Sarah Hawkins of OR DIE TRYING met with actor and musician, Lexie Helgerson, to discuss her journey as an artist in Los Angeles.
Name: Lexie Helgerson
Field of Industry/Job Title: Singer/Songwriter; Actress; Writer
Favorite Film: Apocalypse Now / Jules et Jim / Arsenic & Old Lace
Where are you from? Portland, OR
ODT: We first met you in the film world as a fellow actor, but come to find out, you’re also a musician! You are quite the renaissance woman. Tell me about Who Can Sleep. How did that come together?
LH: Well, thank you, and good question. Dean (my boyfriend) and I met singing at El Cid shortly after I moved to LA, 2.5 years ago. He was there playing a set to promote a record he'd made. His setopened for an Open Mic. I was there, on a whim, for the Open Mic. It was my first, so it's probably a good thing that he was at the bar outside when I got on stage.
We worked separately for some time, not wanting to cross the line of being romantic AND musical partners. But last November we kinda sorta accidentally wrote a song together. I remember we looked up at each other like, uh-oh, did we just do that? The songs just kept coming, and a few months later, we were Who Can Sleep.
ODT: How has being an actor informed your musical career, and vice versa?
I've struggled over the years with my voice, that is speaking and singing using my voice sans any conscious or subconscious affectation. I lived and trained in England for year, and have seen a lot of old movies. I'm a decent mimic. I've been in auditions where casting asks me to read again in my natural voice. I do and then they say, oh, that was your natural voice. Or, I shed some affectation. And they nod their heads and say, Where are you from?
It's strange because it was actually Shakespeare that led me to sing. I was working for a company called the American Shakespeare Center, and music is a big part of what they do. Working there kindled some deep need in me to sing and learn to play guitar. I was pretty lousy at first, and took some knocks, but I've worked at it, and am more confident and comfortable now.
In all, yeah, they inform each other. There's a no bull shit thing I like about both, at least strive for in both. I love being on stage and using my body to help convey whatever it is I/we are doing, whatever story we're telling. In that way, I think being someone with a theater and sports background has informed my musical career thus far. And watching people as varied as Patti Smith on stage and Peter Sellers on screen.
ODT: Any memorable moments in your journey as an artist?
LH: Everyday tends to be memorable, for better or worse.
ODT: What projects are you currently working on?
LH: As Who Can Sleep Dean and I are working on our first EP, and will be on the road a bit this summer, in Northern CA and Oregon. I am very convinced of a video we have to shoot for a song I wrote. Top secret. But I'll tell you the song is about an actress.
ODT: What do you love most about Hollywood and the entertainment industry?
LH: Ha! We're all weird. Hopefully. And we all love stories. Hopefully.
ODT: What have been some of the more challenging moments about being a young woman in Hollywood?
LH: Being taken seriously, and knocking on a lot of really sturdy doors whilst holding my values in place.
ODT: What motivates you? What dream(s) are you most fighting for?
LH: Oh boy. Need, I suppose, motivates me. There are just some things I have to do, and won't stop until they're done.
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