Griffen Alexander
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Griffen Alexander

Kansas City, Missouri, United States | SELF

Kansas City, Missouri, United States | SELF
Band Pop Acoustic

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"Griffen Alexander: The Sound and the Sea"

Five words to describe Griffen’s music: light, refreshing, deep, expansive, poetic. He
first drew the comparison to the sea, and I’m going to maintain the analogy. While
his music is an acoustic pop blend, his lyrics have a nice range of telling stories on the
surface and those from the tumultuous depths of his artistic heart.

“Mississippi Water” is the first shore, the first track, while “Science & Religion” is the
far reaching shore finishing the album. The first one is the sandy one where anything is
possible, especially all that you dream of. The other shore is a rocky one, full of doubt
and fear. You look across the vast expanse of water and don’t know how you made it
across to where you are now. Where did you get off course and how did it go so wrong?
And every track in between is a wave that tells a story, carrying the listener from one
shore to the other.

“Mississippi Water” is the catchiest song on the album, one that I enjoyed so much for
the melody that it took me several listens to even care what it was all about. Maybe it’s
about that stage of infatuation where you imagine the other person everywhere you go. I
don’t know. I could be wrong. Regardless, it sounds good.

“Feels So Right” has that same likable factor to it, an airiness and good-natured ness that
I loved. This is the beach. This is an acoustic guitar around a fire or a drive near the
ocean with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. He even sings, “You’re a girl/
From L.A./I’m a boy/From this Midwest town,” but he has so captured what I think of
when I imagine California.

“Back to Good” and “Riley,” both found near opposite shores, are glimpse of the depths
below and the stories they hold. “Back to Good” tells the story of a girl who is lost, but
is present enough for some meaningful realizations. “I’m so confused anymore/I need
to find my way/Back to good/Before I can ever/Find my way to you.” I love that he’s
listening to her and wants to love her so badly but yet doesn’t understand in his heart yet
that she has just said something very profound and very mature.

And then there’s “Riley.” This is both from a deep and dark place and while I came
to my own conclusion about her story, I want you to come to yours when you listen.
Griffen Alexander must be a pretty great guy for girls to trust him enough with these
truths they share for they aren’t happy confessions.

“When I Start Giving In” and “Hold My Hand” are songs full of doubt and hope. “When
I Start Giving In” doesn’t always sound positive, but I believe we have to have dark
moments to appreciate the light. So even though he sings “The weight is bearing down/
And my arms are giving out…” I don’t think he’ll fully give up. After all, he mentions “a

mom that prays,” and that means more than he can comprehend. “Hold My Hand” is
happier. “We’ll get through this/I promise.” This song was one of my favorites for the
lyrics “I know it can be so dark/But I know there’s still a light in you.” If he can see it in
someone else, I know he can find it in himself, keeping those waves from crashing over
him in “When I Start Giving In.”

“Science & Religion” is that rocky shore, but it ties up the album nicely. After the
realization has dawned on him that the relationship has evolved into something he
doesn’t necessarily want, he urges her to “hold on” and to accept that “it doesn’t have
to be where we’re heading now.” This may be the shore they traveled to, but it isn’t the
final destination. The course can be altered, a different shore can be found.

Please visit www.griffenalexander.com for more information. Once signed to a label,
Griffen’s The Sound and the Sea is an independent release, paid for by a grassroots
effort. Even if it was available on the internet for (legal) downloads, I discourage it this
time. You want to go old school with this album; the packaging reflects the time and care
put into this music. It’s a nice touch and a nice surprise. - Relate Magazine


"Cool Album Cuts: George Strait, Toby Keith And More"

I must've listened to more than 100 new albums this fall. Along the way, I jotted down my favorite track from each one on a piece of notebook paper. Of course, my scribbles spilled into the margins and onto another whole sheet.

Some of the tunes I liked are from country superstars, while others came from singer-songwriters and independent bands I'd never heard of. Here's a recap of the music that caught my attention in late 2011.

First off, I think George Strait's new album, Here for a Good Time, is top-notch, and "The House Across the Bay" sounds like a long-lost classic from his 1980s catalog. Toby Keith takes a nostalgic look at his youth in the well-written "Clancy's Tavern," the title track to his new album. For you romantics, don't miss Vince Gill's lovely ballad, "Who Wouldn't Fall in Love With You," from his Guitar Slinger project.

My top track on Miranda Lambert's Four the Record is "Same Old You," a catchy and clever tune written by her friend, Brandi Carlile. I'm also enjoying Steve Holy's "Until the Rain Stops," David Nail's "Songs for Sale" (with Lee Ann Womack on harmony) and Joe Nichols' radio-ready "Somebody's Mama." Meanwhile, LeAnn Rimes could break your heart with "I Can't Be Myself," a Merle Haggard chestnut. And don't miss Faith Hill singing with Tony Bennett on the sweet standard, "The Way You Look Tonight."

Now let's take a brief look at two collaborative projects. The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams pairs Williams' long-lost lyrics with new melodies from first-rate musicians. Although the whole thing is interesting, I especially liked Alan Jackson's "You've Been Lonesome, Too" and Patty Loveless' "You're Through Fooling Me." And these days, I'm often listening to This One's for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark for its exceptional musical tributes from Shawn Colvin, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, Willie Nelson and many more.

If you want to hear who's new in country music, check out the Dirt Drifters' "Always a Reason," Casey James' "Let's Don't Call It a Night" and Jason Jones' "She Was." Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth also turned in a wicked performance of "Wreck You" on her debut country album.

For longtime country fans, quite a few familiar names released new music this fall. My picks include Merle Haggard's wry "Working in Tennessee," the Kentucky Headhunters' feisty "Roll On Little Pretty," Willie Nelson's rendition of "Roly Poly" and a fun rerecording of the Oak Ridge Boys' "No Matter How High." (I think Willie should cover that one, too.)

I'm always astonished by the swarm of singer-songwriters with new music. Among the stacks, Ryan Adams' "Come Home" is a highlight, along with Robby Hecht's "A Reckoning of Us," Lydia Loveless' "How Many Women" and Shelby Lynne's "The Thief." And if you love steel guitar, check out Arty Hill's "King of That Thing."

Here are more favorites: Griffin Alexander's "On Your Side"; Sherrié Austin's "Tryin' to Be Me"; Pieta Brown's "No Words Now"; the Cordovas' "All I Found"; Madi Diaz's "Johnny"; Ana Egge's "There Won't Be Anymore"; Corey Hart's "Blue Mountain Thistle"; Mason Jennings' "Hearts Stop Beating"; Gill Landry's "The One Night Hotel" (with guest Brandi Carlile) and Nikki Lane's sassy "Walk of Shame."

Take a deep breath. Ready? Here are some more: Benjamin Franklin Leftwich's "Shine"; Sam Llanas' "4 a.m."; Mariah McManus' "Nice to Meet You"; Hannah Miller's "O Black River"; Mother Banjo's "New"; Madonna Nash's "Don't Leave"; Cam Penner's "Driftwood"; Lorrie Singer and Bradley Kopp's "Eye of a Needle"; Carley Tanchon's "Walk Away"; Daniel Tashian and Mindy Smith's "Taking You With Me"; Verlon Thompson's "The Show We Call the Business"; Bill Toms' bluesy "Colleen, Goodbye" and Kenny Vaughan's peppy "Country Music Got a Hold on Me."

Still with me? OK, let's jump to the indie bands: Abbie Barrett & the Last Date's "On the Range"; Big Daddy Love, "Let It Grow"; Blind Pilot's "Half Moon"; Boca Chica's "Sin City"; Carter Brothers' "The Road to Roosky"; the Deep Dark Woods' "The Place I Left Behind"; the Dirt Daubers' "Trucks, Tractors and Trains"; Good Lovelies' "Lonesome Hearts"; the Jayhawks' "Hide Your Colors" and Joy Kills Sorrow's "Wouldn't Have Noticed." For undeniably soulful singing, seek out the McCrary Sisters' "Follow Me Up." I also enjoyed the laid-back vibe of Josh Rouse and the Long Vacation's "Oh, Look What the Sun Did!"

If you're into the Red Dirt scene, pay particular attention to these tunes: Jason Boland & the Stragglers' "Mary Ellen's Greenhouse"; the Damn Quails' "California Open Invitation"; the Gourds' "I Want It So Bad"; Adam Hood's "Once They're Gone"; Drew Kennedy's "Vapor Trails"; Kyle Park's "Make or Break Me"; Reckless Kelly's "Good Luck and True Love"; Sons of Fathers' "The Country" and the enduring Dale Watson's "Her Love."

For bluegrass and acoustic music fans, here are my picks: Bearfoot's "Feel Free"; Bee Eaters' "Cumulus"; Crooked Still's "It'll End Too Soon"; Laurie Lewis' "Hartfordtown 1944"; Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out's "Whippoorwill"; Pert Near Sandstone's "Solid Gone"; Noam Pikelny's "Jim Thompson's Horse"; Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice's "Cold Heart" and Andy Statman's "Anthem."

And because this year is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Bill Monroe, tip your hat with Lonesome River Band's "Footprints in the Snow," recorded live at the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival, as well as Del McCoury Band's "Heavy Traffic Ahead," from their tribute album to Big Mon.

Now for something I never thought I'd write: I'm totally down with the reggae version of "The Chair," performed by Tarrus Riley on the album, Reggae Goes Country. It takes a laid-back and confident performer to make that work -- and for me, it does.

And that's a wrap. Hey, mon, will someone drink me a buy? - CMT


"Alumnus receives present from fans"

This past Christmas, UMKC Alumnus and musician Griffen Alexander received a present from his fans and friends.

Alexander recently called upon his fans to help him make his second album.

In order to make the album, he needed to raise at least $10,000 to pay for the production costs.

“Funding an album is challenging at any level, especially when you’re doing it independently and correctly,” Alexander said.

He partnered with a website called kickstarter.com, which claims to be the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world.

Alexander heard about Kickstarter from a friend in New York who had success as well.

The website explains, “Every month, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields.”

In 2006, Alexander released his first album, “Never in Neutral” while attending UMKC.

He graduated in May 2010 with a degree in communications.

“Rather than using my degree, I decided to pursue my dream and make music full-time,” Alexander said.

According to Alexander, his first album had moderate success.

“I was signed to a recording company that was understaffed and lacked the necessary budget to promote the album,” Alexander recalled. “There was absolutely no promotion for the album ,and that made things difficult.”

It wasn’t until Alexander went on nation-wide tours and sold his music on iTunes that “Never in Neutral” found its success.

Now, it is time to make album number two.

Due to the bad luck with his last recording label, Alexander has decided to produce his album independently.

“Having a record deal is only one way to get a record out. I have been handling all the business affairs and the creative side.”

Alexander’s fans were able to sign up and log on to kickstarter.com and pledge a certain amount of their own money to benefit Alexander and his album.

By pledging certain increments, fan’s will recieve a token of Alexander’s appreciation. Fans can receive anything from a Facebook friend request all the way to production credits on the album.

“It was something I had been working on for several months before the project actually launched,” Alexander said.

Kickstarter challenged Alexander and gave him until midnight Dec. 25, Christmas morning.

At midnight, Alexander and his fans raised just over the amount, $10,050 to be exact, with a total of 117 people who supported him.

Alexander was overjoyed to receive the news of his success.

“With 23 minutes to spare I hit the mark and my family and I started cheering and hugging and my phone started going off and it really didn’t stop for the next couple of days,” Alexander happily declared.

“There were literally people from all over the world that pledged money for my album. Fans, friends and family raised more than $10,000 in about a month’s time,” Alexander said.

Alexander was shocked to find out that one of his backers pledged $1,000 to the project.

“It was actually a friend of mine from Chicago, and I am still blown away by it,” Alexander said.

There were many pledges that far exceeded his expectations.

Alexander had fans in college pledging anywhere from $250 to $500 dollars to him.

“I don’t really even like calling them fans,” Alexander said. “They’re heroes to me.”

Alexander doesn’t have a set date for release of his album right now but he is aiming for a spring release.

To learn more about Griffen Alexander or to hear his music, go to www.griffenalexander.com

Also, be sure to see him perform at 10 p.m. Jan 26 at the recordBar. - MARK LINVILLE


"A Dream Come True"

Griffen Alexander – an up and coming recording artist – is witnessing his dedication to music pay off. A native of Omaha, Neb., and a 2010 alumnus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City College of Arts and Sciences, Alexander attributes much of his success to UMKC.
Toward the end of 2010, Alexander and his family watched to see if his project – "Kickstart The New Griffen Alexander Album" – would successfully raise $10,000 to help fund his second album. The entire goal amount had to be pledged by fans in order for any money to change hands. Just before midnight on Dec. 24, the project reached the $10,000 mark.
"I had just over 30 days to raise $10,000," Alexander said. "UMKC and the surrounding community are without a doubt a large part of why I was able to accomplish that."

A step ahead
Earlier in 2010, as Alexander prepared to graduate with a degree in Communication Studies, his classmates talked about beginning their careers. However, Alexander had begun his career as a musician.
Although he seemed like an average college student, he had the extra task of balancing college life and a music career. Traveling out of town to record songs for his first album, going on national tours, fitting in time to study and setting aside dates to takes tests was typical for Alexander. Thanks to understanding and flexible professors, as well as dedication and hard work on his end, managing both worked out well.
“They tipped their hats at me for pursing my dreams,” Alexander said.

UMKC one of the best decisions
Originally enrolling at UMKC on a whim, Alexander said he “went through the motions of being an average college student” during his first two years at UMKC. Declaring a Communication Studies major his junior year proved to be a pivotal point in his college career. From then on, Alexander decided to get the most out of his time at UMKC.
“I met some of my best friends here, and I think I met my future wife here,” Alexander said. “UMKC is probably one of the best personal decisions I made in my life.”
His UMKC education has proven to be useful in his music career. A background in communication has helped him sharpen his communications skills when dealing with a variety of people in the record industry.

Looking forward
Having achieved success early on in his career, Alexander is ready to share his talent with the world. His second album, which has not been titled yet, is set to be released June 11. A release party will take place at 7 p.m. that day at the Record Bar, 1020 Westport Rd., Kansas City, Mo.

"I'm going to be working with one of my all-time favorite bands on the new record," Alexander said. "I never imagined knowing them, much less having them play on my record with me."
Alexander said the new album will have a folk/indie rock sound with a heart of pure pop. To learn more about Alexander and to find out about upcoming events, visit his Web site at http://www.griffenalexander.com/. - UMKC Public Relations Department


"Never in Neutral’ shows promise"

Griffen Alexander may well be one of those people you can say, “I knew him when…” when he’s on stage accepting a Grammy award. The young man from Nebraska has crafted an outstanding album called, “Never in Neutral.” It reflects the attitudes of someone much older than his 19 years.

Many young artists have to make sacrifices in their sound in order to catch on with a record label.

Alexander has stuck to his guns in order to make the kind of CD he really wanted to make. The results are very promising.

“Never in Neutral” is a fully realized collection of songs that is well focused and on target. It deals with love and a lot of its aspects. Alexander has written songs about lost love, love lost, unrequited love and love that sneaks up on you and grabs you when you least expect it.

The lyrics describe feelings of loss, denial and resignation. There doesn’t appear to be a logical pattern to them, but since when have logic and love ever gone together?

It opens with “I Will,” about a relationship that is ending because the woman said, “I feel like I’m drowning and you’re the ocean.” He knows it’s over but is helpless to prevent it. He also knows it’s going to have a devastating effect on him.

The second number, “One Day” opens like Alexander is telling the world it had best keep an eye on him because he is going places.

As you get deeper into the song, though, you find a person combining frustration and desperation while trying to catch a woman’s attention. “I’m gonna be so big, if you weren’t so blind, then maybe you could see it.”

On “Incapable,” Alexander struggles while trying to assess his chances with a woman who seems to have her eye on another man. If you’re expecting some non-linear Dylanesque type symbolism in Alexander’s lyrics, keep moving. With titles like “One Way Love,” “Long Distance,” and “The Saddest Song,” you have a pretty good idea of the subject matter.

Most of the songs feature a driving acoustic guitar in combination with bass and drums. Singers also seem to be making a comeback these days. Performers like John Mayer and Josh Groban may help pave the way for Alexander to enjoy some commercial success.
- Rick Setchell - Journal staff writer


"Quote from Monmouth College (Illinois)"

“Griffen Alexander was not only a great performer, he really made an effort to connect with audience.” - Danielle Tucker, Assistant Director of Campus Events, Monmouth College


"Quote from Kent State University at Tuscarawa (Ohio)"

“You put on a great show, charged a VERY reasonable rate, and were great to work with. Everyone enjoyed you, all of our student feedback has been positive, and I know we would love to have you again! Thank you for being so flexible given that everything was so last minute!”


- John Highman Enrollment Management and Student Services Advisor Kent State University at Tuscarawas


"Quote from Chesapeake College (Maryland)"

“Griffen Alexander's music was a good fit for Chesapeake College. Several people who attended the event bought the cd, and commented on how much they love it! Thanks for putting on a great show Griffen! “ - -Erin Kelley SGA President Chesapeake College


"Quote from Kansas State University"

“…one of the best artists I’ve had the opportunity to work with- Griffen is the genuinely the nicest artist that I’ve ever worked with. His passion for music is unmatched. And his voice and musicianship is incredible. As an advisor, I really appreciate how well he works with our students. He is genuinely interested in students and helping them put on a successful show. Personally, he’s one of my favorite artists!”


- -Ben Hopper Program Advisor, Union Program Council Kansas State University


"The Song - I Will"

Melody:
Good music in verses
Good music in choruses
Memorable "hook"

All components are equally strong. The chorus is very catchy.

Structure:
Well-written structure

Lyric:
First line makes me want to hear more
Engaging
Cohesive
Rhymes well
Vocal does help to sell song

A strong and emotional vocal quality infuses the song.

Griffen sounds very happening, very vibrant, fresh and in tune with what's happening in modern music. The descending melodic line of the chorus is very catchy and dovetails nicely with the lyrics. - Clint McBay / Director of A&R / TAXI


"Quote from University of Missouri-Kansas City"

"Griffen brings to the mic a very melodic voice that compliments his rhythm impeccably. His songs come from the heart and his pure sound will touch your soul. He'll keep your audience entertained throughout the entire show and will leave the ladies wanting more. He's perfect for any event!" - Dan Puccio, Advisor for Student Activities, University of Missouri-Kansas City


"Striking the right note"

You come to college to prepare for your career, and when that career is in music, a minor in business doesn't seem to make much sense.

But for UMKC student and Red Night Records recording artist Griffen Alexander, his business classes have proved pretty beneficial.

"Especially in working through the contract with my record label, working through various contracts with the different venues and different performance agreements," Alexander said.

Along with his business minor, Alexander is majoring in communications. A junior, this Omaha native has learned to balance being a full-time student and recording artist.

His record label always checks with him before scheduling performances and rarely is Alexander asked to play on a school night. Still, with a touring schedule that takes him to states on both sides of the coast, there are times when Alexander has to travel.

"I'm fortunate enough that things have worked out," Alexander says. "I haven't failed any classes or anything like that."

Alexander's necessity to balance work and studies is reminiscent of many college students' desires to gain real-world experience while pursuing a degree, especially at UMKC. For Alexander it's juggling coursework with performances in other states, while for other UMKC students it's balancing internships, volunteer opportunities or studio work with their course load.

As Alexander nears his senior year, he's looking forward to the day when he has his degree and can completely devote himself to being a musician.

Till then, he'll continue to balance writing music and touring with writing papers and studying.

Learn more about Alexander and listen to his music at griffenalexander.com, on MySpace or on iTunes.
- Univ. of Missouri - Kansas City


"Singer goes on the record"

Who would have thought when Griffen Alexander was 10 years old and he took his older brother Jonathan's electric guitar it would lead to a record deal just nine years later?

The singer-songwriter who uses his middle name for his last name in music, signed a deal with Red Night Records during the summer and released his first professional album in November titled Never in Neutral. It's all been a whirlwind last few months that have taken him from college in Kansas City to California and Las Vegas, he said.

Amazingly, he's done this without reading music. It's all self-taught and a feel for the sound.

"I've never been able to read music, I don't understand the science behind music, but I do understand the heart of music," Alexander said. "It's very clear and transparent music. I write what I know about."

And it seems to be working. The singer grew up in Plattsmouth, but he said Bellevue is almost like a second home. He recalls many days at coffee shops in town and hanging out at Dietz Music buying what he needed to feed his passion.

"When you're a 17-year-old kid and you're lugging your equipment up to some little coffee shop and you're playing for 15 people it's a struggle and it's an effort to get people to listen to you," Alexander said.

It was the Bellevue metro area that helped ignite what is happening today for the artist.

"I grew up on The Rock and Caffeine Dreams," Alexander said. "They took me in and gave me a shot, I started from nothing and built up a little bit."

After choosing to go to University of Missouri at Kansas City, purely as a backup plan, Alexander caught a break after sending out e-mails to various record companies.

"Kansas City was a little bigger of a city and I was really interested in the college," he said. "I wasn't going to just be a bum and try and hope for the music thing, but when I got down there I just started writing like crazy."

One of the companies latched on and liked the sound. That's when the whirlwind began.

He was flown to Escondido, Calif., where the record company shacked him up in a place by the beach and let him work his magic in a multimillion-dollar recording studio.

"I was used to singing and recording on this $50 mic I had, but the microphone I recorded it on there was $5,000," he said. "I give myself some credit, I know I'm gifted and talented, but it was just an amazing thing that happened."

He did his first big show in Las Vegas for 5,000 people on Nov. 3 and is looking forward to more big shows and a tour next summer. Until then, he'll just have to focus on his business studies and keep writing music, music that is now available on iTunes, which has the artist very excited as well.

He said Bellevue will always hold a special place in his heart even if he moves away. It was odd being back last week for Christmas after such a busy year with his music. He's hoping he can make both his dad and mom, Greg and Anne Melvin, very proud in the years to come.

"I hope I can do this forever, for a living," he said. "I mean it's my dream and my passion, I'm very aware of my place, I'm aware I've been lucky and very blessed, but I'm absolutely going to take advantage of it."

"Yes it was a break, but it was a break after I worked my butt off."

- Bellevue Leader - By: Jason Buzzell, Leader staff writer


"UMKC musician is 'Never in Neutral'"


It wasn't the small class sizes or city atmosphere that drew musician Griffen Alexander to UMKC.

It was an Xbox video game.

In the game he formed a dynasty with the Kangaroos, driven to take them from the bottom of the barrel to the top of Division I rankings.

After this high school gaming foray, Alexander scheduled a visit to campus and was smitten.

He has always been known for his drive. In 2004, he furiously promoted a self-made CD. He played charity events and other small venues in Omaha that slowly snow-balled into a grass-roots movement.

Now he has a record deal and is touring major cities to promote his album "Never In Neutral" while studying business administration.

"I am indebted to so many musicians," Alexander said. "I was raised on The Beatles, Sting, and James Taylor. Later it was Third Eye Blind, Eric Clapton, and John Mayer, etc. Sometimes I think it is better to simply say my influences are 'whatever is on my iPod at the moment.' I'm always looking for inspiration."

Alexander's music feels familiar yet wholly unique in the pop idiom. The familiarity comes from the simple boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-contemplates-ex, formula.

The uniqueness comes from his deeply autobiographical content, which he thinks is of paramount importance as a musician.

"You write what you know," Alexander said. "I've had a lot of relationships. But obviously, the boy/girl song can only be taken so far. I want to branch out because that is how you are taken seriously as an artist. Reactions have been encouraging, but obviously I want to grow while staying true to myself."

The writing process has been a challenging journey for Alexander, but he feels he is beginning to come into his own as a songwriter.

"When I was young, the lyrics were always very important to me. They still are. I'm writing songs right now that I couldn't have imagined penning two years ago. It's really exciting to see that the frustrations with songwriting have been overcome. Not everything my pen touches turns to gold, but I am very proud and excited about my latest work."

His latest CD, "Never in Neutral," is a solid pop album. However, a few tracks seemed ambiguous. "Savior" especially sounded like an underlying spiritual element was present. The choice was deliberate, according to Alexander.

"I like how people approach my music, and hopefully each of them can take away something different," he said. "That's such a great gift to give and receive to an audience. Most of my songs are autobiographical, but sometimes just sticking to writing a song with no attachments turns out to be gratifying."

What does the future have in store for Alexander?

"I'd like to build a fan base here in Kansas City. I recorded my album in California and the coasts have been friendly. I'm not very well-known here," he said.

After people listen to the album and are charmed by his winning personality, that will likely change very soon.

Alexander was signed to Red Night Records in June 2006.
- University News - Jordan Kerfeld


"Former Nebraska artist breaks onto music scene"


The music industry is a tough nut to crack, but for almost two years, former Nebraska resident Griffen Alexander has seized opportunities for building a career in the industry.

One thing the current University of Missouri-Kansas City junior is sure of is hard work has been more rewarding in 2008 than ever before.

"If music is your forte, independents have a much better chance (now) than anyone ever has," the singer-songwriter said. "We've got MySpace. We've got iTunes. We've got all these wonderful online things that don't discriminate."

While still a freshman in college, Alexander was one of the first signings to Tampa, Fla., label Red Night Records Inc. in the spring of 2006. With the label's urging, Alexander completed the songs for his debut album, "Never in Neutral," which he recorded in five 15- to 18-hour working days in California that summer.

"It was a budget record," he said of the whirlwind pace. "We didn't have the luxury of spending a month on it or a few months on it."

Despite the lack of studio time, Alexander got the final product he wanted: a 10-song album of guitar-driven, highly personal and hopeful songs. He credits much of his satisfaction with "Never in Neutral" to the level of control he had over the entire production.

"I wasn't just the singer and guitar player on the record. I was the executive producer on it," he said. "There isn't a drum beat on that record that I didn't influence in some way."

For all the control, though, Alexander is quick to acknowledge the hard work of everyone who helped with the production.

"I had an idea of how I wanted my music to sound, and they made that a reality," he said.

"Never in Neutral" was released in late November 2006, a few months later than expected. Alexander attributed the delay to the time spent honing the sound in production. Since then, Alexander, his label and his friends have been working to build a fan base through live shows and grassroots means of publicity.

Having spent eight years living in Plattsmouth, Alexander has a number of fans in Nebraska, including his best friend, Josh Bittman, a junior business education major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Bittman has been helping Alexander with his musical endeavors since before high school.

"Anything he needed, I was more than happy to help him out with," Bittman said.

Bittman has done everything to help Alexander, including hanging flyers for his shows in high school and working with Lincoln venues to try to bring Alexander to town.

Bittman first met Alexander after moving to Plattsmouth from Las Vegas in seventh grade. Alexander was quick to stand up and introduce himself, Bittman said.

Perhaps Alexander knew how difficult it is to be the new kid. He moved to Nebraska as a 10-year-old, an experience that he said might have planted the seeds for his interest in music. He spent much of the trip listening to mid-1990s alternative bands such as Third Eye Blind, and he said it was the first time he had felt connected to music he was listening to.

"I just remember how much those words moved me at such an early age," Alexander said.

By high school, Alexander was writing songs and composing music on the guitar. Bittman said it was obvious in high school how dedicated Alexander was to his music.

"He works harder on it than I've seen anyone work on anything," Bittman said. "Sleeping over at his house in high school, I'd wake up and he's working on a song at 3 in the morning."

Alexander has continued writing since his album's release, and although he doesn't have any definite plans for a sophomore album, he's been playing new pieces at his live shows. His newer work draws on more mature experiences than the songs on his debut.

"I'm very proud of it, but it … has a definite pop sound to it," Alexander said of "Never in Neutral." He plans for his next album to be a mix of radio-friendly acoustic pop and thought-provoking songs crafted from more adult experiences.

Bittman said the new songs he has heard have felt more grown-up.

"It's more real world situations," he said. "He knows what he's doing with his own music. He's spiritual about it. He knows he wouldn't be able to do any of it without God, and he's very thankful for the talent that he's been given."

That spirituality is evident when speaking with Alexander about his music. Though self-assured about his writing, he's neither cocky nor arrogant about his abilities.

"I've had some things happen to me in my life, and some really good songs have come out of that," he said. "It's still a miracle every time I write a song, but it's exactly what I want."

- Daily Nebraskan - Univ. of Nebraska Lincoln - Alex Haueter


"Quote from Arkansas Tech University"

"Griffen Alexander was the best performer we've ever had." - Matthew M. Hauger, Associate Dean of Students, Arkansas Tech University


Discography

The Sound & The Sea (Self-released, 2011)

Never in Neutral (Red Night Records Inc, 2006)

College Credit Vol. 4 (Compilation CD, 2008)

Photos

Bio

**Featured on MTV & MTV.com 3 weeks in network debut**

**E! Network licenses newest album**

**CMT shows cross-genre love and features newest album**

** Raised $10,000 from fans worldwide as an indie artist**

After being signed to a record label and turning down several others, Griffen Alexander decided to leave the record label system in favor of being an independent artist, running both the art and business himself. In less than 40 days, he successfully raised $10,000 from fans all over the world to help fund the recording of his debut independent release, The Sound & The Sea.

The record has immediately exceeded expectations, receiving positive reviews from the likes of CMT and Vintage Guitar Magazine with the entire album being licensed by MTV and E! for placement in their television programming. Griffen’s music has already landed placements on MTV, being featured 3 out of 4 weeks in its network debut. Earning a reputation for being one of the hardest working artists in the industry, the 24 year old is currently headlining college and club tours regularly and is writing and recording material for his follow up album. Visit www.GriffenAlexander.com for the latest news, upcoming tour dates, new music and new videos.

Here are some nice things from nice people:

--CMT features album as part of their "Cool Album Cuts".

“…instead of a minimalist DIY project, the album sounds as polished as any major label release.”
--Vintage Guitar Magazine

"...doing the pop/rock thing better than most of his contemporaries.”
--The Daily News

"Griffen sounds very happening, very vibrant, fresh and in tune with what's happening in modern music."
-- Clint McBay, Director of A&R, TAXI

Here are some nice things from nice colleges:

"Griffen Alexander was the best performer we've ever had."
-- Matthew M. Hauger, Associate Dean of Students, Arkansas Tech University

“…One of the best artists I’ve had the opportunity to work with...genuinely the nicest artist that I’ve ever worked with. His voice and musicianship is incredible.”
--Ben Hopper, Program Advisor, Union Program Council Kansas State University

"By far, one of the most talented, professional, and wonderful musicians we've brought to campus."
--Emy Monday, UPB President, Drew University

"Our students loved his performance. He was easy to work with and very personable."
--Brandon Jackson, President of Parkside Activities Board, UW-Parkside

"...great feedback from the students and it was all positive! Working with Griffen was great and his show was awesome!"
-Jessica Hammond, Innovative Sounds Coordinator, UW-Green Bay

Griffen's new record, The Sound & The Sea, and more can be found at www.GriffenAlexander.com