Culture Fusion Agency brought its annual Welcome Week to Howard University on Aug. 24. Powered by Black Music Action Coalition, Amazon Music and Rolling Loud, the Welcome Week brought several artists including Karlae, OMB Peezy, and none other than R&B singer, songwriter, composer and DMV native Alex Vaughn to HBCU campuses across the nation.
Vaughn signed with Love Renaissance (LVRN), a record label and management company owned by Universal Music Group in Oct. 2021. LVRN is responsible for popular R&B artists on the music scene like Summer Walker and 6lack.
Enjoying the “full circle moment” of being back home, Vaughn was eager to sit down with The Hilltop to talk about life as a signed artist, fashion, upcoming projects and manifesting the life of your dreams.
The Hilltop: How does it feel to be back “home?”
Alex Vaughn: My first performance was here at Howard in 2015 which is crazy to say. To be back here on tour as a signed artist is definitely beautiful. You can just feel the hometown energy.
The Hilltop: You’ve officially been a signed artist for what will be a year in October. What’s it been like? How does it feel?
Alex Vaughn: It’s been amazing. LVRN is such an amazing team of people. It’s truly been a partnership. We’ve both been learning from each other and growing together, like, I feel myself growing tremendously and quickly. There’s been a lot of growing pains but it’s like a beautiful journey and I’m happy to be on it. There’s so much that hasn’t happened yet, that’s about to happen and it hasn’t even been a full year.
The Hilltop: What would you say the hardest part has been?
Alex Vaughn: I think the hardest part has been really just trusting myself and trusting what I do and who I am. You know, you get to this point and all of a sudden you start questioning yourself and your abilities. But, who you are is what got you to this point. Just be more gentle and once you learn how to take better care of yourself, nothing can really get in the way.
The Hilltop: You brought up the importance of trusting yourself. What advice would you give to Howard students who may be battling imposter syndrome or creative blocks?
Alex Vaughn: Be gentle with yourself. If you are going through a moment, address it. Don’t try to suppress it. Don’t torture yourself, you know, we’re all that we have. Nurture yourself. Just be patient . If it means taking a break, then take that break. If it means you don’t come up with anything for a week or two weeks or whatever it is, that’s okay. As long as your mind, your body, your heart and your spirit is still geared towards doing those things you’re on the track for it. Just trust yourself.
The Hilltop: You announced The Hurtbook is coming out soon. Tell us about that project. What can we expect?
Alex Vaughn: The project is basically about the emotional journey and shift that you experience when trying to enter that next space in your life. At least for myself, I just signed a deal and lots of things are starting to change in my life, the things that I want for myself. I’m learning that in order to get those bigger things I have to fix within and it’s been affecting my relationships. Not only romantic, but relationships with friends and relationships with myself. Like I said, I struggle with imposter syndrome sometimes, so I’m making a project that lets you know it’s okay to feel those feelings. It has nothing to do with these other people. It’s a self thing. Charge it to the game. These are all experiences to make you who you want to be. It’s not a sad project. I want that to be clear. You’re feeling your feelings but you gotta keep it moving because we got sh*t to do!”
The Hilltop: So, if you could describe this project in three words what would you say?
Alex Vaughn: Honest, soulful, and stank-face.
The Hilltop: Any cool collaborations that we can expect?
Alex Vaughn: I am the only artist on the project. There’s no features but a lot of the production and the people I worked with to bring this project to life, I am so excited and honored to be able to work with them. I got some production from Rodney Jerkins aka Darkchild. He was responsible for Brandy, Monica, Beyoncé, Destiny’s Child, Stomp by Kirk Franklin, like come on! That’s just one of them. DJ Camper, I’ve got some production of my own on there, my manager, DJ Money has some production on there… it’s going to be a great time. I’m really excited for it.
The Hilltop: Let’s talk about fashion. Where does your style come from?
Alex Vaughn: I guess it comes from my grandmother. She always took us to the thrift store when we were younger and it was just always about finding a nice item that fits you nicely for the low! That’s just always been my motto whether it be at Rainbow or it be on the clearance rack somewhere else. I’m still working on full price… baby steps. But I love just trying things out and wearing what makes me comfortable.”
The Hilltop: You just went to London. You tweeted “I’d like to go to Paris or London in 2022.” What’s the key to manifesting? What should Howard students know about making your dreams come true?
Alex Vaughn: Knowing that if you want it, nothing is going to get in the way of that. If you have to work a job in the meantime or do some things you don’t want to do, remember that nothing is in the way of what you want. I wasn’t always an artist performing full-time. I worked many jobs for a long time and quit jobs and then went back to working. You have to be humble and understand that nothing is going to deter me from what I really want. It’s mine! It’s already yours.
Copy edited by Chanice McClover-Lee