Gregg Alexander

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This article is about the musician. For the rugby league player, see Greg Alexander.
Gregg Alexander
Birth name Gregory Aiuto[1]
Also known as Alex Ander, Cessyl Orchestra
Born (1970-05-04) May 4, 1970 (age 44)[2]
Origin Grosse Pointe, Michigan, United States[2]
Genres Alternative rock
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, producer, musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar, keyboards, drums, bass
Years active 1989–present
Labels A&M, Epic, MCA, EMI, Warner-Chappell
Associated acts New Radicals, Danielle Brisebois, Rick Nowels

Gregg Alexander (born Gregory Aiuto; May 4, 1970)[1][2] is an American singer/songwriter and producer, best known as the frontman of the New Radicals, who scored the international hit "You Get What You Give" in late 1998. Earlier in life he recorded two solo albums, Michigan Rain and Intoxifornication. He dissolved the New Radicals in 1999 to focus on production and songwriting work, winning a Grammy Award for the song "The Game of Love" in 2003.[2] More recently, he co-penned songs for the film Begin Again, including "Lost Stars", which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Biography[edit]

Early life and career[edit]

Gregg Alexander was born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, United States,[2] and raised in a conservative Jehovah's Witness household. He received his first guitar at the age of twelve and taught himself to play several instruments. Along with his sister, Caroline, they'd play the piano and Gregg would compose songs. At age fourteen Gregg joined the band The Circus, with classmates George Snow, John Mabarak, along with Gregg's older brother Stephen Aiuto. They played the 1984 highschool Battle of the Bands, competing against John Lowery (John 5). By the age of sixteen, he signed his first recording contract with A&M after playing his demo tapes to producer Rick Nowels. He released his debut album Michigan Rain in 1989 at the age of nineteen, to little notice. In 1992, he signed to Epic and released Intoxifornication, which consisted largely of re-released songs from Michigan Rain and was again ignored.

In the mid-1990s, Alexander busked in Tompkins Square Park and Central Park.

New Radicals[edit]

Main article: New Radicals

In 1997, Alexander formed the New Radicals, a revolving-door band with no permanent members other than Alexander and long-term collaborator Danielle Brisebois. They released the album Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too in October 1998, which went on to sell over a million copies. The single "You Get What You Give" was released that fall and was an international hit.[2]

It was not long after the New Radicals' success that Alexander became tired of the constant media attention and exhaustive touring schedule. In July 1999, "Someday We'll Know" was announced as the band's second single. However, several days later Alexander announced he was disbanding the New Radicals to focus on production work.[2] He said that "the fatigue of traveling and getting three hours sleep in a different hotel every night to do boring 'hanging and schmoozing' with radio and retail people is definitely not for me." Despite disagreements with MCA, Alexander finally agreed to shoot a video for "Someday We'll Know"; but with the band now defunct, the song got little attention and the New Radicals became known as a one-hit wonder. The song, "You Get What You Give" has been featured in several movies including, Surf's Up, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Scooby Doo 2-Monsters Unleashed, and Click. Along with that, Gregg had songs featured in the movie, "A Walk To Remember", "Bend It Like Beckham", and others.

Post New Radicals[edit]

Since disbanding the group in summer 1999, Alexander has written and produced songs for artists including Ronan Keating, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Enrique Iglesias, Texas, Geri Halliwell, Melanie C, Mónica Naranjo, Rod Stewart and fellow ex-New Radical Danielle Brisebois.[2] Most noteworthy was the song "The Game of Love" by Santana and Michelle Branch, which earned Alexander a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards.[2]

Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine described him as "the catchiest, smartest professional mainstream pop songwriter of the early 2000s."[3]

In 2004 a new Alexander track, "A Love Like That", was released uncredited on the Internet. It was suspected to be a New Radicals outtake, as parts of the lyrics were found in the booklet for Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too.[citation needed]

A new song entitled "Why Can't We Make Things Work" written by Alexander (and Rick Nowels) was released by Any Dream Will Do winner Lee Mead in November 2007, on his self-titled album.

In 2010, Boyzone released the single "Love Is a Hurricane",[4] written by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois.

He co-wrote and co-produced the music for the musical romance-drama film Begin Again, along with long-time collaborators Danielle Brisebois and Rick Nowels, as well as Nick Lashley. Their song Lost Stars, written for the film, was nominated for Best Original Song at the 2015 Academy Awards.

On November 4, 2014 Alexander appeared and performed publicly for the first time in fifteen years at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, singing "Lost Stars".[5]

Alias[edit]

  • Alexander uses the alias Cessyl Orchestra on the soundtrack for the film Begin Again.

Miscellaneous[edit]

Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo released a cover of the Alexander's song "The World We Love So Much" on his 2007 release Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo.

Discography[edit]

For Gregg Alexander's releases with the New Radicals, see New Radicals' discography

Albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "In the Neighborhood" (1989)
  • "Smokin' In Bed" (1992)
  • "The Truth" (1992)

Others[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Gregg Alexander's Personal Information". Angelfire.com. May 4, 1970. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Andrew Leahey (May 4, 1970). "Gregg Alexander | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  3. ^ "Reason Review". Allmusic. Retrieved October 19, 2006. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Scott Feinberg (November 5, 2014). "Hollywood Music in Media Awards: Gregg Alexander Performs, Glen Campbell Feted". The Hollywood Reporter.
  6. ^ John Bush (November 25, 2003). "7 – Enrique Iglesias | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 

External links[edit]