R&B vocalist Parisalexa is proof that hard work and confidence pay off. The 2016 Sammamish High grad (born Paris Alexa Williams) has been working on her music since she was a kid, honing her skills at Grammy and Berklee songwriting camps, in local underage music showcases, such as Sound Off! and More Music at the Moore—and skipping choir practice to write songs in the school bathroom.
“I didn’t like the structure [of choir], you couldn’t freestyle,” says the 20-year-old Bellevue resident. “I’ve always wanted to do [my own music].”
Her determination is yielding results—and lots of material. In January, she self-released her debut EP, Bloom, a collection of seven R&B pop songs that explore blossoming young love. In June, she followed up with a four-song mixtape, Flexa, recorded at Macklemore’s former studio, Ruby Room Recordings, in North Seattle. In Parisalexa’s words, Bloom is “soulful and sweet,” and Flexa is “spunky and modern,” but both releases showcase her powerfully expressive voice—a slinky, jazzy alto not unlike Beyoncé or Erykah Badu.
The albums also demonstrate a knack for songwriting that’s led to songwriting sessions in L.A. with professional songwriters for labels such as Interscope and RCA. Meanwhile, she’s nailed down a string of enviable gigs this year at Upstream, Orcas Island’s Doe Bay Festival, Capitol Hill and Beacon Hill block parties, Seattle’s Downtown Summer Sounds and her first headlining show this November at Chop Suey.
Until then, Parisalexa will be chipping away at her debut full-length album—one she hopes to release during that sweet spot in 2019 when “Best New Artists” are considered for the Grammys—and enjoying the ride.
“The music scene in Seattle is bubbling,” she says. “I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
9/1, 1:55-2:15 p.m., Fisher Stage, Bumbershoot. Single day passes start at $130; bumbershoot.com. 11/14. Time and prices TBD. Chop Suey, Capitol Hill, 1325 E Madison St.; 206.538.0556; chopsuey.com