. Being a tourist in your own state is kinda’ cool. I’m a tourist every day here in California. There is so much to see and do.
What draws you to California?
For me, I love California for its sunshine and blue skies. For its surfing and skateboarding along boardwalks, for its mountains and lakes. For the endless things, you can do. I swim, surf, skate, paddleboard, snowboard, hike, bike ride, and ride horses (my horse is here now too from England). I love Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear, Mammoth, San Diego, Lake Tahoe, Alcatraz, Sausalito, Golden Gate Park, and the windmills, the Big Sur, the seals by Hearst Castle, the incredible beaches – the list is endless. Did I mention the sunshine? My Instagram has so many photos of me exploring California it was inevitable I would release the song, "California." Who knows one day maybe I will be the Governor – but for now I hope everyone enjoys the song and music video!