Singer and songwriter Alyssa Hailey discovered her voice after transitioning

By : Zach Caruso
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St. Petersburg – Alyssa Hailey wants you to get to know her Alter-Ego.

The 28 year-old transgender pop singer/songwriter (who simply goes by “Alyssa”) recently released her debut album, Alter-Ego, and since it dropped in January, she has been on the go.
“I’m shooting six music videos with some great directors,” says the Largo resident. “And I’m doing a Pride Fest Tour, I’ve contacted every city that has a Pride event, and I’ll be performing and promoting my album.”

Most recently, she performed on the main stage at St. Pete Pride. That’s the big one, she says, and after only living in Pinellas County for about a year, she sees the gig as a major accomplishment and is hopeful her performance will launch her career moving forward.

And as excited as the New Jersey native is for what lies ahead, she is taking stock in what it took to get where she is today, and the journey she took to get there.

“Last year I tried to make an album and the songs I was doing just didn’t fit, it just didn’t come together,” Hailey says. “I told people I would have an album coming out and it didn’t pan out so people thought I was just blowing smoke. But this time I did it. It’s overwhelming, I didn’t know if I would get here.”

Although this is her full-length debut album, she has been in the music world for more than 10 years now, writing music by age 15, and recording music when she was 18. But the circumstances were different, and she struggled to find her niche.

“I was trying more R&B styles, when I was starting off I was performing as ‘Kenny,’ and it just never felt right, it never fell into place,” she says.

But when she began her transition to become Alyssa, she says that is when things began to fall into place.
“When I started moving forward as Alyssa, that’s when things started to feel right,” Hailey says. “I feel 100% comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life; it feels so right.”

Hailey says the songwriting process for the album was an inspired experience, aided by friends and fellow artists in the LGBT community.

“The writing process was pretty awesome, I wrote every song but I also worked with some co-writers [including local LGBT artists Ashley Childs, Quarnelius, Flash Gotti, and Izzi] because when you’re writing a full album, you start to get writer’s block because you have so much going on in your head,” she says. “I was just inspired, the first song I recorded in the studio was ‘Settle for Less’ and it just hit something in me and it took off from there.”

Hailey says that she wanted to make the album more than just a collection of fun pop-dance tracks, but also write about real-world experiences.

“I did a song called ‘Without Makeup On’ after I had a guy-friend say to me ‘You’re pretty with or without makeup on,’ and I never thought I would hear that from a guy,” she says. “Some people are so superficial and don’t take the time to see who is behind the makeup and what’s inside, and this guy did. It hit something in me, and I wrote that song. It deals with insecurities, and not always feeling comfortable with yourself and then someone comes along and sees something that you don’t see.”

The 16-track disc would be at home on shelves next to the likes of Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera, and Hailey was excited to take the show on the road this summer. Her Pride Fest Tour kicked off on March 2 in Fort Lauderdale, and she planned and shot a half-dozen music videos to accompany her album release. But there is a bigger message she wants her listeners and fans to take away from her music.

“You can be who you are,” she says. “Some people have the idea that if you’re transgender, you have to do this or have to do that, and that’s not the case. I think LGBT artists can bring something new to the table, and I want people to know that you can do whatever you want if you put your mind to it.”

For more information on Alyssa, her new album, and her tour schedule, visit her fan site at
Facebook.com/Alyssa.The.Fan.Site. You can also follow her on Myspace.com/alyssa.hailey.

And to support her ongoing Pride Fest Tour, visit TeeSpring.com/TeamAlyssa for official Alyssa Hailey apparel and merchandise.

More Info:
WHO: Alyssa Hailey
WHAT:Alter-Ego
INFO: Facebook.com/Alyssa.The.Fan.Site

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