2019 American Music Awards

Lexxe Went From Ballerina to Breaking Ground in Pop: Watch Her New 'Drink Me' Video

Sam San Román
Lexxe

Music artists come from all types of backgrounds, from bartenders and executives to entrepreneurs and doctors. But it’s not everyday you hear of a professionally trained ballerina dropping her pointe shoes for the microphone.

Lexxe, a 25-year-old NYC native, sings, dances, directs, all with a refreshingly approachable demeanor. A performer since she was three years old, her early start came because her mother mistook what would later be identified as OCD as simply being too lively.

“My mom said I just had too much energy, so she put me in dance school,” Lexxe tells Billboard. “So I pretty much only did ballet my whole life until I went to college.”

After studying new artistic disciplines at SUNY Purchase, Lexxe moved to Brooklyn and joined Company XIV, the Bushwick-based circus and performance troupe known for its extravagant burlesque numbers and gender-bending vibes. Within Company XIV’s radically accepting space, Lexxe found success as a leading lady and finally felt comfortable to both come out as queer and to launch her solo career in earnest. 

Now, in a Billboard exclusive, Lexxe is sharing her newest single and music video, “Drink Me.” The song is a dreamy, guitar-inflected pop song, dark and moody with powerful sexual undertones and a punk aesthetic. The video is equally sensual as we see Lexxe play a latex-wearing fairy godmother, busy setting up a romantic tryst between two handsome boys. Lexxe orchestrates the hookup, guiding the other two to kiss and caress as she watches and encourages. It’s a celebration of lust of all kinds.

Billboard sat down with Lexxe to discuss “Drink Me,” her transition from classical ballet to alternative pop music, and finding herself as a queer woman.

What’s the story behind the video?

The song is about an attraction that becomes undeniable, like a Romeo and Juliet type thing, a love that wasn't supposed to happen. So for the video we wanted to visualize that. And at first I thought that would make it creepy, cause I love creepy shit, but instead we decided to go with lust that becomes too great to deny. So that's kind of what my character is. I'm not really supposed to be the lead in the video and I didn't want to be either. I'm just a feeling and the two characters eventually have to succumb to the lust. 

What made you choose two boys as the romantic leads?

I didn't think twice about anything else. And then I realized that when I would show this to some people that aren't really exposed to same sex relationships or anything gay that it would be shocking to them. I've showed it to some people at labels and they're like, wow, you're really pushing boundaries here! And in my brain, I'm like, what do you mean? I'm not really pushing boundaries… but it's true. It's not represented as much as it should be in mainstream pop, even though you know there's been lots of leaps and bounds. So I realized that choosing two men to be the leads as a couple and be lusting after each other would be important. And like I said, when I grew up seeing people in a gay relationship on TV or even just someone being out, it made me feel more comfortable about myself. So I would love for anybody to watch this video and feel the same. 

You’re a classically trained ballerina. What was it like growing up?

I started doing ballet when I was three. My mom said I had too much energy and she put me in dance school and I pretty much only did that my whole life until I went to college. I didn't have much of a childhood, I didn't get to do anything else really, but I wouldn't change it. I think it made me who I am. I notice when I write songs I'm constantly conscious of if I'd want to dance to it. And even if it's a slow song, if it makes me want to move, I like the song

When did you leave ballet?

When I went to college I had never taken anything other than ballet. And that was a shock, because I was at the bottom of the fish pool there. I was instantly knocked off my high horse. And when I graduated, I thought that because I had all this training, I would be getting jobs. I went to auditions and kept getting no after no after no. I feel like that prepared me for the music world now because someone told me to my face when I was eight, that I was too fat. It definitely gave me some type of armor. I left ballet because it was a world that I didn't fit into, even if I wanted to. I had boobs and an ass and hips, and that just doesn’t fly in that world. That's harsh, but I’ve made a world of my own with my music instead.

You’re a self-identified queer person. When did you come out, and how was that experience?

It's taken me a long time to get where I am today because I grew up in a religious family. Very Catholic. Puerto Rican. I came out just this year, but I always knew there was something about me that felt weird. I felt weird around my family because I was like, there's something about me that you're not going to love when I finally have the courage to tell you. But when I moved out and I found Company XIV, I realized that there is a world for me. I've always naturally moved towards queer spaces and queer friend groups and like-minded people that I felt accepted around. So until I was ready myself, I just existed quietly. But with the help of my friends and family here, I’m now living out and proud!

The song and video are pretty sexually charged. Would you agree that being a recording artist is more sexually freeing than being a ballerina?

100 percent. There's this dichotomy in me. The reason why I only tattoo one side of my body is because I feel like one side of me is the ballerina, while on the other side is the black swan. I've been this monster forever, in a good way. I want to be fucking weird and naked and that's who I am. Deal with it.

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