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My Life Condensed...

Originally Posted

January 21, 2022

By Alexa Johns

To be honest, it has taken quite a bit of inner willpower for me to just sit down and write. Writing a blog is one thing, but writing about myself for this introduction is entirely different for some reason. Odd – because I used to love to write. I would write all the time about anything and everything. I’d write blogs, books, short stories, and songs – especially songs. My journals used to be an endless song lyric. I guess now that’s why I’m writing a blog. To reconnect with who I am now, and to connect with you, reading this blog while I do it. We may find we have quite a bit in common, not by experience perse, but maybe by heart. With that being said, hey, my name is Alexa. My full name is now Alexa Shea Falk Johns. Growing up, I’d always say my last name is a four-letter word that starts with an F and ends with K. I’d let everyone else fill in the gaps for themselves, but yes, my Maiden name is Falk, and not so ironically, it used to also be the name of the duo I was in with my sister. I live in Nashville now, but I was born and raised in a little town outside of Salt Lake City, Utah called Farmington. Utah is the home of the Latter-Day Saints, otherwise known as (LDS), aka “Mormons.” I, however, was not a Mormon, although there was a time I desperately wanted to be. Outside of my family, the only other non-Mormon friend I had lived an hour away. It was a very isolating way to grow up, not just because I wasn’t part of the state’s dominant religion, but because I had a full-blown professional music career as a child. Long story short, I had tied with my idol, Michael Jackson, as the youngest songwriter to be signed with a major publishing company by the time I was ten years old. This further separated me from kids my own age. You could say I was born with a unique set of gifts and abilities. Not specifically to music, but I was and still am, creative, and intuitive in nature. When I was very young, my mom was told I was an “Indigo Child.” I later went on to be featured in the “Indigo Revolution” movie alongside many famous new age authors, mystics, and other gifted “indigo kids.” Apparently, it was rare that I spoke in full sentences far earlier than any other toddler my age, and I would sculpt rosebuds out of playdough before I was able to walk. By the time I was two years old, I had explained the process of death to my grandma when my grandpa was dying. I told her not to be sad because he was going to become light with the angels, and that he would always be with her. Funny how I had such a “knowing” early on, yet later I spent most of my life seeking to remember the core truth I was born with. All of those experiences definitely raised some eyebrows, but it wasn’t until my gift of music became known that I was openly labeled as “different.” It was a Saturday afternoon, and my mom had taken me to see the Disney movie “The Little Mermaid.” Allegedly, I walked out of the theater singing the song in full, word for word, with perfect pitch. She had a strong feeling I was a singer. It was validated for her intuitively when she had a vivid dream about my sister and I performing on stage together. Soon after, she made me an appointment with a very prominent voice coach, who confirmed her hunch. The coach immediately took me on as a priority student, and by the time I was four I was harmonizing and performing professionally with my sister as a duo. I was also performing solo, as well as starring as the youngest member of a much older traveling singing group called the “Bakers Bunch.” My sister and I grew up winning every talent show, pageant, and competition we were put in. We were regularly on the news, locally, then internationally. Yet I had always managed to keep my singing life separate from my school life as I called it then. That is until my sister and I performed on the Jenny Jones show. Our school aired it during classes, and the news station came to interview our friends. After that, fitting in seemed impossible. I craved normalcy, but in addition to my musical abilities, I was a highly developed empath. It wasn’t until later on in my life when I realized that the early songs I had written about love and experiences that far surpassed my youthful perception, were because they were really the experiences and felt emotions of the people around me that I had somehow absorbed and interpreted as my own. It took me a long time to learn how to set energetic boundaries, and not carry other people’s pain, which is probably why as a kid I loved to be alone, or with nature, and animals. Looking back, I realize I had the freest of spirits. I lived totally absorbed in the magical and imaginative. I also had a strong will and an insatiable curiosity for deeper meanings and the “why’s” of life. I got in trouble a lot because I was constantly questioning authority figures. I had strong inner convictions and a non-conformist attitude. That pairing got me labeled as having ADHD at an early age. I was eventually homeschooled by the time I was in 6th grade, both for music and because of how my mind worked. My mom was an advocate for holistic medicine, so I wasn’t formerly medicated until much later on in life, and I still am. Ha. Ha. I believe wholeheartedly in magic, and I had a great idea to start a “sorcerers club” with a group of neighborhood kids that I led. I spent my evenings after music practice teaching them how to do “blessing rituals” on their family members, but I ended up getting in trouble because the Mormon mothers thought I was casting spells. Naturally, that didn’t go over well. Neither did the fact that my parents drank wine, as well as having a coffee pot in our kitchen. Those are two very taboo substances in the Mormon culture!

When I was 6 years old, I was told by my Mormon kindergarten classmates that I would go to outer darkness and wouldn’t be with my family when I died because my parents drank coffee and wine, and I wasn’t baptized in the Mormon temple. This seeming “fact” from my classmates planted a seed of terror within me and from that day on, my six-year-old self was on a quest to secure me and my family’s safety, and salvation in the afterlife. I remember going home from school that day determined to get my family to convert. I begged my dad to at least let me be baptized Mormon. He told me when I was 18 that I could, and I would be able to be in whatever religion I wanted. I just had to study and make sure that the course of faith that I chose was truly what I believed. He suggested I begin to study other religions so that I could know for sure what was true for me. That was the day I decided to know the truth – about “the truth.” Unfortunately, the decision to know, and actually “knowing” are two very different feelings. One is the question, the other is the answer or solution. Being so young, and being without answers to life’s big questions had me frantically restless. The awareness of my mortality began to set in, along with the panic of knowing who, or what God was. I was desperate to know the right way to live, and how to please this God enough with my good behavior so that my family and I would be assured of being together in the afterlife. Later that year, the first major trauma of my life occurred, and it set me on a definite path of spiritual discovery. I began meditating. Only I didn’t know it was meditation at the time. To me, it was breathing exercises for singing class, but during those moments of stillness, something magical occurred. I began to connect with what I now refer to as God – my higher cosmic self and a Divine Realm. I received melodic inspiration, saw sacred geometry in vivid colors through my mind’s eye, and soon after I began to draw, journal, and make up partial songs that I kept hearing in my head. This form of self-expression began after I started doing these breathing exercises. Then, at 8-years-old all my friends got baptized, and had big birthday parties at the Mormon “Lion House.” I wasn’t invited, because I wasn’t allowed to step inside of the building since I wasn’t baptized. It was the ultimate rejection, and it caused such grief and loneliness within me. I had big emotions, too big for my body, and they needed to get out of me. Music, prayers to “something bigger than me” and my newfound “breath work,” or meditation, were the only things that seemed to soothe me to sleep. Then one night everything changed. I had a very vivid dream about Michael Jackson. I didn’t know who he was at the time, but in the dream, I received a gift, and the next day in the backseat of my nana’s car, I grabbed the envelope of a utility bill that she had in the glove box and wrote my first song. I titled it “When I Look Into Your Eyes.” The song went on to win Utah’s songwriter’s guild award. A pivotal moment that launched my music career. Looking back, it seems that meditation had opened something up in me. I had the gift of receiving music, which I later learned was called “channeling.” I could channel a lot more than music from the Divine, but I didn’t know it yet. Later that year, I won a competition in Las Vegas called “Star Mania,” where the winner got to record two original songs in Nashville, Tennessee. My sister Natalee and I recorded my original song “When I Look Into Your Eyes.” The track was featured on our first country album as an official duo called, “Two Steppin.” That album soon caught the attention of award-winning Nashville hit songwriter-slash-producer Jason Deere. Jason was drawn to our duo and was intrigued by the fact that I was writing original music at such a young age. I was just a kid, and looking back now I realize what a risk he took by writing with me, but I’m so grateful he did. We began writing dozens of songs, and the country-based material soon began to evolve into a country-pop album that my sister Natalee and I recorded titled, “Girl Talk.” This album gained us national recognition and we were soon performing in arenas – opening for country acts like Chely Wright and SHeDAiSY. As our musical popularity increased, my songwriting gained more of an international draw. In 2009, Jason submitted a catalog of original music to Brazilian pop star Wanessa Camargo. Several of the songs I wrote with him were selected to be on Wanessa’s album, and by the time I was 12 years old, I had five platinum hits as a songwriter in Brazil – three of which hit number one. The heightened attention and pressure for celebrities forced Nat and I to grow up quickly. After six record deals fell through, we began to feel jaded in our young careers. The loss we felt after each deal fell apart caused us to spend our early teenage years focused on enhancing every area of our craft, especially our individual musicianship. I began to teach myself how to play many instruments, which inevitably led me to explore other genres of music. My sister and I began performing and playing my new edgy, youthful rock tunes, which caught the attention of several of Hollywood’s heavy-hitters, including Irving Azoff. Azoff Management began to represent us. We were being groomed to be the modern-day “Fleetwood Mac.” The management team held auditions and put us on stage with three male musicians we had just met. Suddenly this was our band, and we were called “Faces Without Names.” The irony of the band name is NOT lost on me! I spent most of my teen years living in rehearsal studios in Los Angeles, recording in Sweden, and touring the east coast with our band F.W.N. The Azoff team wanted me to continue to write music, so they expanded the producers I worked with. I was sent all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe, working with many A-List producers including Oliver Lieber (Rod Stewart, Ke$sha, Foreigner), Russ Desalvo (Celine Dion, Lionel Richie), Justin Grey (Mariah Carey, John Legend), Jimmy Greco (Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears), Stewart Brawley (Don Henley, Michael Jackson), and Andy Marvel (Jason Derulo, Jessica Andrews) – just to name a few (wink wink). While F.W.N had some success, including charting in Asia and being on the top 25 groups recognized on Fox’s “The Next Great American Band,” pressure and disappointments from working in the music industry, along with personal struggles led to a path of self-destruction for me. I had developed an eating disorder, starting when I was 13 and I kept it a secret for as long as I could. It nearly took my voice and my life. Long story short, the band fell apart, my life fell apart. During my time of “forced recovery” after my eating disorder was found out, I began writing just to, and for myself. This was the first time in years that I wrote to soothe, and inevitably heal myself, rather than just writing what record labels would deem as “marketable.” This music was definitely not that. It was raw, honest, uncomfortable, but most importantly it was my truth. My eating disorder had been kept a secret within my family and music team to keep up appearances. That is until I wrote the song “Deadly Beauty.” It was a fatal story of a young girl who would rather be beautiful than alive. I wrote the song as my first step into being honest about what I was going through. It was easier for me to write it as if it was about “someone else.” I wasn’t quite ready to admit that the song was really about me. One late winter night, I dared to share the song for the first time with Brad Barton, my brother’s basketball coach at the time. His warm supportive feedback was nourishment to my soul. I felt seen, heard, and suddenly less alone in my pain. He inspired me because he was always unapologetically himself. Something about that night gave me the courage to share my true self with the world. I ended up submitting a demo of the song to CosmoGirl, and it won the magazine’s “Song of the Year” in 2007. Because of that, I received an overwhelming amount of fan mail from people all over saying how the song had saved their life. That’s when I realized that I could turn my pain into power with purpose, and by doing that I could inspire others to do the same. The buzz surrounding the song “Deadly Beauty” led to me being named an ambassador for the National Eating Disorder Association in 2012. Since then, I’ve continued to share my experiences by crafting lyrics with a positive message, performing them at NEDA events across the US, and donating the proceeds of Deadly Beauty to NEDA’s cause. After graduating high school, I was granted a scholarship to Berklee College Of Music in Boston. I attended one magical, life-changing semester there before having to move to New York City for yet another record deal with FWN. That deal fell through the cracks in the fall of 2008, and I decided to leave the music industry and attend the guitar program at Utah State University. I used the time to return to reconnect with myself, my sister, renew our duo, and our country roots again. I’m so grateful I did because that’s where I ended up meeting my husband Ty.

My sister and I soon began enjoying music again, and became the duo known as “FALK.” We created a self-titled album that capitalized on our sibling harmonies and contemporary country songwriting. It gave us a unique “female eagles” type of sound that ultimately landed us in Nashville with a reality TV show, and yet ANOTHER record deal on the horizon. In 2014 Natalee and I – still pursuing our careers as duo “FALK” – signed a TV contract with River Media Productions to begin filming “Meet the REAL Falkers.” The reality show focused on our journeys through the music industry and our relationship with our ambitious, successful parents and managers, and our younger brother Luke (the starting Quarterback at the time for the Washington State Cougars, and a Heisman contender). He later went on to be drafted by the Tennessee Titans. He played for them, the Miami Dolphins, and the New York Jets as well. Despite being told our family was “TV Gold,” the three months of filming heightened our family’s drama to a point of no return. My sister and I split, and our parents got divorced after 30 years of marriage, and then restraining orders were in place. This family fracturing caused us to pull out of the show before the season’s filming was completed. The foundation of my life as I knew it was completely crumbled, and I was beyond devastated. It was additionally difficult because I was trying to plan my wedding to Ty during all the chaos, and my parents announced their divorce just two weeks before my wedding. I ended up being hospitalized twice that year and had to gradually rebuild my life. Thank God for Ty. With his love and support, I was able to get through that heartbreaking time. Since my husband is from Canada, he couldn’t work for eight months due to his green card not having been processed yet. When my duo split and the TV show dissolved, I found myself totally cut off, without any income and without any other life skills besides music. I threw myself into full-time work as a National Artist mentor, and a TN Barbizon coordinator/instructor. On the side, I took a job at Fast Lane Automotive, taking VIN numbers and cleaning toilets. I did any and everything I could just so Ty and I could survive. Music was a sore spot for me. It was the cause of so much pain, yet it was also the antidote I needed. I had given up on music, but at 3 am I found myself writing and playing when the rest of the world was asleep. It was the only time I had. Let’s just say I pulled a lot of all-nighters back then. I ended up writing material that brought a spark alive in me again. I liked my new music enough to want to record it. Ty and I scraped up the money and found a way for me to record my first ever SOLO EP. I was blessed to meet John Palmieri, a Sony Producer who brought my individual sound to life. He is still to this day one of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with, and I don’t ever plan on not working with him! As part of this EP project, and it being my 4th year as a NEDA ambassador, I decided to record a solo version of my song “Deadly Beauty.” I teamed up with NEDA to produce a PSA-style music video that included written messages from others who had eating disorders and had overcome them. It won the 2017 Akademia Music Award’s “Acoustic Rock – Story Teller” category, as well as the “Women in Charge” song of the year. I hope that the song’s underlying message of self-love reaches as many people as possible, especially since the “Deadly Beauty” proceeds continue to go to those in need of treatment through NEDA Programs. In May of 2017, I released my SONY recorded, first ever SOLO EP, and followed it up with the release of “Claws Are Out,” an “Arena Rock” anthem for the Pac 12’s WSU football team, which was released on radio and then was licensed by the NFL Network in January 2018! Anyways, now I’m in Nashville. I’ve been married to Ty for almost 7 years! He is the love of my life and we have a baby girl, Gracie, who is also the love of my life. I’m relatively normal-ish now, but I do have purple hair, a unicorn writing room in my house, and I regularly receive music and guidance from higher realms. I also give spiritual readings occasionally. I own Viibe Hii productions and we are in the process of selling our first ever docuseries on the power of songwriting to a major Television Network. I’m very excited about it! I love to give back, love my family even more, and after all of these tumultuous years, I finally know who I am, and I have a clear vision of who I am becoming. I am forever grateful and dedicated to my creative self. She got me through it all. I’m only 32 but feel like a veteran of my industry, and I hope to be a trailblazer for those who are as lost as I used to be. My journey can’t have been in vain. This, I know in my heart, and I’m so eager to see what magical goodness is going to unfold from it all. My dreams still breathe me, so I know they live. Thanks for reading -A


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