Allie X

Allie X

This Katy Perry-endorsed pop starlet has her own ideas about image, and just like her undeniably catchy tracks, they're a little over the top

This Katy Perry-endorsed pop starlet has her own ideas about image, and just like her undeniably catchy tracks, they're a little over the top

Photography: Dario Catellani

Styling: Vittoria Cerciello

Text: Ian David Monroe

“Currently I’m obsessed with this song CATCH by Allie X…SPRING JAM!” read Katy Perry’s tweet that blasted L.A.-based singer-songwriter Alexandra Hughes onto the radar of over 60 million people this time last year. “I was in the studio when Katy tweeted,” Allie remembers. “I checked my feed and saw that I had hundreds of new notifications. It was surreal. I ended up meeting Katy that weekend.”

On the phone, Allie speaks surprisingly softly, given the veracity of her singing voice, a pitched-up echo of pop heavyweight Lady Gaga. “I’ve definitely gotten [the Gaga comparison] before, and I imagine I will for a bit. I mean, we’re both girls who started writing songs at pianos and had much bigger visions. I really relate to the grand scope of her vision—the creation of a world. But Lady Gaga is a lot braver than I am in a lot of ways. The intimacy that she shares with the world and her fans is something that I’d never be comfortable with.” What Allie does share is artfully edited Instagram “selfies,” and the rare tweet centered around self-created hashtags—“#FeelingX,” “#Xsistence,” and “#Xchange.” The introvert image is all wrapped up in a penchant for pilgrim collars, dark lipstick, and a center part, summoning a twenty something Tumblr-famous Wednesday Addams. And the juxtapositions continue: while using the standing tropes of bubblegum melodies, electronic synth, and soaring choruses, Allie draws inspiration from cultural analysis. “I’m reading a lot of Carl Jung and learning about the ‘shadow self.’ It’s the part of every person that carries the darkness, the guilt, the shame, the things that you don’t want the rest of the world to see. But I really love that Jung says you have to embrace the shadow—you can’t pretend it doesn’t exist. If you do it just becomes bigger and all encompassing, so the best thing to do is let it out creatively.”

Let it out, she has. At the tail end of March, Allie X will release her debut LP, CollXtion I. “It isn’t just a record. I’ll be presenting it as a full multimedia experience, but it’s centered around seven songs.” CollXtion’s production credits include Montreal-based Billboard (Kesha, Robyn, Britney, and Madonna) and “a secret producer in Toronto named WhiteFox…and that’s all I’ll tell you.” Don’t bother looking him up, either. “You won’t find him on the Internet,” she says coyly.

Accompanying the album’s release is an ambitious list of ideas ranging from a live-streamed concert to a gallery residency and a comic book. “I’m going to be telling the first chapter in the story of X, which is an abstract version of my own life.” But what exactly is X? “For me, X is the unknown...that indescribable part of your life equation that you’re trying to figure out.” Despite her reserved nature, Allie isn’t afraid to open up about her journey of self-discovery. “I feel like I’ve been five different people in my life and I’ll probably be five different more as life goes on,” she says, and at her most candid—“I’m trying to figure out if I’m a good or bad person."

Credits: DIGITAL TECHNICIANS ANDREW LAWRENCE AND CHRIS NOWLING  PHOTO ASSISTANTS DAVID JAFFE, BRIAN HAHN, PAUL COLLINS STYLIST ASSISTANTS DANIELLE COMBS, DENTICART EXIL, CAITLYN LEARY  RETOUCHING HOUSE TRIBECA  PRODUCTION AMANDA JONES AND ALANA GOLDMANN (ARTLIST) CATERING MONTERONE, CORAL TREE CAFÉ, HEIRLOOM CATERING  LOCATION ATTIC STUDIOS, NY & SIREN STUDIOS, LA

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Lauren Avery