Alex Lynn, better known as Alex The Astronaut, is such a gentle and even-tempered young woman that it’s hard not to like her. During her recent first Australian tour she got to support Dustin Tebbutt and Lisa Mitchell (one of this authors favourite artists) in a homecoming that she likely never expected. You see Alex recently returned from studying thermodynamics and astrophysics at Long Island University in the United States, where she was on a soccer scholarship, her first real place away from home. As a teen she immersed herself in learning how to play the guitar, and while at it, why not throw her hand at songwriting too. Fast-forward to her dorm days at Long Island, Alex began to experiment and craft songs inspired by the world around her. She tested herself at open mic nights and small venues in Manhattan and felt roused enough to send her ideas back home. The rest they say is history, well not quite, but Alex is one of an array of exciting young female Australian artists, that hopes to leave her mark on today’s music scene.
I reached out to Alex recently during her tour with Tebbutt and Mitchell and was buoyed by her enthusiasm to being interviewed for Rearview Mirror. Anyway, without further ado, here are some of the things we talked about.
I am thrilled Alex that you dropped by my humble blog. Taking a chance on someone or something new, reminds me of the story when you emailed Greenwich Village jazz club the Bitter End, to see if you could have a spot on their songwriters night. To your surprise they said yes. How much confidence did that experience give you?
It only gave me confidence because I got through the experience haha. I was very shaky and awkward and I had no idea what to say between songs but when I got to the end of my little 15 minute slot everyone clapped and I survived so I thought it could only get better from there. I signed up for more songwriting nights and gained a bit more confidence everytime.
Your singles Already Home and Rockstar City talk about amongst other things the mundane nature of life, New York and getting over stage fright. Is music a reflection of yourself and your experiences, as much it is about good songwriting?
I think it is, I like writing songs about things that I think are important to share with others so sometimes that’ll be about something I’ve seen or something I’ve experienced myself.
I am in awe of anyone who is not afraid to chase their dreams. You travelled to New York with a real driving ambition. Is it safe to say you were always obsessively interested in mathematics and physics, something I believe you graduated in recently? Is a career in that direction on the back burner for now (no pun intended)?
Not at all I didn’t like physics in high school and I was always pretty confident at maths but I didn’t enjoy it until I got to Uni. I did an introduction to physics class and learned to apply maths to really cool real life physics situations like with relativity and then I changed my degree from biology to physics and the rest is history! I want to eventually do my PhD in astrophysics but yeah that’s on hold for a little while.
I have to ask the inevitable soccer question. I’m a huge Arsenal and Melbourne Victory supporter and my favourite player is New Zealander Marcos Rojas (Melbourne Victory). He too, like yourself is resilient and fast, a real gun right-winger. How did you fall in love with soccer?
I started playing when I was four and I just loved the feeling of running with the ball and scoring goals. I did all the camps and trialed for lots of teams from when I was really little so I think that’s where I learnt that you have to be a bit persistent if you want to be successful. When I didn’t get teams I tried out I realized that if you want to do something it takes a lot of hard work and I think that kind of carried through to how I think about music.
There is something about you Alex, that reminds me of Lisa Mitchell, in the sense that you are both very personable and sincere songwriters. I’ve often also thought Lisa writes with her heart sewn on her sleeve. It must be a thrill supporting Lisa Mitchell on her Distant Call Tour?
Yeah it was amazing I had so much fun. Lisa and Dustin were both so supportive and kind to me it was the best first tour I could have imagined. They were both really inspiring to watch play, I learnt a lot from it.
Paul Kelly is an icon of the Australian music scene. Like Bob Dylan, he straddles folk, rock and country with ease and grace. Tell me a little bit about your admiration for Paul Kelly?
I learnt to write songs from listening to lots of music and my parents always played Paul Kelly’s CDs in the car so that was the first music I was introduced to. I also remember hearing “Blue” by Eiffel 65 but that didn’t leave such an impact haha. I loved how succinct and clear all of Paul’s lyrics are and I do my best to do that with my songs. He’s a legend and his music is one of the reasons I wanted to learn to write songs.
What do you hope your pop infused/ folk melodies on your new EP To Whom It May Concern will bring to audiences across the country, especially off the back of your single Rockstar City?
I hope they’ll bring some sort of optimism and happiness to audiences. I know that’s a lot to hope for but I really want to make a difference with people and I think the best way I can do that is through writing stories that let people feel connected with others.
More so an ever I have embraced the spirit and rising talent of a new generation of strong female artists here in Australia. Ali Barter recently said herself, it was a great time to be a female artist. Alex Lahey, Julia Jacklin and Amy Shark are all making wonderful inroads into this tough industry. Do people have a certain expectation of you? Or do you place expectations on yourself?
Yeah it’s incredible to play some part in the music industry amongst such strong female artists. It’s really encouraging to see so many females being so successful at the moment, I don’t really worry about the expectations it’s just a cool thing to be apart of.
Alex, can you tell us something surprising about yourself?
I’m terrified of snakes and I’ve just started playing *AFL. I’ve been playing winger and I scored a goal in my first game! I also get very squashed in the tackles so I’ve need to do some push ups and weights but I’ve been having fun!
Finally, your stage name Alex The Astronaut is as cool as Annie Clark’s St. Vincent or Olivia Bartlett’s Olympia. Can you tell us briefly how that came about?
I’m interested in space and I also like exploring so it just made sense. I came up with it when I was away in the U.S doing exploring over there and it’s made way for many astronaut related puns!! To infinity and beyond!!!!!
Alex heads off to London in a few months in support of Lisa Mitchell at Bush Hall in London on 25th September 2017. Her wonderful EP To Whom It May Concern, is out now through Minkowski Records. Also check out To Whom It May Concern on iTunes.
You can connect with Alex The Astronaut via her Facebook page or twitter feed @AtheAstronaut. You can also visit or contact Alex The Astronaut via her website.
Photo credits: The press photo of Alex The Astronaut is copyrighted and courtesy of Alex Lynn’s team. It cannot be used without Original Matters expressed permission. I am not the uploader of the You Tube clips embedded.
*Australian Football League (AFL) or Aussie rules is an indigenous game us Aussies play with an egg shaped ball, not the round ball game known as soccer!