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Artist Spotlight: Alexis de la Rocha affirms her position in synth pop

In the music of Alexis de la Rocha, synths are as important a factor as the singer/songwriter herself. The artist's discography doesn’t feature a single song without a mystifying synth background, making her a leading member of the modern synth-pop genre. The singer, songwriter and producer’s new song, "Running Back," is just the most recent addition to what is already an accomplished compilation of releases.

De la Rocha is a Latina musician who was born and raised in Los Angeles, the city she calls her home and constant muse. Her musical journey began in 2015, with her EP "LEXcollaborating with experimental band LJ Laboratory, a group that de la Rocha has fronted in the past.

"LEX" begins with "Beam," a galactic track serving as the introduction of de la Rocha’s passion for synth. The hopeful and riveting song consists of her soothing voice against a drum machine and a synth acting as imagery of the song's title. "Mystery Boy" draws inspiration from the synths of 80s music, providing a similar, but more grounded sound. The song is fast-paced and rich with flowing energy, a trend that continues into the next song. 

"Stare" is full of depth and menace, with the biggest focus landing on the sound of the music, complete with increased creativity in the synths, instead of the lyrics. "Hall" returns the EP to the '80s influence, featuring more complex percussion and upbeat rhythms. The record ends with a perfect culmination; "Ready" possesses a sense of urgency that ends with a beautiful ensemble of strings echoing against each other. 

De la Rocha’s next release, "Chill," was written in collaboration with VFRESH. The song is an R&B soul single and uses the power of the synths to create an upbeat number, as opposed to the futuristic undertones of her preceding EP. The song is a light and easy listen, melodically satisfying and groovy. 

In 2023, de la Rocha released "Haze," an ethereal foray into the world of dream pop. The trademark synths take on a wispier nature, contributing to the already sensual energy of the song provided by the singer's sultry vocals. The song ends with an explosion of controlled chaos as voices layer on top of one another.  

de la Rocha’s latest single, "Running Back," captivated worldwide audiences as they patiently awaited new material from the star. The song is a nostalgic ode to the '90s, an era that prioritized self-love and acceptance over anything else.

It is a homage to her younger self, a poignant lesson in accepting life as it is, and a reminder to never give up on the things in life that bring happiness. The song not only sounds like a modernized version of a 90s pop hit, but it also contains references to the era, like pagers and a Walkman. 

“It’s a tribute to my '90s self and an anthem for anyone who’s ever found themselves in a toxic relationship or situation, where they compromise their essence and lose sight of their best selves. This track is the ultimate reminder to hit the rewind button on self-love, self-care and self-acceptance during those challenging moments,” de la Rocha said

"Running Back" puts a modern twist on a '90s-inspired number, flawlessly fusing hip-hop with the timeless genre of Motown. The descending lines in the verses and melancholy undertones of the chorus give the track a mournful energy, but one that is counteracted by a bubbly surface, and naturally, plenty of synths. The song increases in energy and demonstrates her rich vocal talents as it goes on, getting better with time. 

The track is accompanied by a music video set at an outdoor music festival. The video mostly consists of de la Rocha serenading the camera, decked out in a modern rendition of a '90s outfit, complete with a fur coat and knee-high leather boots. There are also moments of friendship and classic ‘90s choreography, as well as scenes that can’t be seen due to the distortions of glitter in the camera lens. 

Due to her commanding performances and musical artistry, de la Rocha has earned acclaim from the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, buzzbands.la, Rolling Stone, LADYGUN and Consequence, to name a few. 

The artist describes her music as a dynamic tapestry interweaving the influences of 1980s/1990s synthesizers, fantasy, fashion, goth, freestyle and dream pop, all of which are eloquently represented in her newest single, and surely as well as whatever is to come next from the musician. 

@sophiarooks_

sr320421@ohio.edu

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