Popping Up: Alex Winston

Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey, Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.

Detroit is rich with musical history. It’s the city that birthed Motown, served as the setting for Eminem’s 8 Mile, and it will soon be known as the hometown of 22-year-old singer-songwriter Alex Winston. Trained in classical music and sharpened by rock (she toured with Ted Nugent!), Alex has been shaping an offbeat but immediately recognizable pop style. The result is a sound that’s refreshing and catchy and, like Alex, instantly lovable. Here’s what you need to know about Alex:

HOMETOWN: Detroit, Michigan.

INFLUENCES: Alex has cited as influences: “Everything”. Specifically, she means — among others —The Faces, The Rolling Stones, PJ Harvey, Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Lenny Kravitz, Bjork, David Bowie, The Velvet Underground, The Hollies, Depeche Mode, The Cardigans, Chuck Berry, Professor Longhair. Phew. Alex has also said of her musical influences, “My dad had Yes and Heart records playing all of the time. I also love Sheryl Crow and other female vocalists like PJ Harvey and Australian rock sprite, Sarah Mcleod. So I guess in some weird way, my music sounds like all of that crammed together…except for maybe Yes.” Sorry Yes.

HER BIG BREAK: Before she had even finished high school, Alex had linked up with respected Detroit producers Drew and Chris Peters, two multi-genre whizzes who’ve crafted hits like the Black Eyed Peas Grammy-nominated smash “Don’t Lie”.

HER BIGGER BREAK: In the summers of 2007 and 2008, Alex toured as the opening act for fellow Detroiter Ted Nudgent. So, in case you were wondering if she could rock, she most definitely can.Watch Alex’s music video for “Waiting Game” a track from her album Roots, comprised of clips from her 2007 (first) summer tour she spent opening up for Ted Nugent.

HER BIGGEST BREAK: Working with the New York producing duo known as The Knocks (Ben “DJ B-Roc” Ruttner and James “JPatt” Patterson), so she’s in pretty good hands (note the immense understatement). The Knocks have been working with such female phenoms of late: Ellie Goulding and Idolator-approved pop firecracker Sky Ferreira.

From her time spent in studio with The Knocks came the first taste of her newest sound with the song “Animal Baby” which has only made us starving for more. In the tune, Winston whimpers and whines “So, you wanna be my friend? Well, my best friends don’t take out their claws”. The song goes on to describe feeling torn apart over unrequited love. The single is beyond catchy.

[wpaudio url=”http://idolator.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Alex-Winston-Animal-Baby.mp3″ text=”Alex Winston – Animal Baby”]

THIS COULD BE YOUR BIG BREAK: Alex is in the process of relocating to NYC. She recently tweeted, “looking for potential band mates in NYC. If you know of anyone that might be interested, holler at me!!”

Still not won over? Well then give Alex’s live cover of “Bring It On Home To Me” a spin and see if your ears (and heart) don’t pine for more of her music.

Here, Alex performs a Mumford And Sons cover “White Blank Page” as part of the HeavyRoc Live Sessions.

OUR VERDICT: She’s a sassy sultry fresh singer/songwriter who can play a mean guitar and she’s working with music magic makers The Knocks. It’s pretty much a no-brainer that it’s gonna be Alex “tearing us up” with the music she’s cooking up.