19-year-old Alex O’Connor, better known as Rex Orange County, has all eyes on him this year with his new singles “Loving is Easy” and “Edition” finding their way to peoples playlists. His soft-spoken voice muttering comments that reflect his thoughts over groovy instrumentals has the music industry racing to get a piece of him.
The self-depreciative British teen got his big break in 2016 whenTyler the Creator flew him out to help make Flower Boy after hearing Rex’s first album bcos u will never b free on Soundcloud. Rex then helped write “Forward” and “Boredom” which inspired him to focus on his own music, leading to his second studio album Apricot Princess.
In a strange twist of irony, Rex actually got his name from an old teacher who used to call him “the OC” after the American TV show “Orange County”. Oddly enough, the name happened to stick and resonates in his music, his sunny, Californian sound seeping through especially in his single, “Sunflower”.
Rex attended the Brit school in south London as a drummer where artists like Adele and King Krule also attended. He tells The Guardian that he remembers feeling isolated playing in bands and decided to give being a singer-songwriter a try. “It felt like being at the front of the stage was better than being at the back,” he says.
His music is filled with impassioned yet transparent lyrics inspired by Rex’s adolescence. Sharing personal thoughts and feelings, he proudly exposes his vulnerability as he mutters neurotically about falling in love and being yourself, giving him a sort of awkward but charming persona. He confesses that his musician girlfriend Thea is actually who the very sweet and thoughtful Apricot Princess is about, her vocals present in “Sycamore girl.”
And there’s not a day that I won’t be yours
And I’m glad I’m not alone anymore
Is this too good to be true?
Can’t you see I’m just a fool?
Because I need to know, I need to know
– Sycamore girl
With a handful of hit singles and collaborations with big-time artists like Frank Ocean and Skepta under his belt, Rex’s groovy music is definitely going to make it’s way over the pond in a big way. For those who enjoy Make sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram and listen to his music on Soundcloud and Spotify