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Alexa Hawksworth

June 2012

I WAS born in St Ann’s, moved to Clifton when I was eight and lived there until I was 18. I’ve lived in 16 different places since. All in Nottingham, apart from a few weeks in Brighton. Last week I moved into a flat in the Lace Market with my boyfriend.
I’ve two older sisters and two younger brothers. My parents were divorced when I was 16 and that really affected me. It messed the whole family up. I’m only really getting over it now.
My dad was a big rock fan, so I grew up hearing Metallica, Whitesnake and Queen, while mum liked Bon Jovi, Madonna and George Michael. I was obsessed with his song Faith for a very long time.
I first got into acoustic music watching The OC and One Tree Hill. They’re soppy American teenage programmes but they used to feature really good music, like Jeff Buckley and Michelle Branch. She was on One Tree Hill and performed a song called Everywhere. I thought ‘I want to learn to play that song.’ It was the first song I learned to play on the guitar.
I played the piano a bit from the age of 11 while at Farnborough School in Clifton. The guitar never appealed because I had a really boring guitar teacher. I had a keyboard that I used to play constantly at home and annoy everyone.
I sang in the school choir, at the annual concert and at places like the Theatre Royal.
My parents bought me my first guitar just as I was about to do my GCSEs when I was 16, I barely put it down. I still got really good GCSEs.
I knew I wanted to do music as a career but I knew that wasn’t guaranteed so I’d need another job to earn money. At that point I thought about hairdressing but I ended up going to college to do A levels in art, graphics, psychology and media.
But this was the time my parents were getting a divorce so I did just one year then left.
Since then I’ve been working in pubs and bars, like The Bell Inn, Bar Eleven and the Vat & Fiddle. I moved around quite a few but I’ve been at The Canalhouse for the past 18 months and I really love my Canalhouse Family.
Last year I was gigging a lot and turning down shifts at work but I’ve not done that this year because most gigs are unpaid and it doesn’t pay the rent. It’s not ideal working in a bar but I know a lot of musicians who don’t work and they’re fine with that but I couldn't do it.
I started out playing open mics at Bar Deux in Sherwood Rise about two years ago.
It was hard because I wasn’t that good and I was really nervous. But I grew in confidence doing that for about six months. Since then I’ve played the Rescue Rooms, The Bodega, The Malt Cross, The Glee Club, Jam Cafe... probably all of the city venues.
The best gig was at The Glee Club supporting Andrew Roachford. I’d never heard of him before but he was amazing and it was a really good night.
I’ve been recording with Jason Hart, who is Jake Bugg’s manager. He saw me at Bar Deux and gave me some gigs playing Jake Bugg’s Bar Sessions at The Glee Club. I’m now hosting them every month. Jason is so busy with Jake at the moment but I hope to get recording sessions finished with him at his studio in a church in Sherwood and get an EP out by the autumn.
I’ve also supported Karima Francis, Monument Valley and Baxter Dury. My music is acoustic, blues, folk... everything is mixed in.
The song that everyone seems to like is Pretty like Bettie Page, which is the name of a 1950s pin-up model but is really about me trying to find my way.
I don’t tend to write many happy songs, I think, because I’ve had quite an unhappy spell over the past four years and that has definitely impacted on my music.
I grew up listening to Take That - I had Robbie posters all over my wall - the Spice Girls, Five and S Club 7.
Now I listen to Bon Iver, City and Colour, Birdy and First Aid Kit but I’m a big metal fan as well so I listen to bands like Deftones, Parkway Drive and Alexisonfire.
I tend to listen to those I’ve seen live, including local musicians like Gallery 47 and Will Jeffrey. A lot of people have said how the music scene in Nottingham was never this good. Natalie Duncan, Jake Bugg, Liam Bailey... they’re all doing it.
I don’t think I’ll make it big. But whatever happens I’m determined to make a career out of music.

Alex Hawksworth plays the Malt Cross on Tuesday from 8pm with support from Jack Harris. Admission is free. Her next Bar Session at The Glee Club is on June 29. She also plays The Big Session Festival at Catton Hall in Derbyshire on June 15. Listen to her music at

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