As a mother, singer, performer, and comedian, Lexi is undeniably real. She is the talented and beautiful ‘best friend’ to fans across the world. She demonstrates that same authenticity on her first album in six years, Just Listen.
An auspicious meeting with Motown Gospel label exec, Monica Coates reawakened Lexi’s interest in recording music. And, after months of working, praying, and planning, the result was a more profound, more substantial sound.
On Just Listen, fans will discover a renewed, more soulful Lexi than previously heard on past albums, as she approached the writing and recording process with a reignited vigor and passion. The album contains a panoply of styles, sounds, and emotions revealing Lexi’s growth as singer and recording artist. She artfully explores topics of trust, vulnerability, freedom, and devotion, all through her lens of practical faith.
Lexi co-wrote several songs on the 8-track album along with writing partners, Dawkins & Dawkins (Eric and Anson Dawkins) along with and writer-producers Dana Soréy and Terence Vaughn. Eric Dawkins also served as the vocal producer on the project, and the chemistry between the two is magical.
“I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have them, because this was a new way of singing for me,” Lexi explained. “I'm used to singing in the rafters … but they and Monica [Coates] challenged me to do something different and go to this alto voice.”
“Eric walked me through that … it was so, so difficult and at times I would get extremely frustrated in the studio because I am so used to my ‘go-to’ factor (which is kill them with the high notes). I came out of my element. Had it not been for those guys teaching me a new way to sing…but it was our friendship that let me trust them.”
“After my husband, Michael Allen, passed away years ago, I just kind of lost the enthusiasm to make music in a major way. I always liked singing. I never stopped singing … but whether I did it or not for a living didn't concern me anymore, because my husband was my producer,” Lexi candidly shared. “I will always remember those days with my husband and me, and when he died, I just lost it. I lost all passion in that way. Now, being back into it, I needed friends (like Eric and Anson), that helped me make this transition back into music easier.”
“My record company, Motown Gospel, has also been so supportive. They made this process easy for me and now it’s like I want to do it again. I got that fire back; I didn't feel that ... I haven't felt that way for years.”
That renewed fire is evident on Lexi’s vocals and song choices. Just Listen moves seamlessly between urban grooves, up-tempo dance tracks and a rousing remake of The Winans’ classic “Wherever I Go.”
Many people these days recognize Lexi as a popular television personality, and Internet sensation whose viral comedic videos have exceeded 33 million views on YouTube. But with this new album, Lexi reminds fans of her first love—music. The multifaceted talent decided she wanted people to just listen.
“When we were trying to come up with a title for the project … we wanted something that made sense. We didn’t want anything too church-y, and finally, we just said, "Hey, you know what? Just Listen. Iam in this season where it’s like, look guys this is new, and I'm in a new place, and I've got a new sound. I like where I am in life right now. Hey, take some time and just listen,” said Lexi.
The project kicks off with the mid-tempo dance track “I’ll Take Your Word For It,” offering the simple but always relevant message of trusting God. “When I got quiet, and I got in my room, I closed the door … I got on my face and just talked to God. The songs emerged from this time. When I set myself apart and really, truly took time out to pray and hear from God,” said Lexi. “I'll take your word for it, Lord, when I ask you something, and you give me a yes, no matter how it looks, I'm just going to take your word for it.”
The urban-styled first single “In The Room,”is soulful and stirring. Offering a classically R&B groove that speaks right to Lexi’s heart. “It came from that time of consecration … where I had to hear from Him,” Lexi explained. “The lyrics are true for me … It has to come from someplace real because if I'm singing it, and I can't identify with it, I won’t believe it. And you won't believe it either.”
There is a good variety on the album, from the pop-ballad, title track “Just Listen,”and the 80’s throwback sound “Runnin’ (Marathon)”to Lexi’s personal favorite, the excellent remake of The Winans’“Wherever I Go.” She didn’t go too far away from the original classic. “Dana Soréy worked on the arrangement, and he didn’t change a lot. He just freshened it up, but we were able to give it that Detroit feel,” she said. “Those lyrics are everything I was feeling … I want to do nothing without Him. He promised that goodness and mercy shall follow me. I need that! I super, super believe that it is following me every day---goodness, and mercy. I need them both, period.”
Lexi also teamed up with label mate, superb vocalist Gene Moore for an old-school Motown-style duet “I Choose You.” A love song to Him, the song is a nod to Detroit greats BeBe & CeCe Winans. “That’s the beautiful line that BeBe and CeCe always walked … so this song is a take on that,” Lexi explained. “The song is to God … I do choose Him. I choose Him all day, every day, when things are good when things suck. I told God that in those words verbatim, I want Him to know that, that I choose You.”
Lexi’s rebirth in music has begun. It is the perfect season for a new beginning, so sit down and Just Listen.