The name Kat & Alex may sound familiar as they are no strangers to the country music scene. After meeting each other early on, they auditioned individually for Season 18 of American Idol. While there, they earned praise and positive feedback from the judges, including Luke Bryan. The country superstar and Idol judge also suggested that the two form a duo. And, they took his advice, earning countless of fans far and wide.
For those who aren’t familiar with Kat & Alex, they are giving country music fans a sound that is fresh and new as both singer/songwriters come from Latin backgrounds. Kat, who grew up in Miami, is a first-generation American from a Cuban family, and Alex, who originally hails from Northwestern Georgia, is of Puerto Rican descent. Together, the newly married couple blend country and soul with Latin roots to create an innovative sound that is undeniably authentic and unlike anybody else in their genre.
After their brief 2020 run on American Idol, Kat & Alex moved to Nashville, where they hit the ground running. Since then, they signed a management deal with The Artist Management Group (AMG), a publishing deal with Warner Chappell, and a recording contract with Sony Music Nashville. They also released a handful of songs, including the most recent “Heartbreak Tour” and “You and the Radio.”
The first of the two tracks take listeners through an early point in Kat & Alex’s career when they were faced with the decision to either step away from the stage or pursue country music full force. Luckily, they chose the latter and haven’t looked back since. On Friday (June 25), Kat & Alex will release a Spanish version of “Heartbreak Tour” called “Gira de Desamor.” The self-penned song, produced by Brad Hill (Maren Morris, Brothers Osborne), will be their first full Spanish release.
“‘Heartbreak Tour’ was the first song we released written solely by the two of us, so it only made sense to take those lyrics and translate the song fully into Spanish,” Kat & Alex said in a recent press release. “‘Gira De Desamor’ takes our personal story of ‘Heartbreak Tour’ and opens the song up to a whole new audience.”
Kat & Alex caught up with Country Now to talk about their respective journeys into country music, how important it is for them to maintain their Latin roots in the genre, and what’s to come.
Read on to find out more about Kat & Alex in this exclusive Q&A below.
How did you both get into music?
We both got started in music at an early age. Kat has been singing since she came out of the womb and went to a magnet school for music. Then, I [Alex] began singing and playing guitar in middle school after being inspired by my dad’s acoustic guitar.
How did you meet each other?
We both met for the first time in a park to film a cover of “Shallow.” I [Kat] saw Alex play on stage at church, and after some convincing from my friends, I added him on Instagram. We both started talking through direct message and text message before finally meeting up to do the cover. After that, the rest is history!
Who are your main musical influences?
We have a wide range of musical influences from pop/soul singers such as Adele to country singers such as Chris Stapleton and country groups such as Lady A.
You both appeared on American Idol. Can you share your experience and biggest takeaways from being on that show?
Our experience on American Idol was incredible. It was a lot of hard work and long sleepless nights. Being on the show gave us an incredible platform to share our music. It also opened the door for us to move to Nashville.
How would you say you’ve grown as a duo since your journey on American Idol?
We have grown so much since American Idol. Since then, we have written so many brand new songs. We believe our songwriting abilities have gotten stronger. So has our stage presence. We are constantly writing and performing in Nashville.
Did anything surprise you since moving to Nashville to continue your journey in country music?
We can’t say much of Nashville has been a surprise. We always heard how incredible this city is before we came here, from incredible people to talented songwriters and a close-knit community of musicians. Every day, we get to experience all of the great aspects of Music City.
What’s the inspiration behind your song, “Heartbreak Tour”?
After American Idol, we went home and continued to write music in hopes of moving to Nashville. Unfortunately, the pandemic shut the world down, and our dream of getting to Nashville seemed impossible. We had to decide whether to pursue music or leave music for 9-5 jobs. We decided to continue chasing our dream of being artists during that difficult time, and “Heartbreak Tour” was born! It’s a song that talks about what life would’ve been like had we not continued to chase our dream of playing music together.
Tell me about the concept behind the accompanying video for “Heartbreak Tour”?
The video for “Heartbreak Tour” is very special to us. Since the song “Shallow” from A Star Is Born was the song that started it all for us, we wanted to draw inspiration from the movie. Working together with Director Doltyn Snedden from Darkwater Productions, we created a cinematic music video that paints a picture of two artists who were once together as a duo but have since gone their separate ways. At the end of the video, they come together in an A Star Is Born-inspired fashion and begin singing together. They both realize that being on stage together is where they belong.
“You and The Radio” is an outside song. What drew you to that track when you first heard it?
We had to cut “You And The Radio” as soon as we heard it because we connected with it instantly. We related to driving all over town and getting lost while blasting music in the car. It’s something we would do all the time when we were in Miami.
No one in country music right now sounds like you. What is it like to be trailblazers as artists mixing country and Latin influences?
It’s an honor to hear how we are trailblazing in country music. To be honest, we are just making sure that we stay true to who we are. Even before we came to Nashville, we talked about incorporating our native language into country music because it mixed two of our favorite things. It’s the best of both worlds, and we wouldn’t want to have it any other way. We are humbled and happy to know that everyone else enjoys the mix just as much as we do!
How does it feel when you connect with non-English listeners and introduce them to the country genre?
Being able to connect with non-English speaking listeners and introduce them to country music is an indescribable experience. Music is so powerful, and it truly unites everyone. When we get messages from people saying things like, ‘I am so excited to have found you guys because now I can show my family country music,’ and they can connect with the lyrics, it warms our hearts. People get just as fired up about this blend as we do!
What do you want fans to take away from your music?
We want them to feel like they are a part of the song. We want them to connect with our music and feel like they helped write it. They are our “familia,” which means “family” in Spanish.
As husband-and-wife, how do you balance your personal lives with your musical lives?
It is truly an incredible thing to be able to play music together. Music was already such a large part of our personal lives. Since we get to play music for a living, it feels like we never have to go to work. We get to live out our dreams every day and create music just like we always have since the day we met.
Are there any projects you’re currently working on that you can share with us?
Oh yes! We are currently working on five brand-new songs that will soon be released! On June 25, we are releasing our song “Heartbreak Tour” in Spanish, which will be called “Gira De Desamor”!
What should fans look for from you next?
Our familia should keep an eye out for brand new music this summer, merch, and lots of shows! We are just getting started!
Fans can keep up with Kat & Alex on Instagram.