Alex Rzyan isn’t like other future music sensations. While many aspiring stars dream of one day making a foray into fashion after a successful music career, the 22-year-old model is one step ahead. After signing with Next, Rzyan is now taking the confidence and inspiration she has found through fashion and making strides towards achieving her biggest dream: a music career.
When we speak over Zoom, Rzyan is sitting on the floor, with her home studio behind her and Sex Pistols artwork just visible on the wall. She’s talking about how her heritage and upbringing are the most integral part of her drive. “My experiences as an Armenian woman growing up in the US have definitely shaped my writing process,” she says. “Armenians have had a really rough go of things and, being that we’ve been through genocide, I think it’s strengthened me in a way that I can’t even really explain. I would say it’s in my blood, and those experiences have fuelled me to pay my respects to my ancestors and to my grandma, who came here not having a single dollar in her account, not speaking the language.”
Even though she was born and raised in Los Angeles, Rzyan has been able to draw profound determination from the struggle and stories of her relatives. She sees the matriarchal figures in her life as examples of success, and emblematic of the importance of pursuing your dreams regardless of what obstacles may be in your way.
Within seconds of speaking with her, it’s clear that she keeps all of her idols and influences as close to her heart and her work as possible. At 16, she sweet-talked her way into photographing one of her favourite bands, the Buzzcocks, at a 21-and-over gig at the Roxy in LA – an experience that cemented her dream of one day performing for her own fans. “It was so inspiring,” she says. “Thinking about it gives me goosebumps. Seeing people live out my dream and seeing my favourite performers have such prowess on stage is so inspiring. And it only pushed me to further my career and dive headfirst into music, because that’s absolutely what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
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“I think it’s about showing people that you can do it and do it with limited resources”
Six years on, Rzyan’s dream is within her grasp. After the success of her recently released debut single, “Lose Interest”, the musician is hopeful that her second, “Out of Time”, will continue to declare her as the product of her inspirations that she wants to be. “I’m always giving nods to my heroes,” she says. “Whether it be through a Rolling Stones lyric or a T-shirt that Debbie Harry has worn on stage. Little things like that have inspired me greatly. Maybe I’ll write a whole song about how I feel watching this performer or how this person channels their energy on stage. That’s been a huge part of establishing my own sound and personality as a musician.”
Rzyan stresses that “Out of Time” is a display of exactly who she is and exactly who she wants to be as an artist. The single – a product of numerous Zoom sessions and hours spent writing in her bedroom and sifting through memories of emotions – is perfectly in tune with what Rzyan wants to convey. “I was writing about how you’re running out of time, because if you don’t make a move soon you’re gonna lose something really valuable,” she muses. “It’s important to just go for things. Whether that be a relationship, going after the girl or guy you like, or your dreams, it’s important to just dive in head-first.”
And Rzyan is diving head-first into her dreams. She’s dreaming big, too. Her bucket list includes touring Japan and the UK, and building a close-knit family of fans who will watch her bloom as an artist. Above all, she wants to show others that anything is possible and nothing is out of reach, much like how her grandma showed her. “Being a woman in a really male-dominated industry, I think it’s about showing people that you can do it and do it with limited resources,” she concludes. “You can do anything you want if you really put your mind to it. You have to go out and find those opportunities for yourself and really chase them.” And who knows, maybe one day there will be a 16-year-old girl taking pictures of Alex Rzyan performing at the Roxy, idolising her and dreaming of being up there someday too.