Amplifying art

Paige+Alyssa%2C+singer-songwriter+and+producer%2C+was+born+and+raised+in+St.+Louis.+

Photo courtesy of Paige Alyssa

Paige Alyssa, singer-songwriter and producer, was born and raised in St. Louis.

“Miles Davis and Tina Turner [are from St. Louis]. Nelly is from [St. Louis]. All these people have had major moments in music in their respective genres. St. Louis really [has] so many great musicians here, and once you get into the scene you realize you’re just surrounded by giants.”

It’s no coincidence that St. Louis’ hockey team is named the ‘Blues,’ or that the city is home to The National Blues Museum. Music legends and innovators like Chuck Berry, Tina Turner and Nelly spent many of their formative years in the city, transforming St. Louis into the music hub it is today. Whether it’s pop, rap, jazz or anything in between, St. Louis owes much of its culture to Black musicians. Today, artists like Paige Alyssa are contributing to the rich music scene St. Louis offers.

It’s important to lift our voices up right now”

— Paige Alyssa

Paige Alyssa, singer-songwriter and producer, was born and raised in St. Louis. Though Alyssa studied jazz music at Webster University, they take influence from gospel artists to video game soundtracks, and a wide variety of musicians such as Janet Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald and Faith Evans. 

“I’d say St. Louis has some of the best musicians in the entire world,” Alyssa said. “If you study music in St. Louis, you can go anywhere and be able to hang just as tough as someone from New York or Los Angeles. [The scene] is really rich.”

This year, Alyssa put on a “Juneteenth Jam” benefit livestream for QTPOC: STL, an organization providing a space for LGBTQ people of color. Alyssa said it was the first time they really celebrated Juneteenth, and looks forward to making the jam an annual event. They also took part in “werQfest,” a virtual celebration of Black, queer musicians organized by fellow St. Louis-based musician TreG and his husband Shelton Boyd where donations went to QTPOC: STL and Williams and Associates Inc, a clinic providing health education and medical care to minorites. Alyssa said the event was important since there was no Pride festival this year due to COVID-19, and it also “amplified queer, Black and brown voices.”

And that’s what I’ll continue to do, just be a vessel for kindness and radical joy.”

— Paige Alyssa

“It’s important to lift our voices up right now,” Alyssa said. “There’s not a lot of platforms for queer and trans Black folks and brown folks, and a lot of us face violence in different ways because of who we are. It’s cool to have a platform that centers us and gives us an opportunity not only to have our art out there [but for our art to also] be amplified.”

After not releasing music and living in Los Angeles, Alyssa is happy to be back in St. Louis close to family and friends, and they have released three versions of their song “What’s the Move” after revamping and adding a bridge to a hidden track from their 2018 album “Who is Paige Alyssa?” Alyssa also is looking forward to future projects.

“I want [my next record] to be a collaborative project between myself and my friends,” Alyssa said. “That’s near future, but honestly as long as I continue to inspire people through music and uplifting Black and brown queer and trans folks, I feel like I’ve already served my purpose. And that’s what I’ll continue to do, just be a vessel for kindness and radical joy.”

I try to write from a place where Black people, queer folks and trans folks are just accepted.”

— Paige Alyssa

“What’s the Move” is a catchy and upbeat crush song in which Alyssa questions what to do next with their love interest. Alyssa said approaching music with positivity, rather than a negative or angry approach, is better for them mentally. 

“My philosophy is that I know people who look like me right now are facing violence, and I don’t know how to articulate that in a quality way [through] my music,” Alyssa said. “So I try to write from a place where Black people, queer folks and trans folks are just accepted.”

Listeners can stream Paige Alyssa’s latest record “What’s the Move” and their other projects on all streaming platforms.