Alexis Marceaux’s mom used to blast The Carpenters while she was cleaning the house. And Alexis sang along. “My mom thought I actually had a sense of pitch so she put me in the St. Bernard Parish choir,” she said. Alexis’s humility impressed me. She attributed her success to her mom, her mentors, her Marigny Recording Studio, and especially her fellow musicians. But never to herself. “New Orleans has an incredibly supportive music community,” she said. “We’re all friends and we all want to see each other succeed.
You may know Alexis from her stint on NBC’s reality show “The Voice” in 2012. She was recommended to the show by Tom Drummond of Better Than Ezra, with whom she had done some back-up singing. “The experience was amazing,” she said. “I met songwriters from all over, and now I have places to stay whenever I tour. I’m so glad I did it and would do it again.”
Alexis attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) musical theatre program and trained for one year at South Eastern Louisiana on a music scholarship. Eventually, though, she began to miss New Orleans and returned to pursue her art. “I met Sam Craft through some of my other musician friends,” she said. “He and his brother were looking for a female vocalist for their band Glasgow, and I was looking for a string player.” Alexis and the Samurai grew out of that partnership.
Alexis and Sam use Alexis and the Samurai to experiment, and you can catch them live every Monday night at Chickie Wah Wah. “One time we set this old Cajun French song to a Bounce beat, and people couldn’t get enough of it,” Alexis said. The song, Parlez-Nous à Boire, inspired Alexis and Sam to create their newest band, Sweet Crude.
Sweet Crude makes progressive music that also honors South Louisiana’s French language tradition. “French was beaten out of our grandparents, but our generation wants to rediscover it,” Alexis said. In addition to French lyrics, Sweet Crude has become known for its energetic style that focuses on drums and vocals. “No guitars allowed,” Alexis said.
Alexis and the Samurai and Sweet Crude are both about to release full length albums. This summer, Sweet Crude will be touring up the East Coast, with a special “Welcome Home” performance on July 19 at One-Eyed Jack’s. They’ll be performing with Alexis’s favorite local band, The Cardinal Sons.
20 Questions with Alexis Marceaux
1. Who is your favorite New Orleanian, dead or alive, real or imagined?
Susan Cowsill. They based The Partridge Family off her real life family band. Susan took me under her wing and invited me tour with her in Germany. She always encouraged me to play my own music. I owe so much of my success to her.
2. What first brought you to New Orleans?
I was born here, but I’ve stayed because I learn something new about this city at least weekly! I think if you find a place like that, you should stay.
3. In your opinion – what’s the best neighborhood in New Orleans?
Mid-City. I love the fact that I can walk or bike everywhere. It just feels like home.
4. City Park or Audubon Park?
City Park. I love going on long bikes rides through the trees.
5. Describe the best meal you’ve eaten in New Orleans?
6. Where’s your favorite brunch spot?
Katie’s. I get something different there every single time.
7. What’s your favorite po-boy? Where do you go to get it?
I like the roast beef po-boy (with debris!) from Parkway.
8. You’ve got friends visiting and it’s their first time in New Orleans – where are you taking them?
9. What’s your favorite neighborhood bar?
Twelve Mile Limit, if you can’t already tell! (Check out 20 Question’s with the owner, Cole Newton.)
10. What is your favorite New Orleans cocktail and where do you go to get it?
The Jack Rose at Twelve Mile Limit. It’s one of the drinks on their new cocktail menu.
11. Snoball or Daiquiri? Where from and what flavor?
I love the Satsuma snoball from Hansen’s Sno-Bliz.
12. Best spot to see live music?
Gasa Gasa. I’ve seen some really inspirational shows there since they opened, and I’ve never been disappointed.
13. Favorite New Orleans musician or band?
The Cardinal Sons. Every single one of their songs is my favorite. I know all the words. I was talking to one of their singers at a Barbecue not too long ago and felt completely star-struck.
14. Favorite New Orleans Festival?
Bayou Boogaloo. It’s free and in my neighborhood!
15. Favorite Mardi Gras parade?
Krewe du Vieux. I got to march in it this year, playing drums with the Brass Knuckles.
16. Where do you shop in New Orleans?
I get my gig clothes at Trashy Diva. I wore something of theirs for Jazz Fest this year.
17. What is your favorite New Orleans museum?
18. Where do you go to watch The Saints play?
Either a friend’s house or Twelve Mile Limit.
19. Describe New Orleans in one word.
Community. The New Orleans music community is incredibly supportive. We’re all on the same team. It’s not like anything I’ve experienced in other places.
20. When was the last time you fell in love with New Orleans and why?
At Andrew Duhon‘s show on Friday, May 23, featuring Cardinal Sons and Cliff & Sasha. The majority of the audience was New Orleans musicians. We have some of the coolest indie rock bands! I was just smiling ear to ear all night. At the end of the evening, Andrew Duhon invited all the musicians in the audience on stage to play together. What comraderie!