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Interview: Joey Alexander

The 20-Year-Old Jazz Pianist's New Album Proves He's a Professional Beyond His Years

If you’re like most people, at 20 years old, you’re still figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your life. And there’s nothing wrong with that, especially in today’s day and age, young people now have the luxury of waiting just a little bit longer before they make up their mind to point their lives in a specific direction. However, like compounding interest in an investment, the longer you spend - and the earlier you get started in a particular thing - the sooner you become an expert and reap the compounding interest and dividends of your patience and time. 

Joey Alexander may only be 20 years old this year, but he’s already got a dozen years of experience and success in the jazz world to lean upon. Seen as a wunderkind, Joey was born with an innate understanding - technically and emotionally - of jazz. After finding success in Europe, he gained further popularity and was showcased for a wider audience by Wynton Marsalis. Since then, he’s played for presidents, been featured on 60 Minutes, and is also the first Indonesian artist to have an album make the Billboard 200 chart. 

While his young age may have been part of the package in selling his talents, at 20 years old, Alexander proves that - as he grows older - he’s got much more to say to his audience through the language of jazz. His latest album is titled, Continuance (Mack Avenue) and aside from showcasing his piano chops, it also highlights a fabulous composer in the making. 

Much of the time, when I approach a guest on Radar, I’m confident that I can find some unique topics to discuss. However, with Joey, I was sure he’d been asked everything I had in mind. We discussed his long/short career, his new album, what’s coming next, and I might even dig up a topic or two that he hasn’t been interviewed about yet. Joey Alexander has accomplished so much at a very young age; the most impressive takeaway of my time with him was excitement over what the next decade might bring.


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