the Fly Magazine Archives:
Published: April 2011
Story: John Duffy
Just about every performer has a pre-show ritual
of some kind. For Dana Alexandra, it’s two shots
of whiskey: one straight up, one with honey. On an
unseasonably balmy Friday night in February, her ritual
takes place before a singer-songwriter showcase at
Lancaster Dispensing Company in downtown Lancaster.
the stage with South Philly singer-songwriter Ryan
Tennis and members of Central PA-based pop rock
band Kingsfoil, Alexandra premieres several songs
off her just completed full length Wash Your Mouth
Out, which is slated for release in May.
constant flash of blue eyes and dirty blond tresses,
she plants herself at the bar to offer up her resume
to date, all the while greeting family and friends;
her view always half-turned toward the entrance.
started writing songs when I was 16 and they completely
sucked,” she admits flatly. “But I just
kept practicing, kept writing and kept playing.”
and regional choirs gave Alexandra ample performance
experience and proved at a young age her voice could
be powerful, sultry, flexible and commanding. A
scholarship allowed her to study voice at Berklee
School of Music in Boston in 2004. She left after
just a year, but not before absorbing important
technique and craft.
the amount of money it was, I really felt like I
had gotten everything out of it that I could,”
she says. She spent a year as part of a female singer-songwriter
duo in Virginia Beach. “But my friend wanted
to go to Nashville and that was not what I wanted.”
years living and performing in New York City and
Philadelphia followed, but neither was meant to
be permanent. “I missed nature. I missed peace
and quiet,” she says. In summer 2009, she
was back home in Stewartstown, PA.
fall a friend filed an application on her behalf
with National Association of Campus Activities (NACA),
a college entertainment buyer that set Alexandra
up with six months worth of gigs.
was an incredible learning experience to play in
so many places, but it was kind of lonely, too,”
she remembers; just a girl and her guitar playing
one-night stands in small college towns throughout
Texas and North Dakota in the winter.
didn’t have a car. I would get picked up at
the airport.” she says, “It was a good
way to make a living, but it can be very stagnating
as well. I found I really wanted to be with a band.”
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