A thin veil of smoke drifts slowly in the background as raven-haired Lexa Paige sits on stage with her head bowed, ready to begin her first song. As the spotlight comes up and the music begins, she slowly raises the mic to her ruby-red lips, and with a seductive glance and a high kick of her leg over the chair she launches into “Mein Herr” from Cabaret. While her sultry voice and crisp choreography are both flawless, it is her feminine allure that mesmerizes the audience as the stage lights silhouette her voluptuous garter-belted physique.
That’s the scene every Thursday and Saturday night at Tantalize Miami’s new Jazz Night where Lexa Paige and Latin heart-throb Arias Martin headline at this Lincoln Road supper club. The show starts at 8:15pm and is a three-set whirlwind of show tunes and jazzy standards such as “The Man I Love,” “Fever,” “Route 66,” “Smile,” on and on. I had a chance to speak to Lexa about her artistry, and she revealed everything from her feelings about X Factor’s Simon Cowell to what she sings in the shower …
They say that the great singers are the ones who really “feel” the music, and that trait certainly applies to you. So, how did you develop your feeling for the music you perform?
Music is a universal language and is a way to communicate your thoughts with sounds. Life is like a song, there is always a beginning and an end. I can’t go a day without listening to music. Sometimes it’s not the song that makes you emotional but the people or things that come to mind when you are performing. There’s something exhilarating about loosing yourself in the rhythm that makes me feel so alive when I’m on stage. I love to be in the lights, it’s where I feel most comfortable.
What vocalists influenced you growing up?
I grew up listening to everything, and admire too many artists to list. Vocally, hands down Linda Eder is my all time idol. She is someone who has the ability to open her mouth and create magic while also making it look so effortless.
I also admire singers that utilize dance while on stage and really “perform.” I think watching Broadway shows really sparked an interest for me as a child to pursue a career in the arts.
What was your first paying gig?
My first paying gig was actually for a talent competition called Starz of the Future. It was located at the South Florida Fair and included competitors with different talents, young and old. I think I may have been 10 and I danced a jazz number. At the end of the competition they announced I had won and they gave me $500. At the time that was a big deal!
What type of music most inspires you?
I think the most impactful type of music that inspires me would have to be Broadway and jazz. Both styles allow you to step outside yourself and be whoever you want to be for that brief moment. I have a huge respect for Broadway performers because you can’t just have a good voice, you need to be able to convey a character to the audience. I consider myself a triple threat and Broadway allows you to showcase those skills all in one.
Do you look for any special themes in the material you choose to perform here at Jazz Night or do you simply go for the songs you like?
Yes! There is always a reason for the song choice and the order. Jazz is a journey, it’s free flowing and comes from your soul. You would think it would be easy to just sing only standards that people know and recognize. But the truth is, if you have the right song choice that YOU can relate to, your performance will improve greatly and you will be able to tell a story. Jazz Night is a collective effort at Tantalize that myself and fellow singer Arias Martin had been hoping for. I’d like to take this time to thank him because together we turned ideas into a reality.
Your choreography appears quite versatile, are you a professionally trained dancer?
I was a trained dancer before I ever picked up a microphone! I began dancing at the age of 3 and to this day I haven’t stopped. Aside from dancing at studios and performing in competitions I also attended art schools throughout my school years including: Bak Middle School of the Arts, Dreyfoos Highschool of the Arts and New World School of the Arts. Believe it or not dance was always my main focus.
Have you done any song writing?
I had the pleasure of working with Curtis Williams from Kool and the Gang and when I was 18 he encouraged me to pick up a pen and begin writing. It’s strange because I never sit down and say ‘I think I’ll write a song,’ it always comes to me in random bursts. I have tons of ideas and thoughts written on paper in a journal dating back a few years, but I never seem to finish one thing.
You were recently made Entertainment Director at Tantalize. How do you see Jazz Night developing?
It’s a work in progress and I think it needs to develop naturally. The hard part Is over, we have the show. Now it’s time to push ourselves to make it better each week. I know that it is home run and is something you can’t find anywhere else in Miami. For people who appreciate live music, fabulous food and an unforgettable dining experience, they need to know what we’re doing. I have to thank Carlos Sanchez, the owner, for allowing me to use Tantalize as my playground where I can watch my ideas come to light.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a performing artist?
Performing is all I know. I tried having a desk job and was never happy. I figured I was getting older and needed ‘stability’ in my life and that was the adult thing to do. In the back of my mind I always wanted to be doing something else. But truthfully I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t performing, but I can tell you I wouldn’t be happy.
Is national fame and all the rewards and hassles that come with it something you feel you’re ready for?
Believe it or not, I’ve already had my five minutes of fame and can say with total certainty if it happened again I can handle it. I auditioned for Simon Cowell’s show X Factor in 2012 and was chosen as a feature audition on the Fox network. Mind you, this is a reality show and for anyone who has been behind the scenes knows that they are looking for ratings and you are a ‘story line’ to them. They took advantage of my looks and coached me to say what they wanted me to be. I had about 15 seconds to sing, Simon Cowell wanted give me a shot, but then they spun the audition into a jealousy match between me and the female judges Britney Spears and Demi Lovato. While also creating the illusion of Simon Cowell being attracted to me. They didn’t let me move on to the next round, but needless to say my performance and character was put on YouTube and quickly racked up about 5 million hits in the first month. The experience at the time was embarrassing, but as time went on I realized that all of the comments and opinions of people on the internet made me stronger. If anything, it pushed me to continue my dreams because the opinion of one, is the opinion of none.
Be honest now…what song did you sing in the shower today…?
“The Man I Love” by Ella Fitzgerald.
What’s next for Lexa Paige?
Nobody knows what you want except you and nobody will be as sorry as yourself if you don’t fight for it. I know that I will continue to work hard and chase my dreams. The only time I will ever look back is to see how far I’ve come. I’m taking it one day at a time and I guess that’s all I can do. The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and I am so grateful to have an opportunity like this to express myself. I can’t say what’s next for me, but I can say with certainty that wherever life takes me, I will be putting my heart and soul into it. All I want to do is be on stage and I’m grateful to be living my dream now. The best is yet to come and the only way I can predict the future is if I create it! Tomorrow is never promised, so today I want my family and friends to know how thankful I am for each and every one of you and how lucky I am to have them in my life. Without the love and support of my family I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Editor’s Note: Lexa Paige is now appearing at Copa Room Show & Nightclub.