When Alexx Alexander turned 30, he and friends rented a karaoke machine for $250 to properly celebrate. He launched his own DJ entertainment business the following day.
He has since been blown away by his own success.
After eight years of business, and free shows to develop a reputation, the 10-year Waxahachie native is now commonly greeted in public as "DJ Alexx." The musician will tell anyone willing to listen that his success stemmed from not taking the negatives other people thought into consideration. He'll also encourage anyone to take risks — even if that risk is a first-time performance on the karaoke stage.
See, risks are precisely what got DJ Alexx to where he is today.
On Tuesday, Alexander took time to reflect on his journey while seated inside a studio booth at KBEC Radio 1390 AM and 99.1FM.
He first told the story of the coincidence that scored him a part-time job as a radio personality at KBEC in September.
Alexander began the story by recalling the day he received a 40-under-40 award from the Daily Light in August. He attended the ceremony and physically exhausted himself from excitement. While at the event, Alexander disclosed to another 40-under-40 recipient, Stephanie Schaefer, that he was discouraged after he did not get in radio because he did not have enough experience.
Alexander said it was Schaefer who then suggested he look into a position at KBEC.
As Alexander drove home from the event, he arrived at the stoplight at the intersection of Sycamore St. and U.S. Highway 77. Tired as could be, he had a decision to make — to go home and rest or pop in the local radio station.
One was the easy option. After all, he was tired. The other? A risk in every sense of the word. Alexander was literally at a crossroads.
He went with the risk.
A few steps after Alexander walked through the front door he was greeted by KBEC owner Jim Phillips.
Alexander recalled telling Phillips, “’I’ve never worked in radio before, but I am willing to do whatever you need me to do.’ I said I’d even work for free to get my feet wet and for an opportunity.”
An excellent first impression influenced Phillips to suggest Alexander speak with longtime on-air personality Ken Roberts, who has been with the station since 1980.
Roberts ultimately offered Alexander his first gig in radio.
“I’ve been here long enough that people come here looking for jobs and had experience, didn’t have experience,” Roberts explained. “But there are certain ones that just have what I call, ‘contagious enthusiasm.’ When they have it, it’s obvious. DJ Alexx is the same way.”
KBEC sticks to Texas classic country music and, though Alexander is well versed in several popular genres of music, classic country is not one of them. He was, however, familiar with current Texas, red dirt country music because of the audiences he DJs for.
“He’s a quick learner,” Roberts acknowledged.
“Some of the music is so old, I’ve never even heard of the artist — like at all,” Alexander emphasized. “But it kind of makes it fun.” He agreed that working with this genre of music added another tool in his tool belt and has actually added singles to his playlists as a DJ.
Roberts said he believed Alexander's live-crowd DJ experience made his on-air experience more enjoyable and genuine. Roberts said it is unusual for an individual to go from DJ to the radio, as it is usually the other way around.
“He adds a component that we were probably lacking and that is a younger component," Roberts said. "Most of the guys here are 50 or older. So to have a 30-something in here has certainly helped with that perspective and in fact, it’s been a fun dynamic.”
Alexander also brought in an ethnic dynamic to the team. Roberts said Alexander is the third Black radio host to be hired at KBEC.
“I don’t look at race in any shape or form the reason of anything I’ve gotten," Alexander said. "Race with me has not gotten me anything. What it’s gotten me is nothing, because my personality and who I am, that’s what’s gotten me far in life. I never let my race, my weight, the gap in my teeth, the way I look stop me from doing anything.”
Roberts explained Alexander was hired solely because of his talent and value as a person.
“We are just glad that he is part of the team with a guy that’s that versatile is very valuable to the organization," Roberts boasted. "We want him to be with us for a long time and if his intention is to work the major market, if he’s got the want to, he has the ability to certainly get up there."
Alexander has always enjoyed the stage, and for him, KBEC is just another opportunity to exercise his over-the-top personality.
He did disclose that his first-day training on the morning show was nerve-wracking.
Alexander disclosed that he does have dyslexia and it has held him back in the past. For instance, he has to regularly read commercials on the air and was initially intimidated by the thought. With the golden opportunity in his hands, he did not allow the disability to slow him down but instead learned to slow down his reading and still maintain the same charismatic attitude.
“When I go out to the event I have to be happy and bring joy when I’m at an event — same for when I’m on the radio," Alexander explained. "I put that smile on my face to make them laugh.”
BEFORE HE WAS DJ ALEXX
Alexander emphasized that he has always wanted to be in radio and referenced it as his “end game,” thinking he could not be an entertainer the rest of his life. Before he scratched the ultimate playlists at weddings and corporate events, he was a musician from age 14 to 26.
“People assume things about me all the time, but I was the kid with the crazy colored hair, the piercings and the painted nails and tight jeans,” he disclosed.
For most of his early life, Alexander played guitar and acted as the front man in several bands he described as “screemo and emo-type stuff.” He laughed as he named the first band he ever played in — Crop Circle. He was in the group for five years before he was included in a Christian band called “Violent Mercy.” He was part of three other bands before he played with his final group, “Headshot Symphony.”
He can now be found daily on the airwaves of KBEC 1390 AM or 99.1FM, or even behind the DJ booth as DJ Alexx at Big Al's Down the Hatch several times a week.
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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450