The Pacific Northwest isn’t exactly known for being a hotbed for R&B, pop, or hip-hop, but that could change with the career trajectory of artists like Seattle singer/songwriter/producer Parisalexa. It’s typical for Parisalexa (AKA Paris Alexa Williams) to produce herself, create beats live using a loop station, and croon along the surface.
If you’re a millennial/plant lady/person, you’re likely to enjoy the seven tracks on her critically acclaimed 2018 EP Bloom, which includes a plethora of flower metaphors about growing, evolving, and blossoming through the seasons of love. Parisalexa has since dropped another EP called Flexa (check out “Ballin’” to dip your toe), followed by a couple excellent singles: “Water Me” (Parisalexa shows she has all the vocal runs and the range), and “Hot Head.”
Parisalexa first nabbed my attention (and my heart, tbh) when she sang “Cashitis” in the semifinals of Sound Off! 2016, an annual music competition at the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly known as the Experience Music Project) in Seattle. She gave a pitch-perfect vocal, wielded it perfectly, and showed an obvious knack for creating organic, intuitive song structures. To this day, I still get chills.
So I’ve been waiting patiently for Parisalexa’s star to rise (and subsequently explode into the mainstream consciousness), and I think it might finally be that time. Her KEXP set from last year was an impressive, jazzy delight; in October she appeared on NBC’s Songland, pitching her song “Pity Party” to Charlie Puth and wowing all the judges in the process. Also in 2019: Parisalexa went on a West Coast tour with Rose City neo-soul singer Blossom and Philly MC Ivy Sole. The day before their Portland stop, I was at a private event where the three tourmates collaborated on a gorgeous, harmonizing cover of Estelle’s “American Boy,” and I cannot stop thinking about it.
As if Parisalexa wasn’t enough of a draw, tonight’s headliner is R&B crooner Xavier Omär, whose recent album Moments Spent Loving You (a collaboration with producer Sango) is one of the best male-fronted R&B albums to come out last year.