'Schitt's Creek': How Annie Murphy Channeled Britney Spears and Paris Hilton for 'A Little Bit Alexis' Banger

Dan Levy Annie Murphy
Ian Watson

Annie Murphy and Dan Levy in Schitt's Creek.

For the series' fifth season, the actress wrote and recorded an insanely catchy early 2000s-style dance-pop track

Fans of Schitt's Creek -- the acclaimed sitcom about a wealthy family that loses everything and starts over in the titular backwoods town -- are used to ex-socialite daughter Alexis Rose (played by Annie Murphy) teasing wild stories from her once-extravagant life.

But the latest episode of the series (now in its fifth season, airing Wednesdays on Pop TV at 10/9c) featured a revelation that might top them all: When Alexis was a younger, she not only had a reality show, she also recorded its theme song: "A Little Bit Alexis," an early 2000s-inspired dance-pop track that's now available on iTunes and streaming services. 

"I had such a blast writing these lyrics," Murphy tells Billboard. "We went through all of Paris Hilton's stuff and Lindsay Lohan's stuff. We wanted it to be spoofy, but we also very selfishly wanted to write a banger." Britney Spears was another inspiration, both for the choreography Alexis dusts off as she auditions for the town musical and for the lyrics, delivered with an appropriate amount of Auto-Tune: “I'm a hieroglyphic/ I'm an open book/ I'm a little bit cray-cray/ If you steal my look."

Dan Levy, the co-creator of the show (who also plays Alexis' brother, David), tells Billboard over email that Alexis’ short-lived career as a reality-show celeb was “one of the first character notes” he had for her. While working on the episode, Levy says, "I immediately thought back to that reality show and wondered, ‘What if it had a theme song?’” 

Below, Murphy tells Billboard how the song came together, channelling her inner Britney Spears on set and the tweets she's getting from fans.

What inspired you to take this on?

When we had the table-read for the episode, it basically just said, "Alexis performs 'A Little Bit Alexis,'" and after we read that script, I immediately ran to Dan and begged him to take a shot at writing it. He very graciously kind of patted me on the head and was like, "Okay, give it a shot."

What was the creative process like after that?

My husband [Menno Versteeg] is in a band called Hollerado, and I took it to him and our other buddy [Nixon Boyd] who's a producer and in the band with my husband. We just hunkered down for a couple of days in Nixon's studio and this strange thing was birthed. [Laughs] We really wanted to slowly drive people insane while forcing them to dance. So we just tried to saturate the song with as much pop-y, trippy stuff as possible. I had such a blast writing these lyrics. Britney was pretty heavy on my brain. We went through all of Paris Hilton's stuff and Lindsay Lohan's stuff. We wanted it to be spoofy, but we also very selfishly wanted to write a banger -- an early-2000s banger that people would actually like.

Was it difficult to write at all? Have you written any songs prior to this?

I wrote most of the lyrics, but then when it came to actually making the music and doing the technical side of things -- I know absolutely nothing about that. So [Menno and Nixon] were my easy access. They really know what they're doing, and they're two of my best buds, so it just made sense to go to them for help. I did a web series years ago where I helped write a kind of a spoof called "Young Love." But no, this is definitely not usually in my wheelhouse. There was very little pressure, because if I did a terrible job, I could just be like, "What, I'm not a musician, I don't know why you let me do this!" [Laughs]

How long did it take to make it?

We got the bare bones of it done in a day, and then I went in for another day and re-recorded the lyrics and just polished everything. Then it took Nixon a week and a bit to mix everything and really put all of the bells and whistles on it. So I didn't work that hard on it at all. [Laughs]

In the lyrics, you included Alexis’ iconic catchphrase: "Ew, David!" Did you know from the beginning that you wanted to do that?

No, and actually that was the second day I went in -- there was that build-up [in the song], and I was standing in the vocal booth like, "Oh, man we need something." And then, all of a sudden, I don't remember if it was Nixon or Menno, but someone was like, "Is it too on-the-nose for an 'Ew, David'?" And I'm like, "That's obviously exactly what we needed there!" It just rounds the song out in a very annoying, perfect way.

The scene where Alexis performs it is so funny -- what was it like filming it?

I wanted to do my own choreography, and really I have to hand it to Dan for trusting me with this. And this is not giving Britney the compliments she deserves, but I did try to borrow a little bit from her when I stumbled through that choreography as Alexis. A little bit of "I'm a Slave 4 U," a little bit of "Work Bitch." On set, no one had seen the choreography before, and I think only Dan and the director had actually heard the song. So I was really performing it for everyone for the first time. There were some real loud cackles going on, so I was encouraged by that. You have to shoot from different angles all the time, so I ended up doing it like eight or ten times in front of everybody. I really could've done it all day long, it was such a fun thing to shoot.

Do you think there will be an accompanying video at all in the future?

I would love nothing more than that. But I think it would have to have, like, a $20 million dollar budget, 'cause we'd have to shoot at all locations around the world. We'd have to hire the most beautiful, talented dancers. We'd have to get the craziest costumes -- or just set up a green-screen and hack it out for $150 bucks. [Laughs] I think that's definitely the route we'd go.

Will Alexis debut more music in Schitt's Creek future?

I don't know, that is a Dan Levy question. But I would not say no. I would not turn down the opportunity to butcher another song.

Fans of the show on Twitter are loving the song. How do you feel about the reactions so far?

Loving it! In Canada people were tweeting at me this morning like, "I hate you so much, I woke up with this in my head, and I know it's gonna be in my head all day." People have added it to their workout playlists. The tweets keep rolling in, so I'm thrilled that it has gone over well so far. I hope people stay on the side of sanity, because once it gets into your head, it doesn't wanna go.

How do you feel about the song getting released on streaming services?

It feels strange, 'cause it makes it so much more professional-feeling. And as I said, I am no musician, but I'm still glad that it's out there. And I just have a dream one day of dancing in Ibiza to "A Little Bit Alexis." That's my long-term goal. I gotta get Calvin Harris on this or Diplo or deadmau5. Any and all of those talented people are free to have their way with this song.

You did joke on Twitter that you wrote this for Alexis Bledel in 2005.

[Laughs] That was a tweet from Rupinder Gill, who's one of the writers on the show. But Alexis Bledel is also more than welcome to have her way with this song if she so chooses. It's open -- it's fair game for anyone who wants to take a stab at it.